New Classroom Set Up: Encouraging Self-Directed Learning and Collaboration

Hi! We are Mollie and Amy from Two Nutty Teachers Teachin' from the Same Tree, and we have been playing the what if game for quite some time... What if we completely emptied our classrooms and created a new environment that felt inviting, comfortable, and highlighted all of the things we feel are key to student success? This year we finally got brave and took the leap.
Classroom Set Up - Encouraging Collaboration and Self-Directed Learning
This summer we asked our custodians to not return the furniture to our rooms after cleaning them and we started imagining all of the possibilities. We wanted to embrace our students' learning styles and learning preferences so we knew variety was key. We also wanted to ensure that there were several places in the room where students could collaborate. We are in LOVE with what we came up with, and the best part is the response we have received from our kiddos and their parents.
Here is a picture from the door to the classroom. As you can see, there are a variety of places for students to sit. There are three round tables that seat four students, the center island that also seats four students, three two-student tables, three individual desks, and a kidney table.  In addition to the tables and desks, there is ample floor space for students who would rather sit on the floor to work.
This is the center of the classroom, and the first thing that was placed in the room. The table has four stools from IKEA and is anchored by two shelves that were also purchased from IKEA. The stools really help the room to seem less cluttered and the kids like having a choice between traditional chairs and the stools.
Two students can sit and work together here:
We also have a few cozy places for kids to sit and work, including disc chairs and a futon. Behind the two disc chairs, there is a long countertop that we keep cleared off for those students who would like to stand while working.
Here is our class library which also houses anchor charts for our core subject areas. There are three desks in this area where kids can work independently. Many quests ask if this is where our kiddos who are not on task sit but it is not. This space is reserved for kids who choose to work on their own.
This is our gathering area and where I conduct a majority of the lessons throughout the day. It works perfectly because the students can choose to sit on the floor or on the bench, and I have access to the document camera and interactive whiteboard.
This is the kidney table where students can collaborate or I can pull a small group for instruction. 
Visitors always ask how we manage our students and their supplies in a classroom design like this. Each student has a white box (in the picture below) and a binder. This gives them a space to hold their personal materials (although we have community scissors, crayons, pencils, markers, etc.) and a way to organize papers into subject areas. The white boxes are spread throughout the classroom so that students are not on top of each other when they are getting their materials.
Students store their library books in these book bags hanging on a series of hooks my sweet hubby created for me. I have two hook racks in the room (one in the front and one in the back) to help with the flow of traffic when students are asked to get their books for SSR.
To help students stay on track we allow them to continue choosing where to work as long as they are making wise choices (I send my kiddos off every day with the words "Find a place where you can be successful!"). If students are not focused and on task, they may be asked to move their number to the "First Notice" column. If they continue to make poor choices, they no longer have a choice, and the teacher chooses where they will work for the remainder of the time period. 
We also needed a way for students to collaborate during the focus lesson so we assigned each student a partner for various subject areas. When students gather in the gathering area for a lesson, they sit by their partner for that subject. It makes turn and talk much easier.
We are a couple months into the school year and, so far, there isn't anything we would change. We are looking forward to conducting a short survey with our kiddos and their parents to gather feedback on how the room is working for them. If you are interested seeing pics from Mollie's room (all pics in this post are from Amy's room) and hearing more about how the layout of our rooms is helping us to meet the needs of all of our learners, please hop on over and visit us at our blog Two Nuts Teachin' from the Same Tree.


Mollie and Amy are Two Nutty Teachers who strive to find fun, exciting, and engaging ways to deliver curriculum to their fourth grade students. In addition to working together as teaching partners, Mollie and Amy enjoy sharing their curriculum creations in their Teachers Pay Teachers store Two Nuts Teachin' from the Same Tree. 


Engineering on a Dime: 3 STEM Challenges You Can Do Today

Hi! My name is Meredith, and I blog over at Momgineer, which focuses on ways to engage students in engineering, math and science. I am so excited to be here guest posting here at Minds in Bloom with Engineering on a Dime: 3 STEM Challenges You Can Do Today! 

STEM challenges are a great way to explore engineering when you lack the time to devote to a rigorous engineering design challenge. These three challenges can be set up with very little prep time and with materials you either have on hand or can easily obtain. 
STEM challenges naturally lend themselves to team-building, so I recommend exploring the challenges in small groups. Appropriate for a wide range of ages, they even work well with mixed-age groups, particularly if you have lower elementary students who can express their ideas but lack the fine motor or math skills to see their design ideas through to a finished embodiment.
I have created a graphic organizer as well as an interactive foldable sheet that you can use with each of these challenges. Recording and reviewing the process is just as important part of the process as the building! You can download the pages here or by clicking on the image below:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2c4YZQITwuQLUhZVXhmVlp5dEk/view?usp=sharing

1) Tallest Tower
 
This challenge can be repeated many times with a variety of materials! 

  • Choose materials: Craft sticks, paper or plastic cups (easier), pipe cleaners (harder), wooden planks/dominoes, building blocks, a deck of cards, or even biodegradable packing peanuts. Set the timer! Adding a 5-minute time constraint will drastically transform the way your students approach the problem. 
  • Measure it!: Make sure you have your students accurately measure how tall their tower is. You can plot them all on a bar graph afterward to compare and find the range of heights achieved. 
  • Make it more challenging: Reduce the time even more, or, if you are able, have your students do this one blindfolded or with their eyes closed. This leads to team-building like you've never seen it!

2) Challenging Maze


If you ever had the game Labyrinth as a child, this one is sure to bring back some fun memories! 

  • Choose materials: Shoebox/cardboard box and Play-doh® or modeling clay are fast and easy choices, but try out other materials, too, such as paper towel rolls with holes cut in the sides or even LEGO® bricks! 
  • Test it!: Have your  students try each maze that has been created and record their time. See who earned the fastest time on each maze and determine which maze was the hardest based on average time! 
  • Make it more challenging: Create a 3-D maze or one where the marble is not visible the whole way through! In the image with the cardboard tubes above, you can't see the marble when it is in each tube, but you can see it in between the tubes. An even more challenging maze relies on both listening skills to hear where the marble is and possibly feeling the vibrations as it travels through the tubes.

3) Pompom Launcher


This might become your students' favorite challenge! If you are feeling brave, you can complete this one right after the tower challenge and have your students try to knock their towers over with pompom projectiles. 

  • Choose materials: Paper towel rolls, binder clips, rubber bands, plastic spoons, pipe cleaners, index paper, tape, paper clips, and craft sticks. 
  • Test it!: Have your students launch 10 pompoms and record how far they all went, and then either have your students add up their three longest distances or find the average. 
  • Make it more challenging: Have a target that has to be hit, such as a hula hoop or paper cup, or the paper cup towers from challenge #1!

General tips for doing STEM challenges:
  • Gather resources ahead of time, and always gather more materials than you think you'll need! Ask for donations of paper towel rolls, cereal boxes, etc. Line up human support, as well, from parents or other teachers, particularly for younger groups.
  • Have a digital camera/smartphone on hand to snap photos of your students' creations. Post them to your class blog or print them out to paste into your interactive science notebooks. Sometimes it can be difficult to part with a creation when the time comes to clean up, but snapping a photo and telling your students they can recreate it by studying the photo and their notes almost always works.
  • Remember to recognize your students not just for their final designs but for all aspects of  a successful STEM challenge. Which teams worked well together? Which students documented the steps in a clear and detailed way? Who uniquely solved the problem, even if it didn't work as well in the end?
I hope you have a lot of fun with these 3 STEM challenges!  




I am thrilled to guest blog for Minds in Bloom! A little about me: Prior to my current gig as a homeschooling parent of two, I was a mechanical engineer. I love creating hands-on engineering challenges to help inspire the next generation of engineers. Feel free to stop on over at my blog, momgineer, and say hello.


Win a Custom-Stamped Teacher Necklace!

My gift from April
I first met April Smith (Performing in 5th Grade) at the Teacher's Pay Teachers conference in Las Vegas last summer. I had just finished presenting my session when she presented me with a gift. I wasn't able to open it until I got back to my hotel room after the conference, and when I did I was absolutely charmed. I love my Mrs. Lynette necklace! It took me awhile to realize that she had not just purchased the gift - April had made it herself, which of course makes it even more special.

Now April is paying it forward again by giving you a chance to win one of three hand-stamped necklaces! Read April's story below to find out how she started making these little treasures. I'm sure that many of use can relate!
April hand-stamps each one
When my husband I were first married, we had a lot of debt (mostly student loans). We had to cut back on everything, including gifts. For the first couple of years we simply didn't buy any gifts at all. After our finances got a little more under control, we were able to afford handmade gifts.

I was looking for something personal to create when I stumbled upon a blog about stamping metal jewelry to make customized necklaces. The first necklace I made used a metal washer from the hardware store.

Friends and family began sharing their necklaces with other people, and I started receiving messages on Facebook asking if I could make custom necklaces for gifts. I invested the money I made off of these necklaces into buying new supplies and opened an Etsy store one year after making my first necklace! I love seeing my necklaces shared on Facebook (my customers often tag me), and the nice little notes I get saying how the necklace made their day. It's an awesome feeling when people love something YOU made!

Today I run my Etsy shop and make my necklaces whenever I'm not working on lesson plans, grading, etc. I enjoy how relaxing it is to hand stamp each character and "build" each necklace!
Of course a necklace would make a wonderful holiday gift for a teacher - one of your teammates or maybe your own child's teacher. But you might just want to keep it for yourself, and that is fine too - you certainly deserve it! As you can see from the picture below, April has added to the design. Be sure to check out her Etsy shop, MetalCraftYuma to see more of her work.

Just fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter. Here are the official rules:

  • This contest is open to all currently working teachers and tutors living in the United States (due to shipping costs)
  • Three winners will be randomly selected on December 1. Winners will be announced on this post and notified by email. 
  • Winners will receive their prizes within three weeks (in time for Christmas!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rachel Lynette on Inspiration for Entrepreneurs Podcast!

I am delighted to be this week's guest on Kimberly Geswein's Inspiration for Entrepreneurs Podcast! The interview was really fun and Kimberly did a terrific job.

I hope this podcast will be helpful to other people running their own businesses. While it does focus on TpT to some extent, I tried to give advice that others could use as well. If you want to listen, here is the link!


I would love to hear what you think. Please consider leaving a comment!


Positive News: A Simple, Effective Way to Bring the Positive Back to Your Classroom.

Minds in Bloom presents this inspiring post by Jennifer Martinez on using a positive news board in the classroom. Let us know in the comments if you give it a try!

Remember Stella? You know, from that movie a few years ago? She had lost her groove and took a trip to Jamaica in hopes of finding it again. Ever feel like you've lost your groove? As a teacher, of course.

A few years ago, I found myself stuck in a rut. I had one of those classes who tried your patience in every way imaginable. Being off task, bullying, always tattling on one another; anything they shouldn’t be doing - they were doing. I was giving a ridiculous number of tallies each day and had gotten in the habit of noticing only what was going wrong in my room. There were several students, of course, who were wonderful and many days were all that pulled me through. However, I can’t count the number of times I left the building feeling like a failure as I realized I hadn’t once pointed out what they were doing well.

My groove was definitely gone. I didn’t get to that place over night and it was a rude awakening once I realized I had arrived there. But when I did, I knew that I needed a change and one that would be immediate. I was on a mission to get my positive back - and find it for the students as well. I needed a fix that was engaging for students and one that took little time to complete. And if I could get some of my most difficult students to buy in, then I knew our little community could change.

The Form

The next day, I cleared a section of a bulletin board, made a quick header, and called it, “We Have Positive News.” I created a short form, made a stack of colored copies, and put them in a bin along with pushpins ready for students to use. After completing a couple of examples myself, I modeled the process for my class.

During our discussion, I was honest and explained why I felt we needed this new board and its form. We talked about our bucket filling activities at the beginning of the year and how we somehow became bucket dippers rather than fillers. My hope was that this board and the reports would begin to change that!

The top part of the form asks for their name and the date. The bottom section is where students fill out their “reports” of the positive actions spotted in the room. It is important students understand that “She was nice” or “He was helpful” isn’t a positive news report. They’re simply short sentences. Rather, reports are specific and full of details. I encourage students to behave like reporters while writing their posts. Explain the “why” and “how” behind the action they’re writing about. Help us to understand why their post is report worthy!

To show them the difference, I pulled out my two sets of examples and explained how to turn short sentences into newsworthy reports. Example one - instead of writing, “Sarah finished her chapter book today,” I could write “Today Sarah finished her chapter book. I’m proud of her because she has been working on that book for two weeks. She wasn’t sure she could finish it, but she did! I can’t wait to ask her about it!” The sentence tells me nothing about why finishing a book is newsworthy. The report, however shows that I have been paying attention to Sarah and care about her goals.

Another example would be to turn, “I saw Ben helping Logan today,” into “I saw Ben helping Logan today. Logan wasn’t sure how to find “good fit” books and Ben taught him how using the anchor chart. Then Ben showed Logan some of his own favorite books.” Not only is this action a great one to notice and praise, but telling us how Ben was helpful might also encourage someone else to be helpful in the same way. I wanted students to understand that the point of the board is not just to praise the positive in the room, but also to leave examples and models for others to follow.

A couple of “rules” and we’re ready to start reporting! First, you only can write about others. The point is to look for ways others are doing well, not to promote yourself. Want to see your name on the board? Then model great behavior and surely it will be noticed!

Second, choose different people to feature in your posts. I challenged students to write about people they aren’t best friends with or don’t know well. They had to be on the lookout for the good in everyone, not just a select few.


The first few posts, in fact, were written by some of my most difficult students. Though this was my hope all along, to be honest, I was shocked at first! The posts were short and didn’t quite show the description I was hoping for, but they showed true thought and consideration for what was happening in the room. So rather than having the students stretch their sentences into detailed summaries, I praised them for noticing the positive and sharing it with our class. After all, the "rules" were intended to help students take posting seriously, not take away from the spirit of spreading positivity!

Soon our board was covered with posts!

  
Sharing

At the end of the day (or at least at the end of every week), I have students share their reports. This is the part I absolutely love! Most of the time, the person being complimented doesn’t even know it’s coming! Students are completely surprised and filled with such joy that someone noticed their hard work and that it was recognized by the class. This typically encourages that child to write a positive news report of his own.

When the board becomes full, I take down the old reports and give each to the student about whom it was written. Oftentimes I see students hold on to their forms for weeks, if not the rest of the rest of the year. I find them attached to notebooks or taped to cubbies for everyone to see.

Not only did the tattling come to an end, but I also saw the amount of bullying and off task behavior drastically reduce. Students took pride in helping others and the climate shifted from negative and self-centered to positive and collaborative. We got our positive back - all by using a simple form!


Want to try a Positive News board in your room? Download this free resource from my TPT store. I’d love to hear how it works in your classroom! 
Thank you, Rachel, for allowing me to guest blog today! It has been an honor!


Jennifer Martinez, of everything just so, is a former teacher from Columbus, Ohio. After teaching for nine years and spending a year writing curriculum for the NEA Master Teacher Project, she decided to make the jump into designing curriculum full time. Updates on her language arts and classroom management resources can be found through her Teachers Pay Teachers store, her blog, and on tsu

Art Integration for Classroom Teachers

Minds in Bloom welcomes Jenny, the owner of Art with Jenny K. ,with her post on art integration. We know you'll find it useful!


“The creative adult is the child that survived.” 
I came across this quote by author Ursala Le Guin a few months ago, and it has stuck with me ever since. It encapsulates why it is so important to integrate creative arts into the learning process. It is motivation for everything I do as an art educator and as a Teachers Pay Teachers resource developer. Art integration can be your best “tool” for engaging, motivating and inspiring your students, and, most importantly, keeping creativity alive. And it’s easier than you think! 
Before we can talk about what art integration is, why it’s important and how to use it, we must first talk about the most important part—the students it serves. Imagine in front of you is a 5 year old. You hand him or her a marker and he immediately takes it and begins to use it. He doesn't need instructions. He is not apologetic about their work. He doesn't look at you and say, “I’m sorry, I can only draw stick people.” He hardly cares what you think about his work. This is creativity and problem solving in its purest form. 
Art integration is the tool we need in education to help us preserve the inate creativity of a child. Children come to us bursting at the seams with energy, creativity and the desire to learn. English author and art education advocate Sir Ken Robinson is famous for saying that we actually teach creativity out of children. His TED talk on “How Schools Kill Creativity” is exceptional. His stories will make you laugh out loud (LOL!)—and who doesn’t need that!

What is art integration?

Art integration is hands-on, project-based learning, using art materials, songs, poetry, plays, dance, etc., to make students learn in ways that connect to prior learning and make their learning relevant to their lives through engagement. 
In 2010, I was making a presentation to the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE) conference in Florida describing an art integration lesson, Trading Pages, that I had published in SchoolARTS. At the end of the session, teachers flooded my desk to see some of the art techniques I had mentioned in my presentation. 
I realized that classroom teachers were hungry for this information and wanted desperately to use the arts in their classrooms but fear was holding them back. In talking with them, I learned why the idea was so scary. But it shouldn’t be. So let’s clear up some of those things here, and dispense with that silly notion once and for all!

Misconceptions about Art Integration
  1. “I’m not talented.”
Art integration has nothing to do with talent on the part of the teacher or the child. I’m not a talented singer (in fact I’m quite terrible) but my students don’t care, when I sing the steps to our drawing lessons they are completely engaged and they sing along with me. I’d be embarrassed if my principal walked in, but the kids are forgiving and pay close attention! The students do most of the work anyway, you just need to provide them the means and opportunity.
  1. “I’ll have to teach everything with a messy art project.”
Art integration does not replace the importance of teaching reading, writing, math and science in traditional ways, it simply provides a tool to make that teaching more engaging to the child when it is appropriate—and it doesn’t have to be messy!
  1. “Art isn’t important.”
In his popular book, The Arts and the Creation of Mind, Elliot Eisner is famous for his list of the 10 reasons the arts are so important. His No. 1 reason is, The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships. Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.” Imagination sparks inspiration and inspiration leads to success. Eisner’s other nine reasons why the arts are so important build on this idea further and are worth exploring.
  1. “I don’t have time to let my kids color.”
This is about integrating to make all learning more meaningful. It is a tool to help you, not to make more work for you. The best resource is your kids—let them dream up the projects to guide their learning.

Why is art integration so important?

Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.

Think of art integration as the same sort of approach. We don’t know what the world has in store for our children but we know that they must be ready to face the challenges as creative thinkers and problem solvers, they must be able to think (fish) for themselves. They must also have the confidence that comes with experience so they know that they can take risks, and investigate ideas they have. Children who are only required to take tests and be either right or wrong learn to fear mistakes, which translates to fear of learning. Use art integration to engage your students again and excite them about the process of learning, not the answers or end results. Art integration is so much easier than you think because it requires that the teacher simply facilitate the experience—the children themselves create and design the experience.

Ways to use art integration in your classroomart integration_minds in bloom image.017-001
You can…
  • Use choice-based learning so students have the opportunity to experiment with various mediums like clay and paint (the messy stuff you don’t want to do with the entire class).
  • Learn about different cultures by making the art that is popular from that region; for example, Aboriginal art from Australia or masks from Africa.
  • Let students listen to music that is related to whatever unit you are teaching. They will fight you (because initially they think that your music isn’t "hip") but do it anyway—it sinks in in the end.
  • Use artists like Monet to teach symmetry, Dali to teach telling time, Mondrian to teach math, or Escher to teach tessellations.
  • Create monsters and robots using only the geometric shapes you are studying.
  • Make up songs about what you are learning.
  • Let students illustrate and write a sequal to their favorite book, or an alternate ending to their favorite story.
  • Let students create plays about their learning.
  • Sing to your children—instead of giving your students instructions in your normal voice—try singing to them—you’ll get their attention!
  • Let your students take a dance breaks when they are getting restless.
  • Have your students invent games based on the learning they have done in class.
Just let their imaginations stir yours... M.C Escher and Leonardo Da Vinci were great mathematicians, scientist and artists. But mostly they were great thinkers! With the permission of Art Education Professor Dr. Craig Roland, I have adapted his list, "Learning to think like an artist" into a kid-friendly poster. Download it for FREE by clicking on the image below.

Think like an artist poster_smaller.001-001

Want a lesson you can use right now? Among the most useful (and most popular) art integrations lessons I have created for classroom teachers are my “Pop Art”-style interactive coloring sheets. All students—kindergarten to high school—love to color, so I designed coloring sheets that require a lot of thinking on the part of the student and little to no prep on the part of the teacher (a great combination, no?!). No two end results ever turn out same and all the skills of a creative thinker are necessary to complete them.

 interactive coloring sheet example_minds in bloom.018-001 
My interactive coloring sheets work like this: I have created a collection of outlines/shapes of symbols associated with holidays, seasons and other topics related to what you may be teaching. All the shapes are broken up by black lines to create smaller shapes—which gives the images their “Pop Art” feel. At the bottom of each page are boxes with patterns in them. The students are asked to fill the shapes with these patterns. It takes a great deal of thought to decide which patterns to put where, what colors to use and even when a space should be left without patterns. The great news is that there is no right or wrong answer to these coloring sheets...and the more students work on them the more confident they become in making decisions. I often include some writing prompts as many of the teachers that use my coloring sheets pair them with writing assignments. Here is what one teacher said about using these coloring sheets:
I found that my 5th/6th graders come to me and because of the focus on testing, never played with color or design or patterns. Your coloring sheets give them that opportunity and I’ve seen so much improvement in their attention to detail as well as noticing patterns, lines, etc. It’s so much more than “just coloring.” ~E.D.”
You can try one of my coloring sheets now by clicking HERE to download my FREE apple coloring sheet that is part of the "Meet and Teach" free ebook series.

Final Thoughts

The pendulum will swing toward testing, away from testing and back again. Anyone in education for many years can tell you they have seen it all. Things come in, then they go out and the cycle repeats. However, one thing will never change and that is that children need to be able to safely and confidently make decisions on their own. In a testing saturated world students are used to being identified with a score, grade or quantitative assessment of some kind. His or her "ideas" are not necessarily important to anyone. Let’s change that by providing more creative moments for our children and let’s watch our children change along. Thanks for reading!

picture and name logo.001-001Jenny Knappenberger is an award-winning educator who has taught art to middle school, elementary and gifted children in Virginia and in Arizona. Jenny is also a professional ballroom dancer and instructed for over 8 years in Virginia before committing full-time as an art teacher in Arizona. Her favorite little artist is her 2-year-old daughter who gets to try out mommy’s never ending list of ideas! Jenny is the owner of “Art with Jenny K.” and is dedicated to making art integration easy and exciting for classroom teachers and is the author of www.jennyknappenberger.com.

Fun Ways to Practice Multiplication

Minds in Bloom is happy to introduce Lauren from Mrs. Thompson's Treasures with her post on how to get students to have fun while practicing their multiplication. Enjoy!


Multiplication is one of those skills in math that kids really will use almost every day of their lives. Thankfully, it's also a skill that can be practiced in many fun ways. Here are some great ideas for learning about and practicing multiplication facts that will have your students engaged and having fun!
1) Picture Books - There are some great picture books available that can explain multiplication and show how it is useful in real life situations. Here are a few:
  •  Amanda Bean's Amazing Dream By: Cindy Neuschwander
  •  Breakfast at Danny's Diner By: Judith Stamper
  •  Minnie's Diner: A Multiplying Menu By: Dayle Ann Dodds

2) Multiplication War - Get a deck of cards (you can take out kings, queens, and jacks, or use them for #s 11-13 if you want) and split the deck between two people. Each person turns over a card at the same time. The first person to correctly say the product of the two numbers gets to keep the cards.

3) Roll, Multiply, & Color - Anything you can do with dice is always a hit! Click HERE to get this free worksheet to have students roll two dice, find the product, and color in the number on the page. My kids love using dot markers, but crayons or regular markers work great too!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5dsPzSlPOCeTWtFSU5PZU8ybGs/view?usp=sharing


4) Domino Game - For 2-4 players. Turn a set of dominoes face down. Each person draws one domino and multiplies the 2 sides together. The person with the highest number gets to keep all the dominoes. If there is a tie, draw again. Keep going until all the dominoes have been drawn! The winner is the person with the most dominoes.

5) Mystery Pictures - Kids LOVE mystery pictures! So I've created some super fun multiplication mystery pictures that kids always enjoy completing! Click HERE to get this cute Superhero Freebie!

FREE Superhero Multiplication Mystery Picture

6) Multiplication Basketball - In real basketball, baskets are 2 points each, so try playing by 3s, 4s, 5s, or whatever number you are working on.

7) Beach Ball Toss - Get a big beach ball and use a sharpie to write numbers 1-10 (or 12 if you are learning those multiples) all over. Toss it to a student and have them multiply the numbers that are closest to their index fingers. Then they toss it to another person.

8) Popsicle Stick Multiples - Write the multiples of a number on popsicle sticks and have students put them in order. Put each group in baggie to keep them separate, and have one popsicle stick be the title, for example, "I Can Count By 3s."

9) Around the Room Multiples - Get in a circle and have students recite off the multiples of a number. Make it a competition by having several small circles and see who can do it the fastest.

10) Roll, Multiply, Graph - This is another fun dice activity that helps students see how different factors can multiply together to get the same product. You could even make this a fun class activity, where each student rolls the dice once and you graph the class results. Click HERE to get this free page!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5dsPzSlPOCeTlZORVBzM0dUN2s/view?usp=sharing

11) Multiplication Memory Match - Make a memory game using index cards or construction paper. Cut small squares from the paper (laminate if you'd like) and write factors on half the cards (ex: 4 x 5) and products on the other half (ex: 20). You can do all the multiples of one number, or mix it up for review! Put all the cards face down and have partners play the game by turning two cards over to try and make a match.

I hope this list has given you some tools to use with your students and inspired you to get creative and make learning FUN!

About Me: Hi! I'm Lauren from Mrs. Thompson's Treasures! I currently stay home with my kids (ages 6, 4, 2, and 1) and homeschool. I have had 3 years of classroom experience as a 3rd grade teacher in a public school, and several years of teaching English overseas. I love finding and creating teaching treasures that are fun, engaging, and help all students feel successful!

www.mrsthompsonstreasures.com

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