Overwhelmed? Self Care is Important and Vital to Success!

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Rachel Davis of Elite Edupreneurs on her podcast featuring Teachers Pay Teachers sellers.  We discussed many topics about being a seller on Teachers Pay Teachers.  One important aspect of being a seller is knowing when to take care of yourself.


When you're a TpT seller, there is a lot of stress involved.  A seller has to know how to create high-quality resources, learn marketing techniques, learn copyright and trademarks, and run a business while trying to balance all that with the rest of your life.

As a single dad of two boys (13 and 10), it's not always easy to balance raising children, working full time as an elementary teacher and running a store on Teachers Pay Teachers.  But I try.  Join Rachel and me on the podcast now! (It's free! Just click on the link).


5 Must Have Presents That Will Make a Teacher Happy!

It's that time of year again when you know your students are wondering what gift to get you this year.  I've been teaching for 31 years, and I've received plenty of beautiful gifts that have been given with gratitude, from the heart and from an interesting point of view of what a teacher might like.  Yes, that means I've gotten some very "interesting" presents over the years. But I've appreciated every single one!  Even the one which was a bag of coal! 


But what gift would REALLY make a teacher happy?  What would a teacher write down on her or his list for Santa?  So I've come up with a list of 5 MUST HAVE presents I know all teachers want.  Maybe we don't ask for these outright, but in the back of our minds, we do wish for these!


Respect.  Like Aretha Franklin says...R-E-S...P-E-C-T, that is what a teacher needs!  After 31 years of teaching, I have noticed a dramatic drop in respect for teachers from all parts of society.  From some administrators, from MOST politicians, from parents and from students.  It used to be that a teacher was considered a wise and fair sage.  Now, all that has changed.


Sometimes we are treated as if we don't know what we are doing (as in politicians telling us how and what to teach).  Sometimes we are treated as if we are devils (as in parents not believing us when we report misbehaviors by their children).  Sometimes we are treated as a bothersome itch (as in students who keep on talking while we try to teach or ignore our teaching altogether).

Of course, there are many wonderful parents, students, and administrators who do go out of their way and treat us respectfully.  But what we really want is that respect from everyone.

To the politicians out there:  we know what we're doing!  Let us teach!  We have the teaching degree, you do not.  To the parents who never believe us when we discuss their child's behavior:  you're doing your child more damage than you can imagine!  To the students who seem to think we're interrupting their day with our teaching:  I will still try my hardest to teach you, but remember that you reap what you sow!


Less stress.   You would think after 31 years of teaching, stress would not be an issue.  But it is.  Yes, I have stress in all parts of my life, but in the past 10 years teaching has become even more stressful with mandates by politicians, demands by parents and the ever-increasing needs of needier students.


Most people think that teachers just sit at a desk all day and tell students what to do.  Nope.  I don't even have a regular desk.  I'm always moving around.  I'm teaching.  I'm working with a group of students.  I'm working with one student.  The point being?  I'm working here!  And planning for all those lessons, keeping up with the grading, and the myriad other teaching-related duties a teacher has, the stress can be demanding.


A simple thank you.  As teachers, we get a silent thank you every time a student learns to do something new or improves.  Every time a student lights up with that proverbial light bulb is a thank you.  But, I'd like to think that I have one of the most essential jobs in the world which is shaping the future! So I believe society should be a more thankful we teachers are so dedicated!

Wouldn't it be nice if teachers were given ticker-tape parades as a thank you?  Wouldn't it be nice if teachers were given a Nobel Prize as a thank you?  Wouldn't it be nice if teachers were rewarded with multi-million dollar contracts?  Shouldn't teachers also get signing bonuses?


The point being is that teachers need to be thanked more often and in more ways for all we do.  I can't say all 100% of teachers will go above and beyond their duties, but probably 99.99999999% will.  Which other professions can say that!


Better pay!  You've heard this one before.  If you want to keep attracting the best and brightest to the teaching profession, you have to draw them with a good salary, good benefits, and good working conditions.   Many teachers now begin their careers saddled with student debt.  No one is going to want to be a teacher if they realize that on a teacher's salary, they'd still have to live at home with their parents because they would not be able to afford to do so on their own.

For those of us who are veteran teachers, we have gone years without pay raises while the cost of living has continued to go up.  I can tell you (and prove to you with receipts) that I spend about $1,000 - $2,000 per year of my own salary on supplemental materials, school supplies and other resources for my class.  So over the 31 years of teaching, I probably have spent close to a starting teacher's salary!  We're not asking to double our pay.  We're asking to be paid a decent wage to support our families!


A coffee mug!  In my 31 years of teaching, I have gotten a coffee mug EVERY SINGLE YEAR.  I've said that when I retire, I will open a coffee shop featuring all these mugs.  So keep them coming!


What has been your favorite present from a student?  

If you could choose one present as a teacher, what would it be?

Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Holidays!

Teachers Pay Teachers Cyber Sale 2017

Starting Monday, November 27, 2017, shop the Teachers Pay Teachers Cyber Sale.  This is your best chance at getting the most savings!  Use the Promo Code CYBER17 to save up to 25%!!

Save even more by purchasing bundles!  Bundles are usually discounted 20 - 30% off full prices. Now save even more with a 20% off sale and then use the PROMO CODE. Do the math and you will SAVE BIG!!!

There's another way to save.  Leave feedback on all your TpT purchases and receive TpT credit for future purchases!

Finally, start your wish list now so check out is smooth and effortless.  Browse early, find amazing resources and put them on your wishlist.   Then, when it's time to check out, just move the item to your cart and you're ready to go! Don't forget to add the PROMO CODE CYBER17 and your TpT credits.

Check out a new type of resource:  Teaching Kits or Teaching and Learning Bundles.  These new resources contain multiple resources in one!  No need to search endlessly for different items to teach.  The kits can include:  Powerpoints, Games, Centers, Printables, Google Slides®, Posters and more!





Happy Cyber Shopping!

Check out my store and start your wishlist!

Two Boys and a Dad Productions Store

Sale runs November 27 and 28, 2017.

3 Tried and True Ways on How to Teach Multiplication

The gateway to learning algebra and higher forms of mathematics is multiplication.  It is critically important that elementary school children learn the concept of multiplication as well as, just learning the multiplication facts.  I am a big believer in using manipulatives and concrete objects to teach concepts to elementary school children. When introducing the concept of multiplication or when my students are practicing with the idea, we use manipulatives such as the foam tiles that are included in the math program.  You can use anything:  beans, counters, buttons, etc. 


But it is also essential to use the manipulatives with strategies that can transfer to paper and pencil models as well.  Though there are many ways to teach the concept of multiplication, I have always emphasized equal groups, arrays, and number lines.  Each one has its strengths and difficulties for students to use.


The first strategy is to teach equal groups.  After all, multiplication is the grouping of equal numbers of objects to quickly find a total.  Students must be explicitly taught, and they must practice forming, identifying and counting equal groups.  The student's desktops become whiteboards in my class. Students can be told to get 12 tiles and see what kind of equal groups can be formed (3 groups of 4, 4 groups of 3, 6 groups of 2, 2 groups of 6, 1 group of 12, 12 groups of 1).

Once grouped, students can draw circles around each group and then use skip counting.  Once students are able to form equal groups, I also give them a number that can not be formed into equal groups such as 13.  This is to emphasize the importance of having each group equal.  When groups are not equal, you can not multiply.

Here are some videos that illustrate the concept of equal groups.  They can be assigned to the students to watch individually or watch it as a class.  They are kid-friendly and offer good examples and explanations. If you're using Google Classroom, you can post them as a resource for students to use at home or in the classroom.  If you use EdPuzzle.com, these videos are excellent for prompting the students with questions so that viewing the video is just not a passive experience.

This particular video really emphasizes the ideas of groups, by using real-life examples of "group holders."


Once students have a solid understanding of equal groups, arrays can be introduced.  Arrays are to multiplication what ten frames are also.  Arrays provide a structured way to see groups making it easier to count totals and recognize quantities.  I use the same tiles to create arrays.  I like to start out a lesson on arrays by asking how groups could be arranged in a way to make them easier to count.  Eventually, someone discovers or builds an array.  Then we have a discussion of why arrays are easier to count.  It's also a great idea to show them real-life examples of how ordinary everyday objects are grouped in arrays.

Check out this video!

Arrays are also a useful tool for discovering the Commutative Property of Multiplication.  Just rotate an array 90 degrees, and you have a related fact!  If you have students eventually draw their own arrays, it is a good idea to use graph paper.  Graph paper will help the students keep their arrays from morphing into uncountable blobs!

Here are some more kid-friendly videos to demonstrate the use of arrays.

This particular video is very useful because it also prompts the students with questions making it more interactive.

Which kid doesn't know about MineCraft®!  Keep the motivation going with this MineCraft® themed explanation of arrays.


I always use this method last.  Why? Because though it looks straightforward to use, students make many mistakes when using it!  Sometimes students do not count enough spaces to jump or confuse jumps with how many to jump at once.  In either case, it requires careful teaching and making sure the students understand the steps involved in using a number line to multiply.  I've also thought about using an open number line to multiply as this may lead to less confusion counting the tick marks to jump.  An open number line requires the student to SKIP count by a certain number for each jump.  A marked number line requires a student to count the same amount of ticks each time.

I have number lines that are laminated, and the students put them on a marker board to use. Number lines do not lend themselves very well when using manipulatives.  But by this time, most understand the concept of equal groups.

Here are some videos that can be used for a review or for teaching how to use the number line to multiply.

This first one also points out to students common mistakes when using the number line!

Here's an example of using an open number line.


Once I have established the concept of using each of these strategies using manipulatives or, I want my students to start connecting multiplication expressions to go with equal groups, arrays, and number lines, I use a PowerPoint I created that explicitly explains how to write multiplication equations.  It's a three-part PowerPoint that teaches equal groups, arrays and number lines to multiply.  It comes with printables that are used along with the PowerPoint.


The printables help connect the manipulatives to writing multiplication expressions. The PowerPoint is animated and has sound to keep the students engaged.  Many questions are embedded into each slide to keep the students thinking about what is happening.  Presenter's Notes for the teacher also guide the teacher through the PowerPoint lessons and provide questions for stimulating mathematical thinking.




Take a look at the full PREVIEW HERE.

Click below to see all my 
multiplication resources!


How to Use the Compensation Strategy for Addition

What are some of the strategies you teach your students or children to add two and three digit numbers?  Do you use compensation?  Or do you begin teaching with the standard algorithm?  Teaching students to be flexible in their strategies makes them more likely to persevere and find a solution.  One of the many strategies I have been teaching my students to use is making a ten.  The next step is teaching compensation which utilizes a number close to a ten (10, 20, 30, 40, 50, etc.).  


Compensation is defined as adjusting one number when adding.  See the example below:



But hold on!  In some math textbook series, this is referred to as transformation!  So what is the difference?  In my research, the difference between compensation and transformation is that in compensation only one number at a time is adjusted, while in transformation, both numbers are adjusted simultaneously.  Though it seems like semantics, it does make a difference when teaching this strategy to second graders!


In my district, we happen to use the Go Math textbook. Though we are encouraged to NOT use it as intended but to focus on the standards, number talks, math talk and teaching students strategies I still use it for practice (students have consumables).  In Go Math, this process of adjusting numbers is referred to as compensation.


Since I have Math Their Way training, I try to start teaching a concept or a strategy at the concrete level which is defined as using manipulatives only.  Eventually, we move on to the connecting level in which numbers and symbols are now associated with the use of manipulatives, and then we move onto the symbolic level, in which students use paper and pencil.

Before I began teaching the strategy, I made some work mats that were double-sided and would help add some structure to the lesson.





Download the Compensation Strategy Work Mats here as a PDF!

In the examples below, we started learning compensation by only using manipulatives to represent numbers.  I also used a Number Talk in which I showed number models similar to the ones below and asked the students to find out how many there were.  Students shared various strategies, including counting on, making a ten, grouping tens and ones, etc. 


I would give the students two numbers that they had to represent on either side of the zigzag line.  For this part, I had the students work together as partners sharing one mat since I was limited in the number of manipulatives I had for this lesson.

The students would physically move the ones over to one side to complete a ten.  Note that we did not trade the new ten for a rod (that comes later when we focus on regrouping).



Now that the students had an understanding of the concept of adjusting or compensating numbers, it was time to put manipulatives away and go to drawing models for the number as well as adding numbers and symbols for addition.



We used the boards to practice this at least 5 times before I could see that the majority could do use this strategy independently.    From there it was time to go to the symbolic level and practice in the math consumable.

Here's a video of one of my students using this strategy independently.

What other strategies do you use for teaching addition with two and three digits?  Please share below in the comments!

If you would like to make your own mats for teaching the compensation strategy, download this PDF!  Just print out on cardstock, laminate, and you're ready to go!

Making 10 is an Important MUST HAVE Mental Math Strategy

Just the other day, I taught a lesson about making a TEN to add sums greater than ten.  For example, with 8 + 6, you could increase the 8 to a 10 and reduce the 6 accordingly by 2 to make a 4.  Thus, 10 + 4 = 14.  Adding with a zero easier to do mentally.  But as I soon discovered, my second graders could NOT mentally make a 10 in their heads.  They did not have automaticity for the addends that made sums of 10.  So I had to stop the lesson and go back and have them practice just making a ten with two addends.

Many, many years ago I taught first grade.  Back then, I had been trained in Math Their Way. By the end of the year, my first graders could make ten mentally and pretty much knew all the math facts to 20!  Math Their Way is a developmentally appropriate curriculum to teach addition and subtraction.  The ability to make ten or to mentally rearrange numbers and internalize the addition facts gave these first graders a tremendous conceptual understanding of addition.  Why don't we have that today?


Simple answer:  time!  We just do not give students enough time to internalize these strategies, so they use them effortlessly.  The same thing happens in all the grades.  In third grade, we just expect students to memorize the multiplication tables without internalizing strategies that help them learn those facts.  My youngest son is in fourth grade, and the same thing is happening in which the school is using a math textbook and just going page by page.  This results in literally overwhelming the student with strategies to multiply multi-digit numbers without giving the student time to internalize these strategies.


I have been teaching third grade since the early 2000s and so the last time I taught second grade was before the Common Core Standards were adopted.  I've always wondered why my incoming third graders STILL struggled with basic addition and subtraction facts.  I really didn't have the luxury to slow down because I had to teach multiplication!  So what ends up happening is we send third graders onto fourth grade still having NOT solidified addition and subtraction strategies.

If you look above at the textbook example problem, you will see that this is all done on an abstract level.  Students in second grade still need to operate at the concrete level (manipulatives, realia) before moving to a connecting level (manipulatives and numbers/symbols) and finally working at the symbolic and abstract levels.

When trying to do this lesson, I had the great idea of using a laminated card with a math frame so we could do many of these problems as guided practice.  What I quickly found out, was that my students could NOT come up mentally with an addend that would make a ten.  I assumed that they had had so much practice with ten frames in first grade, that making a ten was second nature.  But it was apparent that it was not!  So I had to backtrack and begin by practicing making a ten.  They just needed more practice in various ways, even if it meant using their fingers.


Games are always a great way for kids to practice basic skills.  We practiced making a ten using a die.  I would roll one die, and the students had to hold up the number of fingers to complete the ten (what's the missing addend? is the terminology I used).

Another way was to use the Chromebooks and find online games.  I found 2 particular games that I found fun and accomplished the task of finding corresponding addends that add up to ten.

This online game can be found here:  http://www.mathplayground.com/number_bonds_10.html.

This online game can be found here:  http://gotkidsgames.com/tt/tt.html.

We also added all the combinations of 10 to our Math Journal for reference.  We noted that there were patterns to making a ten.  We also found a double and demonstrated the Commutative Property of Addition.

I found this YouTube video particularly helpful to my students as well!

An anchor chart showing different addition strategies also hangs in our class.  We have not added the Make a Ten strategy yet and won't until the students are more proficient in just making a ten.

The empty space is for the Associative Property of Addition.  We will use this property to make tens.  I still to this day remember one of my math teachers showing us this simple trick.  When adding numbers in a column find the combinations of ten first!  So simple, but powerful.


If you're familiar with Math Their Way, the connecting level is the level in which students connect conceptual understanding (using manipulatives) to symbols to represent the same.  We used counters to represent each added in an addition sentence such as 7 + 5.  We arranged each as a ten frame (5 across).  Then we moved counters from one number to the other to make a ten.  Then students could see that all we had left to do was add 10 + 2 = 12.

There is one more step I will use to teach this strategy before practicing in the book again.  This video demonstrates it wonderfully.  Instead of using numbers, the teacher draws circles for part of the making a ten strategy.  This is perfect!  The students can visually see what needs to be combined to make a ten and what is left to add.  I've also added a link to this video for parents to watch as well!

Come back soon as I will be blogging about Multiplication Strategies to teach your students so they can attain multiplication fluency!

5 Helpful Multiplication Videos for Your Students

Most teachers report that students struggle with multiplication fluency.  In fact, the problem is pervasive enough that even my son's eighth-grade math teacher said the same thing at his Back To School Night presentation to the parents.  Almost all students eventually understand the concept of multiplication and can use various strategies (arrays, skip counting, repeated addition, etc.) to find a product.  But ultimately, multiplication fluency is needed to move on to higher level math problems and Algebra.

I grew up in the 60s and 70s when we weren't explicitly expected to have memorized our multiplication tables.  I still remember using the multiplication table in my Pee-Chee folder when I was not sure!  But one thing I do remember is Schoolhouse Rock and the multiplication songs... .who cannot forget the haunting melody of figure eight!

So here are 5 multiplication videos to help your students start practicing.  They can rock out to popular tunes, learn some tricks and tips and just have fun.

#1 Mr. De Maio

If you haven't heard about Mr. De Maio, then you're missing out on some very engaging videos!  He has produced videos for all different subject areas, especially for elementary students.  He's created a set of videos for each of the multiplication videos from two to nine.  The videos use today's modern music to have your students singing along and learning those facts!  Here's an example of one of his multiplication videos.

Be sure to subscribe to his channel!

#2 Schoolhouse Rock

If you were a kid growing up in the 70s watching Saturday morning cartoons, you got to watch these classic videos.  These cartoon vignettes taught us some important history (The Shot Heard 'Round the World), some grammar (Conjunction Junction), and multiplication!  I've always used these videos with third graders anytime we have some extra time or as part of a lesson.  The tunes are catchy using all different types of music (classical, country, Do-Wop, Boogie-Woogie, etc.).  Here's an example of one of the classics.

#3  Numberock

Think of Numberock as an updated Schoolhouse Rock with rap style videos.  Numberock videos can be found on YouTube as well as a dedicated site (www.numberock.com).   Numberock also has a store on Teachers Pay Teachers for math lessons for almost all grade levels.  The animation is top notch and the songs original and catchy.  Here's an example of one of the multiplication videos (there are videos for all the multiplication tables).

#4 Multiplication Trick for 9

My own son uses this trick ALL THE TIME when multiplying by 9 so I can vouch for its effectiveness.  Each year I teach it to the third graders.  I just put my hands under the document camera and demonstrate how to use this trick.  But a video is great to have because you can assign it for homework in Google Classroom!  This version is produced by PBS and Full-Time Kid.

#5  Multiplication Made Easy

This is a short video demonstrating some great tips for multiplication.  Using a multiplication chart, the video breaks down multiplication to about 15 facts you must memorize.  The rest can be learned from skip counting or using the Commutative Property of Multiplication.  It's a great video to show parents as well.

Come back often as I will continue to explore this topic of multiplication fluency.  I've been doing research and have found strategies and approaches to get those students to multiplication fluency.

Place Value Doesn't Have to be Boring!

Now that I have a full month of teaching second grade (previously having taught third grade for almost 10 years straight), I'm actually gaining an understanding of how second graders are prepared for third grade.  If you examine the Common Core State Standards for Math, you will see that place value is really NOT taught directly in third grade.  It is left up to first and second-grade teachers to make sure students learn to read and write numbers up to 1,000.  



But teaching and learning place value doesn't have to be boring!  One thing I notice about second graders compared to third graders is that attention spans are even shorter.  Another thing is that you have to mix up your teaching game to keep them focused and processing the information.  They also love to play games!


So I made up this game to solidify the concept of ten 10s equaling one hundred.  First I spent about thirty minutes prepping the materials I would need.  Lots of place value rods and flats!  Luckily, out math program gives each teacher plenty of these to use.  They're also made of foam which eliminates the sound of plastic banging on a desk. First, I put the 10 rods into bundles of ten and put them in snack size plastic bags.  Then, I put all the 100s flats into a basket so they could be handed out.  Finally, just needed one die and my pick sticks (just craft sticks with each students name on a stick).


To play the game, I handed out to each student between 2 - 5 of the 100s flats.  Some students got 2 hundred flats, some 3 hundred flats, some 4 hundred flats and some got 5 hundred flats.  Then I explained to students that I would roll the die.  If I got a four, I want to trade with someone who has 4 hundred.  But to make it random, I would first pick a name from the pick sticks and ask that person, Do you have 40 tens?(that being the amount I wanted to trade with the student).  If the student said no, I would ask why not?  Then I would continue picking names until I found a student who could make the trade:  40 bundles tens for 4 hundred flats.


But just to make it more difficult, I said I needed to ask the student to answer a question before trading.  Sneaky me, I also wanted to have the students practice counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s and 100s.  So I might ask the student:  count by 5s starting with 50.  If the student answered correctly, we made a fair trade, and the class received one point.  So it was teacher vs. class for points.  If a student answered incorrectly, the teacher got the point.  Of course, they won!  Adding the random factor (die and pick sticks) kept everyone in the game.  Asking the same type of question Do you have ___ tens? helped reinforc the concept of ten 10s equaling 100.


Now it was time to transition over to a model.  In my class, we use a composition book as a math journal. However, we call it our Siri Journal.  You know, just like Siri on an iPhone. When you have a math question, ask your Siri math journal!


In the journal, I had the students make a model for 230.  They drew 23 lines (each line representing 10). Then they grouped the 10s into 100s.  Then we wrote the number in different ways:  23 tens and 2 hundred and 3 tens.  We also did this with 370.

From there it was time for independent practice with the math book.  I'm not a huge fan of our math program, but I did like this particular set of math practice pages!



I've also been embedding some spiral review into our daily routine. We do about two Number Talks a week to learn strategies.  We also just practice counting by 2s, 5s, 10s, and hundreds starting from various numbers.  This ability to manipulate numbers in your head (mental math) is probably the most important skill you can teach a primary student.  One of my sons started school after Common Core began, while the other transitioned to the Common Core Standards.  I can see a big difference in how they each handle math.  The one that started with the Common Core uses many flexible strategies to manipulate numbers, while the other one is still relying just on memorization.


I also plan spiral review through games and centers.  I have created an entire set of games and centers to use to reinforce the concept of odd and even.  Having taught third grade, it is critical they understand odd and even!  We use the concept of odd and even to find addition and multiplication patterns!




You can find these centers and games in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  They are part of the Odd and Even Teaching and Learning Bundle.

What strategies do you use to teach place value?  Please share below!

Save Time, Money and Your Sanity with Teachers Pay Teachers

What is it that teachers need more of?  Time and money!  There's never enough time in a day to teach everything we need to teach nor is there sufficient time in the day to prepare all our materials and make new ones for the next lessons.  Same with money!  Unless a district hands the teacher a credit card with no limit (very unlikely and probably illegal), teachers are digging out of their own pockets (or like that teacher in Oklahoma, asking for donations for school supplies holding a sign on the highway!) to buy materials.  This impact on time and money is compounded when a teacher switches grade levels!

Two Boys and a Dad Productions

I had to change grade levels right at the BEGINNING of the school year!  That meant finding time to get new resources that would help me teach the second grade English Language Arts and Mathematics Common Core Standards.  I'm very fortunate to work at a school in which each grade level teams and shares ideas, planning, resources, and materials.  That is very helpful when making a transition to a new grade level.   But I still needed resources!


Though I am a teacher-author and create resources for Teachers Pay Teachers, I actually did not create resources for this new grade level, but rather for the one I had taught.  To create new resources for this grade level is not as easy as it looks.  First, I have to really understand the standard or topic being taught.  I have to design a lesson or an approach to teaching it.  Then I have to make the resource to help me teach that lesson.  I also have to try out this new resource with the students and see what needs to be modified.  But my students can't just sit there and wait for me to create the resources.  That's where Teachers Pay Teachers saves me time!


The first unit in math related to place value.  This meant teaching odds and evens, adding doubles, doubles plus one, standard form, expanded form, word form, digit values and place value names.  I did a search on TpT and found MANY fabulous math resources to use to teach these exact lessons.  All were FREE!  This was such a time saver!  I didn't have to reinvent the wheel.  The resources were high quality that aligned with my lesson/content.  All I had to do was download, print, laminate, and cut.  As a teacher-author, I could have probably created those materials from scratch. But why? It's already done and ready to go!  This saved me the time I needed to then create resources I could not find to match my teaching style or lesson.

Here are some of the FREE resources that I found and used:


Two Boys and a Dad Productions

I used these to play a matching game.  Students had to walk around and find the card that matched whether they had the number or the hands.  When they found their partner, I had them stand back to back.  Then I had a few partners justify why their cards matched.  Matching games are perfect for second grade because it gets them up and moving around!  Thanks to Blooming Beyond for creating this cards!  You can find them HERE.


Two Boys and a Dad Productions

My students still ask to play this game!  They really enjoyed playing the different versions (doubles and doubles plus one).  Set up was easy. Just give them a die.  The instructions do say to color in the space to get 4 in a row, but I wanted the students to have many plays, so I just had them use counters to cover the sums.  We played the games instead of just working in our book or doing a worksheet.  Whenever we have some time in the day, I bring it out for a quick practice of doubles.  Thanks to Primary Inspiration for creating these games!  You can find the game HERE.


Two Boys and a Dad Productions

Another fantastic resource that I used to reinforce and practice standard form, expanded form, and word form.  I used the cards as a whole group matching game using my pocket chart stand.  Again, it got my second graders up and moving around.  They also had to justify their placement of the cards and explained why they matched.  The cards were ideal for encouraging mathematical discussion and critiquing another's reasoning.  The cards include place value up to the hundred thousand as well as decimals.  Very adaptable to any grade level in elementary.  Thanks for Angela Watson for creating this cards!  You can find the cards HERE.


Two Boys and a Dad Productions

My district requires teachers to post the standard or the I Can statement on the board daily (and yes they do check).  I have a similar set for both ELA and Math for third grade.  But now that I teach 2nd grade, the standards are different.  I found this particular set of I Can Statements for 2nd grade and have been using them since.  They fit perfectly in the area on my whiteboard I have designated for listing the standards.  Thanks to Partyin' With Primaries for creating this set of I Can Statements.  You can find them HERE.


Sometimes, I could not find what I needed on TpT (whether free or paid), so I created my own resources.  I also rummaged through my closets and found ALL my base ten blocks!  So I separated them into individual baggies containing 10 rods (10s) and 10 cubes (ones).  I gave each student a baggie that was then used on a place value mat I created.  It is two sided.  One side is for 10s and 1s.  The other side has 100s, 10s, and 1s.  I printed each mat on cardstock and also laminated each one.  Then I gave each student a mat, an expo marker and a piece of felt for an eraser.

Two Boys and a Dad Productions

I gave my students about 10 minutes of just using the base ten blocks for fun so they could get the novelty out their system.  Then we used them to show a number with a model (base 10 blocks) expanded form and standard form.  I also used the mats later to practice word form as well.

Two Boys and a Dad Productions


When I couldn't find a PowerPoint to help me teach odd and even (I rely on PowerPoints all the time to teach content), I made my own!  Knowing odds and evens is a critical skill because it leads to understanding mathematical patterns as well as, understanding why and even number added to an even number will always yield an even number.  An odd number added to an odd number also produces an even number.  An odd number added to an even number yields an odd number.  This knowledge also helps with multiplication as well.  So make sure your second graders truly understand this concept! In third grade, it is only reviewed but is very important in understanding addition and multiplication patterns.

I am currently refining the PowerPoint and adding sound as well. I hope to have it available in my store soon!  It will be part of a larger resource that will include centers, posters, color by number sheets and an assessment.  Here are some previews of what it will look like.  UPDATE 9/6/17:  THE ODD AND EVEN TEACHING AND LEARNING BUNDLE IS NOW AVAILABLE IN MY STORE! CHECK IT OUT!

Two Boys and a Dad Productions

Two Boys and a Dad Productions

Two Boys and a Dad Productions

I've also used an Interactive Notebook for math.  I've created some pages that the students glued in and filled out.  Once the school year is completed, I will gather all the templates and make them available.  Here are some examples:

Two Boys and a Dad Productions

Two Boys and a Dad Productions

Soon, I will also blog about the very useful and time-saving English Language Arts resources I found on TpT to help me with my switch to 2nd grade.

In the meantime, check back at my store frequently to see when the ODD and EVEN Resource Pack will be available!  

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