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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!

save time and money on Teachers Pay Teachers

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:


doubles cards

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.


a doubles game

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.


place value cards

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 to Angela Watson for creating this cards!  You can find the cards HERE.


I can statements

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 Statement 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.

math manipulatives

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.


place value mats


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.


odd and even PowerPoint


odd and even posters


odd and even centers

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:


math journal


math journal

You can find this ODD and EVEN resource in my store!

odd and even learning bundle

Want to read more about place value? Check out this blog post on why place value doesn’t have to boring!

Don’t Go Yet!

Are you new the 1:1 classroom setting? Then you’ll want to read my Valuable Tips for the 1:1 Classroom.

Check out how I use Google Classroom to present at Back to School Night for Parents.

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