Inspiration for Education

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Telling Time Go Fish

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I love to teach MATH!  I think the best part of math is watching when the little light bulb goes on above the kids heads.  Those “Ah Ha!” moments are the ones that I live for.  I also love it when my kids are having so much fun in math class that they don’t even realize that they learned something that day.  One way I try to make that happen is to play math games. One of my favorites is Telling Time Go Fish. Go Fish may be an oldie but I have to say that it’s one that a lot of kids don’t know about these days which makes it feel fresh to them.  What I like about the rules of Go Fish is that it makes the kids use math reasoning and math vocabulary in order to get what they are looking for.   In Telling Time Go Fish the kids need to find a time shown in three different ways – analog, digital and words.

I created these cards for my kids to use and photocopied them onto different colors of card stock. That way I can easily keep track of which cards go with which deck.


We used these after we had spent a lot of time working on the quarter hour.  I found that using all three cards was a nice challenge for my mid to higher level kids.  For my approaching kiddos I took out one type of card, like all of the word cards or all of the digital time cards and had them make matches with only two cards.  There were plenty of cards in the deck to play both ways and it was a quick and easy way to differentiate the lesson.

I also created the same style of cards using time to the minute instead of the quarter hour.  We played Go Fish with those cards later in the unit.  I don’t have a picture of those, but here is a screen shot of one of the pages I created.

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The kids loved this game and kept begging to play it throughout the unit.  After we were done with them, I fixed both sets up for you and posted them on my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  You can click on the links below to check them out.

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Telling Time to the Minute

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Telling Time to the Quarter Hour


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Make and Take Monday – Place Value Manipulatives


Place value is one of those subjects that I always think will be easy, but turns out to be really hard for some kids to master.  Using hands-on manipulatives is definitely the way to go, but the problem is I never have enough.  Actually … I take that back, I always have plenty of tens and ones, but only a few hundreds and if I’m lucky I might have 1 of those big plastic thousands blocks.

A few years ago  I found a great, and cheap, solution.  I made my own durable manipulatives.  I took plastic canvas, the kind used for needlepoint as seen here at Joann’s, and cut it into ones, tens and hundreds pieces. You want to get the canvas that has the biggest holes you can find, to make the manipulatives easier to manage.

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If you count the holes in each piece it matches the number it represents, the ones have one hole, the tens have 10 holes and so on.  What I love about these pieces is that  not only do I have enough for every kid in the class to make the number 999, they are small enough to fit on my place value boards and they don’t take a lot of storage space. I keep my tens and hundreds in ziploc storage tubs and the ones I keep in ketchup cups.

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When teaching thousands I take 10 of the hundreds pieces and tie them together with string.  Though now that I teach Expressions Math and they talk about a thousand looking like a long rectangle, I might go back and make some long thousands rectangles out of plastic canvas. Another project to add to my summer to do list!  😉

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Place Value Cards

This has been a really big summer for me.  I decided to open a store on Teachers Pay Teachers. I never had a clue how many HOURS and HOURS it takes to create a single product for something like this.  When I originally signed up to sell I thought, “Oh, I’ll just tweak the stuff I already use and be on my way.”  Boy was I wrong.  First of all, I don’t want to rip anybody off and to be honest, a lot of the ideas for what I use in my classroom came from other people or websites. I don’t want to take credit for someone else’s work, so right away I realized that almost none of my existing files would be appropriate for TpT.  Plus, most of the clip art I used is copyrighted for single user only, not commercial. So I started creating from scratch and now I am HOOKED!  As of today I am up to 16 products in my store.  I have sold an entire TWO items.  I’m gonna take my $3.00 in earnings and go on a shopping spree baby!  I’m really hoping that my store will start to see some sales in August.  To celebrate my 16th and largest item being posted today, I thought I’d share this little freebie.

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This is a set of place value cards that you can put on your chalk/white board to help with teaching place value.  I use them every year with my students, it is such a great way to work on how to say large numbers as well as working on the order of place value terms.  When I use these cards I ask kids questions like….

What is the place value of 2? (ten millions)

What is the value of the 2?  (20,000,000)

What digit is in the ten millions place? (2)

How do you say this number?  (sorry I’m not writing that one out!  🙂 )

Where do you put the commas?  (assuming you hadn’t already put the commas up)

Of course I don’t start the year in 3rd grade with all 9 digits.  We start with numbers in the thousands and then build as we go.  Each time the number gets a little bigger I get gasps and cheers from the peanut gallery.  I love how excited they get when I put a REALLY BIG number on the board.  They think they are so grown up and smart when they can read those big numbers.

You can download this freebie by heading over to my TpT store with the link below.  While you’re there, please check out my other products.  Click the green star under my name to follow me and find out when I post new products, host sales or have new freebies.