Friday, November 4, 2011

Getting Serious about Math Games!

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When it came to addition facts, my daughter needed to get them down. The only problem was if she sees flash cards or I use a timer, she freezes. She starts panicking and gives me the wrong answers at a slower pace. I didn't know what to do. I had to think of ways for her to practice her addition facts without the drill.

We started focusing on combinations of 10. Now her favorite combination is 7 + 3. I came up with some games that she has loved. Now my 5 year old knows most combinations that equal 10! We made math games a priority. Every morning after breakfast, we play 1-2 games. Here are games that I have made up. Each one has a little dance and song we do :)

Which Combination will Win?
(Probability for Combinations of 10)
Take 10 small objects that have 2 sides (like pennies or circle tokens with different colors on each side). We were actually studying poison dart frogs at the time, so I took beans and painted then blue on one side, let them dry and then red on the other side. First, my daughter made a list of all the possible combinations of 10 (9+1, 8+2, 7+3, etc.). This was good practice since she had to make the list each time we played. Then, we each chose one combination. Then, I put all the beans inside a cup, she shook them up and then poured them out. She counted how many blue and how many red and put a tally mark by that combination on our list. We did this 10 times. The person whose combination came up the most won!

Combination 10!
I take a stack of Uno cards (only using number cards). Each player is dealed 10 cards. They turn over all their cards and find pairs of numbers that equal 10 (5 and 5, 8 and 2, etc). Each player keeps their own matches. The leftover cards without matches go into a discard pile. After all the players have found matches, each player is dealed another 10 cards (until there are not enough cards to deal out more). The person that has the most matches of cards that equal 10 wins!

Slap that Ten
We use our uno cards. I have the stack of cards and turn over two cards. I continue to put new cards face up on the two cards. When both cards together make 10, the players have to slap that ten! They get all the cards on the stack (below the combination of 10). The winner is the person with the most cards at the end.

30 minus something
Each player is dealed 5 cards face down. All the other cards are scattered face up all over the floor. The game starts when the players turn over one of their 5 cards. They have to find the answer to 30 minus the card they turned over (For example, the card is 4, so the player thinks 30-4=26). They have grab the number 2 and 6 from any of the scattered cards on the floor to make 26. They put the 4, 2, and 6 together to make a set, and turn over their next card. This is a game of speed and all players work at the same time, without taking turns. I sometimes have different players have different numbers to minus from (one has 40 minus something, another person has 100 minus something, etc.)

Addition Battle-
Each player is dealt 2 cards face up. Each player solves the sum of their two cards. The highest sum takes all the cards. This is repeated until all cards are dealt. If there are two sums that are the highest and the same number, they have an addition battle. Addition battle is when two players put down two more cards and add their numbers to see who wins all the cards. The winner is the player with the most cards.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Writing Club with Cousins!

In my family, there are so many families that homeschool that the older cousins have a book club. They each read certain chapters of the assigned book, then one of the moms thinks of two writing prompts that relate to the book. Each child chooses a writing prompt and writes a response. Then, they meet weekly via skype and share their writing with each other.

Well, my oldest daughter in the first grade started loosing motivation in her daily writing journal. I wanted her to not only be more motivated in writing, but improve in her writing skills. I talked with my sisters and we decided to make a younger book club. So far, we have read Charlotte's Web, Little House in the Big Woods and Beezus and Ramona. The cousins get to see each other on skype and share their writing. After each child reads, the others comment on what they liked about it. It takes about 15-30 minutes. I found a great site called It has books for each grade level with review questions and writing prompts for each chapter from the books. Here is the link! It makes it so easy to come up with writing prompts!

Here is an example of a writing prompt for younger grades for Charlotte's web:
1. What do you like to do in the summertime? Do you like to do some of the things they do in the book?
2. Wilbur wanted to spin a web like Charlotte. Have you ever wanted to do something, but when you tried, you couldn't? How did you feel?

I have already seen an improvement in my daughter's writing. She will say things like, "Oooh, I'm going to write this like "Jen" does." or "I wrote what color my shirt was like "Amelia" does." I highly recommend doing a skype writing club not only because it will improve their writing, but they will get to see their "cousins" more often.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

More Fun with Letters!

My 2 1/2 year old is starting to understand that letters are everywhere! She knows about 10 letter sounds now. It is so fun to see her little mind working. She has started to notice letters as she reads books, looks on the back of cereal boxes or even plays with her toys that have alphabet letters on them. "Look! There's the c, Mommy!" I forgot how much fun it is when they actually realize letters can be found everywhere!

I recently came across a great list of activities to do with the letter Q from Confessions of a Homeschooler. I am doing a preschool for my 4 year old daughter's coop tomorrow! Many of the activities can be used with any letter of the alphabet. Make sure to check out her site for other fun ideas on letter games. I am going to copy and paste my favorites directly from that site:

**Alphabet Activity: This is called the stair game, everyone loves it! She stands at the top and I flash a letter, she says the letter and its sound. If she’s right she gets to jump down a stair. When she hits the bottom she wins!

***Finger Tracing Paint Bag: This is simple and fun, I filled a bag with tempura paint, you could also use cheap shaving cream. Then I'll tape it to her desk for her to practice writing her letter on using her finger. You could also skip the bag and put shaving cream on your counter if you're feeling brave ;o) After we do the letters we do numbers, shapes, and whatever else we can think of!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Short Vowel Readers!

I always struggle to find books my children can read when they are first starting reading. When my children have mastered short vowels, they want to read books! That is why we created a few short vowel books we have posted for free here. There are so few books out there that only have short vowels :) I recently found a great series!!

The Now I'm Reading! Series by Nora Gaydos is adorable! I'm so happy I have found it.

Things I love about these books:

1. There are 20 books for short vowel words. Can you believe it, 20!

2. Each set comes with a cute set of stickers that coordinate with each book. The children have 4 stickers per book. Each time they read the book by themselves out loud, they get a sticker. I love repetition and my daughter loves putting on a sticker each time she reads it!

3. Each page builds on the previous page. Each story starts with two words, the next page has three words (repeating the first two words) and it continues to build on the first two words as the story goes on. It is a perfect way to build confidence in the early readers!

4. The stories are actually fun to read! They are cute and clever. They are not boring to read over and over again! Sorry, I am not a fan of the BOB books. It makes it so much more enjoyable for my daughter and for me to read these books :)

Click on the two sets of stories above to find out more about them, read other great reviews and buy them :)