I teach 6th and 7th grade math so I get my students for two years in a row. The beginning of 7th grade year is a review of their entire 6th grade year. It’s fabulous because I get to go pretty fast through the material and only focus on what they need. I don’t usually need to teach the entire lesson again and they did the discovery activity the year before. This leaves plenty of time to practice, practice, practice!
This year I’ve had much more fun than ever before with in class practice thanks to the great math teachers at TMC12. This summer I learned all about their favorite things, many of which included fun ways to practice.
I have found that practice is more effective when I put kids in groups or with a partner and either play games or do a fun activity. I never, ever just give them a worksheet to work on.
Right now my favorite activity is Rachel’s math “placemats”. I made a dry erase template for the activity and called it “Add It Up”. All you need to play is a worksheet and a template. You can use any worksheet that you have. To play, two or four students work on individual problems and then add the sum up and write it in the middle. I check the sum. If it’s correct, they move on. If it is incorrect, they don’t know which problem is incorrect. I usually tell them to work each others problem.
This is a great way to differentiate. I usually have the students work with students that work at the same “pace” as they do so one student doesn’t get frustrated. Everyone can thus work at their own pace. Quicker students move from the easier problems at the beginning to the work difficult ones. And, I put incredibly difficult problems at the end. It’s the one day when I can really challenge my highly gifted students. I can also take time to sit with my students that need more help and do some re-teaching.
My other favorites are games. I’ve had the kids play Zero lately with cards and they love it. I’ve also made block games (from Cheesemonkey) this year and puzzles. I’m using a puzzle for the first time in two weeks as a challenge exercise so I’ll see how it goes!
I like the idea of doing this activity in pairs as an alternative to larger groups. Thanks for the template! Have you just laminated the Add Em Up sheet??
Yes. But I also laminate the partner worksheet if I make a nice one. They write on the laminated Add It Up sheet so I can reuse the worksheet too.
I love this idea! Will be using this soon!
Marking this as a favorite and will try next week! Thanks!
It’s awesome. I’ve made two more. The kids work so hard on it!
Really like this idea and definitely want to try it out! Do you get the pairs to show you their sum after every set of questions to check it is correct? I am not sure how I would keep track of what everyone is working on (I would have 15 pairs of students in my classes on 30)…
I had them tell me which problems they worked on and hold up their board so I could check the sum. I made the partner worksheet after playing the first time. Then, they can say, “Is #3 24?” and hold their sheet up so I can say yea or no.
For two other topics I am trying other things as well. For algebraic expressions I made each question have a different variable. So, there is only one answer with g in it so they don’t even have to tell me the question number On another, I put a mixed up answer bank at the bottom so if they didn’t find their answer they know it’s wrong. I will post pics of these two on this post so you can see what I am talking about.
Awesome thanks! Love the answer bank idea – I like to use that method for normal classwork and I think it would be an ideal self-checking mechanism in this activity. Thanks so much for sharing this idea, I am planning on using it twice tomorrow as a revision exercise!
So the partner worksheet is for them to write their final numerical answers on?? I was under the impression it was for the questions! Or is that a separate sheet as well?
Yes. There are two worksheets. One has their work and the sum on it. The other is just a worksheet of the problems. They don’t write on the problem worksheet, just the blank template.
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Love your ideas … my post is similar! I use the same idea of adding up the answers – just called it a different name. I’ve tried the scrambled answer bank as well! Thanks for sharing!
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