Fun Ideas to Practice Math Skills

Fun Ideas to Practice Math Skills
Let's talk about some fun ideas to practice math skills with your students or children! Math doesn't always seem fun to some children, teachers, or parents, but it's easy to make it fun! Trust me!

Fun Ideas to Practice Math Skills 
Math Dice from ThinkFun is a  Toy of the Year nominee and has instructions included so children can start gameplay ASAP!  Some of my second graders even would get these out during indoor recess. Click on the image to learn more at Amazon.

Fun Ideas to Practice Math Skills 
Connect math to STEM and embrace the practice of logic skills with games like Rush Hour Traffic Jam from Think Fun! This was another good indoor recess choice and I enjoyed making it a math center choice in the spring.
Fun Ideas to Practice Math Skills
Suduko at beginning levels is a fun way for young students to practice addition, subtraction, and logic skills! I used to download free puzzles from various websites for my second graders (it's a great way to differentiate, too) but this puzzle book is terrific too!

Math riddles from Primary Inspiration  by Linda Nelson are a terrific way to get your students reviewing and reinforcing math skills! They are funny and engaging and students will barely realize they are working and learning! She has plenty more at her Teachers Pay Teachers Store.
 Click on any images to see more information!
Shark's Secret Numbers is a Freebie!

Try some of my Digital Math Resources too, including Digital Task Cards, Self Grading Google Forms and even Boom Cards! They also have great benefits but are slightly different. To learn more, check out these blog posts:
Click on any image below to learn more about these popular digital resources!


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    Can You Be a Happy Teacher?

    Can You Be a Happy Teacher? Of course! Find out how here.
    Can you be a happy teacher? Short answer: of course! Let's talk about 5 ways to help you get there!

    How to Be a Happy Teacher

    Practical Ideas

    Can You Be a Happy Teacher?

    Turn off Email Notifications!
    Yes I know, it's tough. But after working at school all day, and then grading papers for an hour at night, or planning, you do not need to have email notifications set on your phone when you are trying to have dinner with your family or taking your child to soccer, or having a long awaited girls' night out. Turn. Them. Off. The email will be there, when you are ready and able to check it.

    Work with other teachers:
    I have seen some amazing collaboration between teachers that made all their lives easier. A team at my school splits the video directions and walk throughs for Seesaw. One teacher does all the math, and another does the phonics, a third does reading. Collaborative Google docs can be so helpful, as can just be bouncing ideas off peers on how to handle challenging student behavior.

    Use routines:
    When I was a classroom teacher, developing routines for both myself and students saved reading centers for me. Every Tuesday and Thursday the writing center was a writing prompt from my Writing Prompts Collection. Friday, the writing center was editing/finish up. Similarly with comprehension, Tuesdays we answered think about it questions, Thursdays, we did a themed activity (such as character traits, story maps), and Friday was finish up or "bonus" comprehension choice time. It was SO helpful!

    Thoughtful Ideas

    Say no:
    Sometimes you CAN say no! You can say no to that committee. Say no to volunteering for STEM night, say no to a parent asking you to do a conference at a very difficult time slot. Saying no can give you more time and energy to say YES to your students!

    Find one thing to be grateful for each day:
    When I was in my twenties I actually kept a literal gratefulness journal.  I think I got the idea from Oprah! Last year when the pandemic started, I decided to post something I was grateful for each night on my Instastories. Or you can just choose something as you get ready for bed. It does help! It doens't have to be big. It could just be "no one cried in class today", or "I had a delicious piece of chocolate" - anything big or small you are grateful for!

    Bonus: Staying organized might help you throughout the day and improve your chances of being happy! Check out some tips here to stay organized while teaching hybrid or remotely.

    Do you have another suggestion as to how teachers can be happy? Comment and let us know! 
    Can You Be a Happy Teacher? Of course! Find out how here.

    Fun Ways to Practice Spelling Trick Words

    Fun Ways to Practice Spelling Trick Words

    Hey teachers! Looking for fun ways to practice spelling trick words? I have ideas for you right here!

    Play Doh or Clay

    Play doh is fun and easy to use, and super for shorter words for kindergarten and first graders.

    Pipe Cleaners

    Pipe cleaners are an underrated but fun, hands on way to make letters and therefore trick words! 

    Magnetic Letters 

    They are classic - but have you played the what's missing game? Have students make the word with magnets and then you make the same word, but (out of sight) remote a letter (or two or three) and have students guess what's missing from the word. It's a great way for them to practice what the word looks like.

    Fun Ways to Practice Spelling Trick WordsFun Ways to Practice Spelling Trick Words
    This is what my What's Missing? looks like (left) and another quick activity I did that you can try where I mix up the letters and say "You be the teacher. Did I spell it correctly?" (right)

    Sand Boxes! 

    I discovered weighted sand recently and it's even better than salt boxes! I like to put sand or salt in the 4x6" Iris photo boxes.

    Gel Pens and Pads 

    Gel pens (like these from Wilson Language) provide pressure when students write words and help students learn the spelling!

    Digital Resources

    And if you want a way that students can practice trick words with digital resources, check out the trick word resources from my store. The top two have audio clips and students spell the words based on memory (or using classroom resources like the trick word wall). For the other resources, students will look at the trick words and spell them for practice! Fun, engaging, paperless, and great for distance learning, homeschooling, remote learning, or in class reading centers.
    Fun Ways to Practice Spelling Trick Words Fun Ways to Practice Spelling Trick Words

    Fun Ways to Practice Spelling Trick Words Fun Ways to Practice Spelling Trick Words

    Fun Ways to Practice Spelling Trick Words

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    Fun Ways to Practice Spelling Trick Words

    Class Rewards that Don't Involve Food

    Class rewards that don't involve food

    Class Rewards that Don't Involve Food

    Positive reinforcement is always a great way to support your students so today I have suggestions for class rewards that don't involve food! My second graders would always want to have Pizza Day or candy but 1) I am not buying pizza for 22 people and 2) eventually teachers were not allowed to give out food because of food allergies.


    • Disco Party: wear your 70's duds and wigs, bring in or borrow a disco ball, and spend a little time playing fun disco songs!
    • Dance Party: just like the Disco Party but you can use current and recent songs! Check out my blog post with suggestions here

    Special Days

    • Stuffed Animal Day: This is always a hit with younger kids! My second graders loved to read to their stuffed animals and we also would incorporate them into math by measuring our stuffies in inches, centimeters, and more.
    • Pajama Day: simple and classic! Everyone wears pajamas. 
    • Game Day: This was also a big hit with my classes. Students bring in all kinds of board games from home. Sorry, Battleship, Headbanz and more were popular.
    • 70's Day: See the disco party but take out the dancing! Wear the bell bottoms and fringed jackets.
    • 80's Day: My friend has done this with her class. There is a lot of neon on those days. 

    Recess and Lunch

    • Extra Outdoor Recess: self-explanatory, right?
    • Extra Indoor Recess: same but great for frigid winter days
    • Picnic Lunch: Another friend loves to do this one with her class. They bring towels and blankets and the picnic always turns into a fun playtime.


    • No Homework: Make sure this is okay with your principal though, but I approve of it!
    • Watch a Fun Video: I like Magic School Bus videos (about 20 minutes)  and Geraldine the Giraffe phonics videos (2-5 minutes each). Short is good because we really can't afford these days to watch a 90 minute movie like Air Bud (as I did do once about 20 years ago). 

    So, do you have your own ideas for class rewards that don't involve food? Be sure to comment so we know what we missed!

    Class rewards that don't involve food

    Getting Organized for Remote Learning

       Getting Organized for Remote Teaching

    Organizing Your at Home Supplies for Remote Teaching (or your Teacher Table)

    Teaching remotely is tough, whether you are doing it from your classroom or home, so this blog post has some advice for you when you're getting organized for remote teaching! 

    Keeping Papers and Supplies Under Control

    Bins, Bins, and More Bins

    Plastic or other bins are super handy for holding anything and everything you need - base ten blocks, Fundations cards, or handy Bitmoji signs like these:

    holding Bitmoji signs

    These bins on Amazon are affordable and sturdy (clicking on any image will take you to Amazon to learn more)!

    Stacking trays are not just for student work - they can also hold supplies for different subjects if you teach elementary or sorting supplies but keeping them handy for "today" and "tomorrow".

    Wheeled Cart - I have one of these but from Office Depot. It has been invaluable for taking things to and from school. Also 2 days a week at school I work out of a room upstairs so I bring all my supplies and reading group bins up and down with it. Well worth the investment!

    3 tier cart on wheels - I have one at home and at school. This is so useful! At school, the bottom shelf hold individual student folders, the top shelf holds manipulatives and the middle shelf is for whatever I need!

    Tech Organization

    Monitor Riser/Laptop Stand - I am not going to lie but I use cardboard box! haha! Many of my fellow teachers though ordered risers like this affordable one.

    Cord minder -Tangled cords and cords everywhere is a pet peeve of mine so I bought something similar to corral mine!


    Keep Practical Supplies Handy

    White boards: I always keep a white board right next to my laptop and chrome book. I use it to write vocabulary or quickly address an error or question without having to use technology.


    Markers: Expo markers are a teacher favorite and I always keep one or more right by me, too! I prefer the fine tip or ultra fine print.
    Pencils cups and small supply containers - also, it's annoying when a pen or pencil I need rolls off the table or I can't find it when I need. I love traditional pencil cases, plus check out this cute expandable, zip up pencil cup! How cute!       

    So do you have any additional advice for getting organized for remote teaching from school or home? Let us know and I may add it!

    Getting Organized for Remote Teaching

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