Blog Defunct

Please note that this blog has not been updated since 2010. It has been kept online as a resource for teachers.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Blog Defunct

The Sun for 1st Grade

These students will understand basic relationships between the sun and earth.  They will learn that the sun is the source of energy and light and that it warms the land, air, and water.  Students will also be able to identify in which direction the sun rises and sets.  (VA SOL 1.6)


The Sun: Our Nearest Star
By:  Franklyn M. Branley and Edward Miller

006445202601lzzzzzzz.jpg This is a great educational book for younger children.  The pictures keep children interested and the content within is simple and informative.  There is information on the sun’s distance as well as energy that it provides.

The Sun is My Favorite Star
By: Frank Asch

sunfavorite.jpg This book follows the sun throughout the course of the day.  The narrator discusses the sun’s location and mentions how shadows form.  This book is also good for young children because the content is simple and the narrator is a young child as well.

The Sun
By: Seymour Simon

sunseymoursimon.jpg The best part about this book is the pictures.  These amazing detailed images give students the real thing and it provides them with more of an appreciation for how amazing the sun is compared to a drawing.

Sun Up, Sun Down
By: Gail Gibbons

gail.jpg This is a very simple book that provides basic information.  I would recommend using this book at the beginning of the lesson due to its simplicity.

Done in the Sun: Solar Projects for Children
By: Anne Hillerman
Illustrated by Mina Yamashita

donesun.jpeg This book is different from the others because it contains hands on activities for students regarding solar energy.  It is neat because these experiments and activities in the book can be completed in the classroom or at home.

Web Annotations

Astronomy For Kids
This website has animations and games designed for students.  They will be able to see the sun in relationship to the earth and moon.

Energy From The Sun
This website contains three different activities that students can do in class with simple materials.

Jobs of the Sun
This link contains instructions on how to create a chart to show how the sun provides different uses for us as people.

Solar Hot Dog Cooker
This link provides pictures and instructions on how to use the suns energy to create a solar oven to cook hot dogs with.

Resources for Teachers

Graphing Sunspot Cycles
A lesson plan examining Sunspot cycles

Sun Books
Instructions on how to make flip books on the earth and sun

Sun Photos
Compare and contrast pictures of the sun over different periods of time

Posted in earth science, teaching, thematic book list | Comments Off on The Sun for 1st Grade

First Grade Addition and Subtraction

This resource set is geared toward teaching first grade addition and subtraction. Students can use various manipulatives and activities to help students understand the concepts of addition and subtraction and recall basic facts up to 10.

Text Annotations

1. Domino Addition Author: Lynette Long Illustrator: Gioia Fiammenghi

This book clearly enforces the concept of addition using dominoes. Teachers can guide the entire class or students can work individually to compute basic addition facts using the illustrated dominos.

2. Elevator Magic Author: Stuart J. Murphy Illustrator: G. Brian Karas

This book uses common daily activity to teach basic subtraction skills. The main character takes a ride on an elevator to various locations, and as he makes stops, teachers can work with students to compute subtraction equations.

3. The Hershey's Kisses Addition Book Author: Jerry Pallotta Illustrator: Rob Bolster
This children's book introduces simple addition concepts using Hershey kisses and miniature clowns.

4. Animals Onboard Author: Stuart J. Murphy Illustrator: R. W. Alley

This rhyming picture book tells a story including five simple addition problems that teachers can do with their students as they read aloud.

5.  A Collection for Kate Author: Barbara deRubertis Illustrator: Gioia Fiammenghi

Collection week at school has snuck up on Kate, and she has nothing ready to share with her classmates. She watches her classmates share their collections and counts their items in hopes that she can find enough of something to share. This is a great interactive story to read aloud to your students.

Web Annotations

1. Math is Fun: This website provides lesson reinforcement for both addition and subtraction. Students are provided with extra explanation on these mathematical concepts with this interactive website.

2. Cool Math 4 Kids: This website provides both lesson reinforcement and basic fact practice for students.

3. This website provides students with the opportunity to practice basic addition skills. Write how many worms are on two leaves, and how many together!

4. This website provides students with the opportunity to practice basic addition facts. The sumstacker game asks students to drag dies from stack to stack until the sums of each stack equal the sums given.

5. This fun game is sure to catch and keep students’ attention! Addition Eaters and Subtraction Eaters are two games where you eat the addition (or subtraction) problems if the sum (difference) is a given number.

Additional Resources
1. Popcorn Addition– Students match pieces of popcorn with addition equations to the popcorn box with the correct number. Great for centers!
2. Addition & Subtraction FIle Folder Game– Students match addition and subtraction equation feathers to the correctly numbered turkey. Great for centers!
3. Fact Family Activity– Interactive activity for students to explore fact families. Students cut out fact family roof pieces to glue on their houses and write the corresponding addition and subtraction equations on the house.
4. Breaking Numbers Apart– This introductory addition lesson introduces students to the beginning addition concept of breaking apart one number into two pieces to create equations.

Posted in math, teaching, thematic book list | Comments Off on First Grade Addition and Subtraction

Teaching Fractions in 3rd Grade

The topic chosen is Fractions, built with a 3rd grade class in mind.

Text Annotations

Full House: An Invitation to Fractions

Dayle Ann Dodds (Author), Abby Carter (Illustrator)

A fun introduction to fractions, good for reading to younger students, with lots of repetition so students can join in with the text.  A story about a woman running an inn, which teaches about fractions in how she divides the rooms and desert for her guests.

Polar bear math : learning about fractions from Klondike and Snow by Ann Whitehead and Cindy Bickel.

Polar Bear Math follows two cubs, Klondike and Snow, who grow up in the Denver Zoo, all the while using their lives as material for lessons about fractions. For every page of story about the bear cubs there is a page containing a math lesson.  The lessons, vary from simple fraction, numerators and denominators, and comparing births. A lot of the lessons deal with the polar bear's growth rates, and mixing their formula with milk.

Apple fractions by Jerry Pallotta ; illustrated by Rob Bolster.

Apple fractions is a book that takes the time honored tradition of teaching with fractions and uses something as healthy as an apple instead of m&ms or jolly ranchers.  In the book, a group of elves show the readers how to divide apples into halves, thirds, fourths, etc.  At the same time, it teaches about different types of apples (golden delicious, granny smith, and so on).  The book is better served as an introduction to fractions than anything, as it will be too simple for higher level fraction users.

Funny & fabulous fraction stories : 30 reproducible math tales and problems to reinforce important fraction skills by Dan Greenberg.

Funny and Fabulous Fraction Stories is a great book for, as the subtitle says, reinforcing fraction skills.  Each page has a humorous introduction followed by either word problems or simple equations. Much of the book is a built as a workbook, but the contents can be used for students working with fractions for the first time as well as older students who need review and enrichment.

Hershey’s milk chocolate bar fractions book by Jerry Pallotta ; illustrated by Robert Bolster.

A good book for not only introducing fractions, but also for dealing with addition and subtraction.  It is good for beginners, but can also be easily adapted for use with older children by including mixed numbers, writing fractions in
simplest form, and even decimals/percentages.  And in case chocolate bars are too much candy or are melting, the book includes a cutout for manipulation.


Concentration – A game of memory, for one or two players, where you have to match different depictions of numbers.  There are different levels to choose from, one of which is fractions.  Match numbers, shapes, fractions, or multiplication facts to equivalent representations. The game can be used to practice facts by using the clear pane mode, or for an added challenge, play the game with the windows closed.

Melvin's Make a Match – A game of matching visual fraction models with their numerical counterparts.  The player chooses two potion bottles and Melvin the wizard lets them know if they got it right or not.   There is a hint button that guides students how to play, instead of giving them clues about the right answer.

Pizza Party – A 10 question, single player online multiple choice game that uses the classic "pizza pie" model for visualizing fractions.  Even though it is likely that this model is not the best for representing fractions, it is still ubiquitously used in the class as well as SOL tests.  So this game is a good review for visualizing fractions that's Soccer Shootout – A two player, competitive fraction quiz based on taking "shots on goal" by solving fraction addition and subtraction problems with like and unlike numerators and denominators.  The answers given need to be reduced to the simplest possible fraction or the answer is marked as incorrect.

Additional Resources

Fraction Webquest –  Created by Kim Daniels, Julia Johnson, and Caitlin Haney

A webquest that invites students to act as mayor of a small town, helping the citizens solve their problems using fractions.  There are 4 specific tasks in the webquest, which would be best done over two or three days.

Fractions – SMARTboard Activity by N. Dickson.  A 12 page SMART Notebook Lesson that contains various types of fraction practice for beginning learners of fractions (grades 1-3).   Requires SMARTboard and corresponding software.

Equivalent Fractions Video – a short (3:41) video lesson discussing equivalent fractions.  Requires Audio.  A great resource for review, or makeup (for instance if a student is absent when equivalent fractions are introduced).

Fractions PowerPoint – by Lucy Rodriguez – A 13 page powerpoint lesson that explains fractions using various models (including fraction strips, number lines, etc.  Also contains links to different activities.  Note – There are, among other things, two fraction powerpoints on the link below.  Choose the one by Rodriguez.

Fractions Basics Proper Improper Mixed Math Learning Upgrade

A cute, short (1:35) video that goes with an equally cute reggae song about fractions, which teaches about numerators, denominators, and the difference between Proper and Improper Fractions.

Posted in math, resource links, teaching | Comments Off on Teaching Fractions in 3rd Grade

Instructional Resource Set: Geometry

This blog focuses on the Virginia Math SOL 3.14 that covers a portion of the geometry unit taught in the third grade.  Students will become familiar with plane and solid geometric figures and their specific characteristics.  You find included below several books that would be a good addition to this unit, some good websites that students can access to deepen their understanding of geometric shapes, and some resources that will be helpful to the classroom teacher.The following are excellent books to incorporate into the lessons on geometry:

  • The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns and illustrated by Gordon Silveria.  Burns creates a main character that is a friendly triangle that decides life would be better if he had more sides and angles.  He continually changes into new shapes, until he becomes very big and almost round.  He finally decides what will make him happy is to go back to being a triangle.
  • Captain Invincible and the Space Shapes by Stuart J. Murphy and illustrated by Remy Simard.  Murphy takes readers through the adventures of Captain Invincible and his space dog, Comet.  As they make their way back to earth, they ward off a meteor shower, poisonous gas cloud, a flying saucer, and a galactic beast with their multitude of space gadgets that are made out of solid geometric shapes.
  • Finding Shapes with Sebastian Pig and Friends at the Museum by Jill Anderson and illustrated by Amy Huntington. Sebastian and his friends are on a search in the museum to find art ideas that will help them decorate his new bedroom.  They find all kinds of artwork that includes plane and solid shapes. Anderson includes a nice graph of the shapes which includes a drawing, description, number of sides, and number of corners of each specific shape. Although this book is a bit on the juvenile side, it is still engaging and may be a good resource for the weaker readers in the class.
  • Sir Cumference and the First Round Table and Sir Cumference and the Sword in the Cone by Cindy Neuschwander and illustrated by Wayne Geehan.  These are two books in the series by Neuschwander that is set in the era of Camelot.  Sir Cumference is continually challenged with situations that require him and Lady Di of Ameter to use various skills.  During their adventures various geometric shapes are discovered in ordinary items around them, giving readers a good review of the characteristics of these shapes.
  • Geometry by Lucille Caron and Philip M. St. Jacques. Caron and St. Jacques walk the reader through a great deal of information about geometric shapes and vocabulary.  The information is clear and succinct, yet very informative.   Although this is not a literature book, I recommend it be included in the resource set because it is a good differentiation tool.  More advanced students who desire to dig deeper into the study of geometry may enjoy the challenge of this book, and students will find it to be an easy accessible resource book for any type of research on geometry in grades 3-5.

Students may enjoy utilizing the following sites throughout this study:

  • PBS Cyberchase On-line Tangram Games are quite user friendly. Students are on a page that displays a shape (i.e. a rabbit) which they are to create using the tangram pieces provided.  The game includes tools to rotate the pieces and move them into place.  This will be most helpful once the students have had exposure and experience working with actual tangram pieces.
  • Investigating the Concept of Triangle and the Properties of Polygons: Making Triangles is a site with interactive geoboards to help students identify simple geometric shapes, describe their properties, and develop spatial sense.
  • Polygons Around a Point is an on-line game that allows the student to use regular polygons to surround a point in a plane.  He/she will be able to make designs and decide how to best cover a surface by using regular polygons.
  • Tangrams on-line is another fun tangram puzzle site that allows students to choose various puzzles to solve with tangrams.
  • This on-line shapes matching memory game is a good level for students who are in the beginning stage of geometry and learning their plane shapes.

Teacher Resources:

  • MathSteps “Identifying and Classifying Polygons” is a good lesson plan with several pages of work that walks you through introducing and developing the concepts.
  • The Educator’s Reference Desk website offers a lesson on the beloved book by Marilyn Burns, The Greedy Triangle.  The lesson also incorporates the use of geoboards with the students, which is always a fun activity.
  • This lesson plan will have students act and think like architects as they team up to build their dream home with plane and solid shapes that they create.
  • Nancy Powell’s Web Pages have many good ideas for SmartBoards. This link is specifically to her geometry page, but you may want to look through the rest of her site for good ideas in other areas too!

Posted in activities/experiments, book review, math | Comments Off on Instructional Resource Set: Geometry

Math Instruction for Second Grade Addition and Subtraction


Once students have had success with number sense and concept of number in grades K and 1, it is time to introduce addition and subtraction.  The VA SOL for thread 2.5, states the students will recall addition facts with sums to 20 or less and the corresponding subtraction facts.  It is important that both addition and subtraction are taught together to help students learn the concepts and understand the process rather than just producing an answer without an understanding of why it works this way.  This setup and delivery of this skill is vital to the future success of any student in the undertaking of more challenging math concepts in the future.

Text Annotations:


 Addition Annie

Author: David Gisler

Illustrated by: Sarah A. Beise

In this short story Annie likes to count and counts everything in sight.  Each page of the book is a math problem involving addition problems using numbers under 10.  The back of the book contains a word bank totaling 30 commonly used words for this specific age group.  This book would be best suited for children at the end of first grade who possess strong math ability or students entering second grade.


 The Hershey Kisses Addition Book

Author: Jerry Pallotta

Illustrated by: Rob Bolster

With this delicious book, the reader will find themselves surrounded by chocolate math problems.  In addition, there is a little history about the creation of the Hershey’s Kiss.  The book continues with a discussion of addition vocabulary, the commutative property, and some of the basic rules of addition.  Towards the end of the book, it starts to delve into adding three numbers and basic subtraction which would be an attempt to persuade the reader to read the next book in the series regarding subtraction.  This book is suited for any child learning about the addition process and would be a complementary activity within the days lesson discussing addition.


Math Fables

Author: Greg Tang

Illustrated by: Heather Cahoon

In Greg Tang’s Math Fables, Tang uses poems to paint pictures of stories that include math problems.  While the addition in this book is basic, yet appropriate to this SOL, it utilizes numbers under 10, the message sent to the reader is loud and clear.  By the end of the book he includes some information on higher math discovering addend combination that equal 10.  This is a wonderfully illustrated book that the children will enjoy reading in groups or independently.




Math Fables Too

Author: Greg Tang

Illustrated by: Taia Morley

This is the second book of the addition series from author Greg Tang.  This book incorporates the same poetic verse that includes math addition problems within the poem.  The addition problems themselves are at a beginner level but are still good examples of the addition process.  Like all other Tang books, the illustrations are brightly colored and are a lot of fun for all ages to enjoy.  In the back of this book, Tang includes some animal facts regarding the animals within this book, thus providing some cross curricular study in animal science.


Subtraction Action

Author/ Illustrator: Loreen Leedy

This book involves subtraction problems that the characters of this book require solving while attending a school fair.  The teacher in the story, Miss Prime, shows the students how useful the ability to perform real world yet fictional subtraction type problems.  The book is best suited for students towards the middle to end of second grade.  Later in the book, some of the problems do involve regrouping and some money (decimals) problems which might be a challenge for beginner students learning about subtraction.  The book has an answer key and provides a short explanation behind the answers to the problems it asks throughout the story.


Web Annotations


In this website from, the game is titled Math Mayhem and is a speed challenge with other Internet players in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.


This website from is an addition game called MATHO that is a timed exercise that is fun for kids.  When the questions are answered correctly, pictures are revealed.


Also from is a subtraction game titled Hidden Picture.  In this game the goal is to answer the subtraction questions correctly to identify the picture behind the answer tiles.


This website asks the question, “Are you a Math Magician?“.  The player is assigned to complete 20 math problems as fast as they can.

Cool Math Games has a game titled Feed Fribbit Addition and Feed Fribbit Subtraction.  This takes some hand eye coordination but is fun to play.  Fribbit is hungry and needs flies marked with the answers to math questions.  The object is to get Fribbit to eat the fly with the correct piece of the problem.

 Additional Resources

Tina Cho has created a lesson titled Candy Corn Subtraction and in the lesson, she has the kids complete subtraction problems using the segments of the candy corn.  She provides the candy corn templates and the instructions to go along with it.  This lesson can be used in the fall season around Halloween, or certain can be used any time of the year.  What child doesn’t like candy corn?

From the site, William L. Gaslin, Charles Lund, & Martin M. Gaslin have provided an example of addition and subtraction problems from a deck of cards.  The web page is titled Disclose.  This card activity can be differentiated for those that need additional assistance or for students that work better in homogeneous groups.  It can also be played with two players or running through the deck a student can practice basic facts.  The website provides a printable deck of cards if you do not already have one. has a page titled, Max’s Math: Card Castle Adventures and the lesson idea involves using a rhyming poem to answer basic math facts.  The site is flexible as it includes audio of the poems that the teacher can let the students listen to.  The site also provides a printable version as well.  This will accommodate auditory and visual learners alike.

Another page titled,  Addition Facts provides a lesson activity focusing on the commutative property of addition and subtraction.  The focus is to teach addition and subtraction together as opposed to teaching them seperately.


Posted in book review, math | Comments Off on Math Instruction for Second Grade Addition and Subtraction

Counting Money: Second Grade

Throughout the elementary grades, students learn to work with and manage money. In second grade, the relevant money concepts are addressed in Standard of Learning 2.11. In this SOL, students should learn to count and compare a collection of quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies whose total is $2.00 or less. Along with that, students should understand that different coin combinations can be used to make equal amounts. They should also learn about the correct usage of money symbols throughout this unit.



The Penny Pot by Stuart Murphy, Illustrated by Lynn Cravath

In The Penny Pot, the students are getting their faces painted at the school fair and Jessie wants to join in on the fun. She has a problem though – it costs 50 cents to get your face painted, and she only has 39 cents! At the table, there is a penny pot where students put their extra change, so Jessie waits and counts the extra change until she has enough money to get her face painted. This is a great book to help students visualize counting money. The pictures of the coins are authentic looking and will translate well to classroom activities with money.


The Big Buck Adventure by Shelley Gill and Deborah Tobola, Illustrated by Grace Lin

In The Big Buck Adventure, a young girl receives a dollar allowance from her dad and is dropped off at a store with hopes to spend her new money. The book explores several different ways that she could spend her money. Each combination of items is described in poem form and the pictures show the objects clearly marked with price tags. This is an effective way for students to see the use of money and prices in real life.


Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst, Illustrated by Ray Cruz

Alexander's grandparents gave him a dollar last Sunday, and he quickly realizes that he can spend that dollar in many different ways! The book Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday is a great way to show students how money that is spent is subtracted from the total amount. There are several fantastic lesson plans to go along with this book.


Pigs Will be Pigs by Amy Axelrod, Illustrated by Sharon McGinley

 After finishing off all of their groceries, Mr.Pig, Mrs.Pig, and their two piglets are still hungry but their piggy bank is empty – how will they be able to buy more food? They decide to hunt for their money around the house. Readers of Pigs Will Be Pigs are invited to count along as the pigs find money throughout the rooms of the house. In the end, the money is totaled and the pig family travels to a Mexican restaurant to eat. This book is fitting to the SOL because the students are able to watch the totals change as money is added, as well as look at the menu at the restaurant to see how it is spent.


How the Second Grade Got $8,205.50 to Visit the Statue of Liberty by Nathan Zimelman, Illustrated by Bill Slavin

 Students at Newton Barnaby School are on a mission – to fund a field trip to the Statue of Liberty. The second grade students in How the Second Grade Got $8,205.50 to Visit the Statue of Liberty embark on all sorts of projects to raise money – lemonade stand, car wash, candy sale, etc. As readers, students are able to follow the second grade class' journey and help total the money that the class is raising.


  • In the Dollar Store Game, students are told that they are buying different items from the dollar store – everything is a dollar or less! They are given an item that they need to pay for, and then using the variety of coins on the lefthand side, they must drag the correct amount to the cashier at the bottom of the screen.
  • In the Counting Money game, students are presented with a line of coins, including quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. As quick as they can, they must count the coins, add up the value, and type it into the box. They can then check their own answers by clicking on the "Check" button.
  • The game Piggy Bank is another way to reinforce students understanding that different coin combinations can be used to make equal values. Students are given a certain monetary amount and then as coins are dropped into a grid, students click on the coins they want to use to make that amount.
  • In this lunch food game, students are given a menu with different food items. They are then told how much a certain item is and must drag the right amount of money, in coin form, to the checkout in order to pay for their food.
  • In this interactive coin game, the students are given a money total at the top of screen. They then must drag a combination of coins to the top of the chute. As the coins roll down the chute into the jar, the students can watch the value increase until they have made the correct amount.

Additional Resources

  • This literature site details specific ways to integrate childrens books into math lessons, and more specifically into the study of money in the lower elementary grades. The site gives 8 examples of books related to money and then provides activities and ideas for lessons to go along with those books.
  • Money Money is a set of 11 lesson plans that essentially outlines the unit of exploring coins and money in the second grade. The lessons focus on the objectives that students will be able to identify coins, coin values, and the concept that equal amounts can be reached through different coin combinations. It includes a variety of types of lessons, many that are based on children's literature and that are very interactive.
  • The game Clean Up the Money uses a 24-space game board, which the players fill in with 6 nickels, 6 pennies, 6 dimes, and 6 quarters. Then they roll two dice to get an ordered pair. Whatever coin is on that ordered pair, they take and put in a pile. At the end of the game, the students must count their money to find a winner. The great thing about this game is that students will get lots of different coin combinations and it is a great way to integrate ordered pairs into another math concept.
  • The U.S. Mint website is chock full of lesson plans and information regarding coins, the history of money, and how money has changed over time. The lesson plans are sorted both by grade and by subject, and there are some great 2nd grade ones about counting money and making different combinations of coins.
Posted in math, resource links, teaching | Comments Off on Counting Money: Second Grade

Fraction Action



Students in third and fourth grade begin to explore the use of fractions in mathematics.  Students will recognize the numerator and the denominator, and understand how to compare different fractions. In third grade, the focus will be on fractions with “like” denominators, and they will move on to “un-like” denominators in fourth grade. Students will add and subtract fractions with denominators up to 12, and learn how to simplify fractions, as well as recognize equivalent fractions

Text Sources


Apple Fractions by Jerry Pallotta

This is a great book for students just learning to recognize and comprehend fractions. Pallotta uses an apple cut up by tiny elves to show halves, thirds, fourths, etc. Students see the differentsizes of fractions in a common and recognizable object, an apple. Though it may not be possible to do in a classroom, it is a great hands-on experience to have students cut an apple (with adult supervision) to match the fractions in the book.


Working with Fractions by David A. Adler

This is a wonderful book to read to a class to learn about different fraction concepts. The brilliant illustrations will keep students interested as fractions are thoroughly discussed. Adler does not only use concrete objects like a cake or pizza, but also includes situations such as music chairs: if you are playing musical chairs with 7 people, and 5 people sit down, then 5/7 of the children are sitting down. The book discusses the way fractions can be found everywhere.


Fraction Fun by David A. Adler

Fraction Fun is a great introductory book. Adler includes equivalent fractions and even adding fractions. Adler includes hands on activities, and his illustrations put students at ease with the new math. Students will compare fractions and see how fractions be equal, less than, or greater than other fractions.


Whole-y Cow: Fractions are Fun by Taryn Souders

This book keeps students engaged without realizing how much they’re learning. Silly illustrations fill the pages, as well as math riddles. Students will try to help the cow figure out math problems, and will discover a love for math along the way. This story can be read to children as young as five, but older students will still enjoy working on the math problems inside.


Give me Half! by Stuart J. Murphy

Murphy’s story is great for any students who’ve ever tried to share food with their siblings or friends. Following a brother and sister as they try to share their snacks, students are introduced to different fractions (because no one wants to split evenly!) They learn about equivalent fractions, and are introduced to the word “divide.” Murphy shows some equations such as: 1/2 + 1/2 = 1.

Web Sources

Identifying Fractions

This is a simple online activity for students who are just starting to learn fractions. Set up as an interactive quiz, the site shows students a bar with a portion colored in. Students will type in the correct fraction, and click ok. If they are correct, the quiz will move on to a new example. If they are incorrect, they will be told that their response was “too big” or “too small.” On the bottom of the page, it gives students instructions, as well as a brief overview of fractions. It identifies the numerator and denominator, and shows how to type the fraction into the quiz.


Balloon Pop Math

This fun site sets up fractions as a game. Balloons come onto the screen, and each balloon has a fraction and a model on it. Students must pop the balloon in order from smallest to greatest. This is a great opportunity to think on their feet.  The site is very easy to use, and the game has three levels, so students can be challenged if they are ready.

Comparing Fractions

This sight helps students practice the greater than, less than, and equal sign. Students must compare fractions and use multiple choice answers to decide if the fractions are equivalent or not. The site uses small fractions, and is very easy for students to understand. This could be used as an assessment, a homework assignment, or practice.


Fun with Fractions and Decimals

This is a fun start for students who are transitioning from fractions to decimals. Set up like the classic board game Shoots and Ladders, students must use multiple choice answers to convert a fraction into decimal form. If they get the answer right, they can “roll the dice” and move on the board. Just like shoots and ladders, they might move up a later, or risk sliding down a shoot. It’s an exciting and interactive way for students to practice math. It can even be used as partner game.

Kids and Cookies

One of my personal favorite resources for kids. This game allows students to pick how many cookies to have, and how many friends. Then, they must divide the cookies evenly between friends. The cookies do not always split up evenly, so students have cookie cutters with various fraction bars to cut the cookies up. It surprisingly involves a lot of critical thinking, as students have to decide how many cookies it is necessary to cut up. It allows the student a lot of freedom as they practice fractions.

Teacher Resources

Funny and Fabulous Fraction Stories by Dan Greenberg

This book is full of math stories and problems that students will love. The reproducibles are perfect for students in third or fourth grade who are learning to recognize fractions and use them in equations. There are worksheets, stories, and lessons for teachers to use with their class. The book is an incredible resource for teachers of many grades.


Pizza Fraction Fun Game

A great game to have in the classroom. There are seven games included in this set, all involving the introduction of fractions. It can be used for many different levels and skills. It is a great way to use such a recognizable thing like pizza without having to bring food into the classroom.

Fraction Tiles

This is a staple need for every math classroom. Fraction tiles are great to have because students can move them around and compare their physical sizes as they do math problems including fractions.  fraction_strips.jpg

Fraction Pie Puzzles

Another great activity for teachers to have available in their classroom. These puzzles have four circles that can be filled in with any pie slices – the trick is to use the correct fractions. Students will need to understand equivalent fractions, and they can practice their addition as they predict which fractions will complete the puzzle.

Posted in math, resource links, teaching | Comments Off on Fraction Action

Third Grade Fractions

This blog post addresses books, websites and additional resources that align with the third grade standard of learning 3.3. In this SOL, students should learn how to divide up objects and sets to represent fractions and mixed numbers and write the names of fractions and mixed numbers. Additionally, students should compare fractions using the greater than, less than or equal to signs. Many of the books on fractions are intended as a review, or an introduction to a fraction lesson, while the additional resources and websites tend to be more complex and focus on more difficult fractions. Books 


Apple Fractions

By Jerry Pallotta and Illustrated by Rob Bolster

Apple Fractions introduces students to the world of fractions through a simple visual tool, the apple. This book discusses fractions based around dividing an apple up into eight parts. It uses and mentions specific apple types (like Golden Delicious and GrannySmith) in its realistic illustrations. This book is a simple way for students to understand beginning fractions like 1/2, 1/4, 1/6 and so on.


The Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar Fraction Book

By Jerry Pallotta and Illustrated by Rob Bolster

This book, written and illustrated by the same people who brought you Apple Fractions, uses a Hershey’s chocolate bar as a template for learning fractions. Hershey’s bars make for an easy fractions lesson because they come already divided up into 12 parts. This book compares various twelfths to the whole bar and even introduces beginning fraction adding and subtracting. This book would be a great resources for a classroom because, like the Apple Fractions book, this book could easily turn into a classroom activity using the same manipulative that the book uses (a candy bar, or an apple).


Eating Fractions

By Bruce McMillan

Eating Fractions takes the concept of using food to discuss fractions a step further in that it uses a variety of different foods that students could encounter throughout the day. This book is unique in that it is a departure from the standard pizza or pie fraction model and instead uses foods like corn, bananas and other non-standard fraction shapes. Through his photographs, McMillan demonstrates halves, thirds and fourths in a simple, fun and easy to understand layout and storyline.


Fraction Action

By Loreen Leedy

Fraction Action describes a teacher teaching her classroom about introductory fractions. Students learn about basic fractions like 1/2, 1/3 and 1/4 using drawings of pies and pizzas, but the unique thing about this book is that it also addresses part of a set fractions. Students learn along with the class of children (animals) in Fraction Action which combines humor, a few do it yourself problems and fun illustrations to explain basic fractions.


Fraction Fun

By David A. Adler and Illustrated by Nancy Tobin

Fraction Fun is more explanatory than most fraction books. It provides an easy to understand definition of fractions and explains it using the typical pizza explanation, but diverts from that visual by also discussing coins and their fractional values in terms of weight and monetary value. This book is therefore intended for an older audience who would have some knowledge of weights and money, but could easily be understood, and enjoyed, by most third graders because of the simple explanations and fun illustrations.


Mrs. Thonus’ Third Grade Stars- Fraction Fun

This website, designed and produced by a third grade teacher, provides fun websites and activities for students who are learning about fractions. She provides a link to a powerpoint about fractions and links to some online fraction games. These links cover a range of fraction topics such as identifying and naming fractions, comparing fractions and beginning adding fractions. This websites is very clear and easy to navigate and would be perfect for students looking for fraction activities to do online.

Fractions by Zeebo

Zeebo is a little circle fraction drawing who explains fractions to students through his website.  This website includes sections like “fractions, what are they?”, “fractions, mixed numbers”, “fractions, equivalent fractions” and many more sections icnreasing in difficulty. The first section, “fractions, what are they?” would be best for most third grade students, but the varying levels of difficulty on this site would be a good tool for differentiation. In the different sections Zeebo uses simple geometric graphics to explain the topic and asks students comprehension questions about the information that he has presented. This site is easy to navigate and provides excellent explanations of a sometimes tricky topic.

Kids Konnect Fractions

This website provides links to a plethora of fraction information and games. Topics on the site include fractions tutorials, Egyptian fractions, fraction games about pizza, soccer, shapes, cookies and much more. For older or more advanced students, the site has information on comparing and changing fractions to decimals. This website would be an excellent classroom resource because there are so many activities and online lessons for students to explore all from one centralized site. This site may be overwhelming though, so any student navigation of this site should be teacher led and guided.

Kids Online Resources- Fractions

This website is more of an online activity than an informational site. Students click on subsections like “what is a fraction?”, “fraction practice” and “equivalent fractions”. This website goes into more difficult fractions like fifths and sixths, in addition to the basic halves thirds and fourths. Students can do a tutorial about fractions and then practice their knowledge through an exploration of equivalent geometric shapes. This site uses bright colors, sounds and moving shapes to make learning about fractions interactive and fun.

BBC Bitesize Fractions

This website, produced by the BBC, explains the concept of a fraction through words, pictures and numbers. It discusses equivalent fractions, converting fractions to decimals (for the older students), comparing fractions and improper and mixed fractions. There is also a fraction game that asks students to compare fractions with different denominators by ordering them in size, a game where students can create and play with making their own fractions of a cylinder, and a fractions quiz where students can test what they have just learned.

Additional Resources

Vector Kids Fractions

This game asks students to name the fraction represented by a piece of pie. This game is a fun way for students to practice naming fractions; it provides supports and scaffolds for students who may need extra help by providing a simple picture and by giving students the total number of pieces to keep students from having to do too much counting and possibly getting confused.


Funny and Fabulous Fraction Stories

By Dan Greenburg and Jared Lee

This book uses humorous stories to introduce students to identifying and manipulating fractions. Some of the material in this book may be too complex for third grade students, such as the stories about changing fractions to decimals, adding, subtracting and dividing fractions and ratios of fractions. Many of the stories, however, are basic enough to be good for reinforcing students’ comfort with fractions. This book is a great way to learn across the curriculum since it combines funny and entertaining stories with math problems that students can do individually or as a class.


Pizza Fraction Fun Game

By Learning Resources

This kit comes with cardboard pizzas cut into slices to use as manipulatives in a variety of provided games designed to get kids to create fractions, compare equivalent fractions and beginning adding fractions.  The pizzas are realistic and the games are easily adaptable for a many skill and grade levels so that this resource can be used over and over again as students learn more about fractions.

Shepherd Software Matching FractionsThis game asks students to match a written fraction with a picture and vice versa. It gets students to practice both naming and identifying fractions. The levels go up in difficulty from basic fractions like 1/2 and 1/5 to more difficult fractions like 7/8 to mixed fractions like 2 1/2. The simple graphics and clear directions make this a good activity for students to do as part of a center or on their own time.

Posted in book review, math | Comments Off on Third Grade Fractions

The Exciting World of Fractions (Instructional Resource Set)



This instructional resource set was developed to meet the criteria of Virginia Standard of Learning 2.3.  This number and number sense math Standard of Learning states that second grade students will identify the part of a set and/or region that represents fractions for one-half, one-third, one-fourth, one-eighth, and one-tenth, and write the corresponding fraction.  Although this instructional resource set was designed for a second grade unit on fractions, it can be adapted for first and third grades as well.

Below you will find information regarding the 5  books I thought were best to help kids understand this wacky world of fractions, as well as some great online resources for students that will allow them to further explore this topic.  This blog also contains additional resources for supporting instruction.  You will find songs, videos, links to websites, sample lesson plans, and more!  Check out each link and enjoy!

Text Annotations


Fraction Fun by David A. Adler and illustrated by Nancy Tobin contains colorful, fun, and informative illustrations all the while providing a clear and concise definition of what a fraction is – it is part of something else, part of a whole!  This book uses the whole pizzas and individual slices to demonstrate the different aspects of a fraction, namely the numerator and the denominator.  When you are using this book in a lesson or a unit, read it on a “Pizza Friday” when the kids can reference the examples first hand – and enjoy the yummy side of fractions!


Apple Fractions by Jerry Pallotta and illustrated by Rob Bolster directly corresponds to the portion of the SOL about fractions as part of a whole.  Bolster’s illustrations of pieces of apples throughout the book serve as a great model of a fraction in a real life setting.  The best part about this book, other than the fun elves found chopping up the apples, is the fact that it shows the fraction in number form as well as written out in a complete word.  I love that students will be able to see 1/2, relate it to the word “one-half” and understand what that concept means. 


Piece, Part, Portion by Scott Gifford and illustrated by Shmuel Thaler is a 3 for 1 book.  This book touches on fractions, decimals, and percents – a must-have for elementary classrooms!  The text and illustrations in Piece, Part, Portion, wonderfully demonstrate that each of those three mathematical ideas describes the same concept: they are all part of a larger whole.  This book also provides examples of how we use fractions in everyday life and just don’t realize it.  Ask your kids if they agree that one shoe is 1/2 of a pair of shoes.  If they are hesitant or resistant to that idea, flip through the book to show them the example in the text!  Although parts of this book may be better understood in a 3rd grade classroom, it still serves as a great instructional tool!


If you are wondering how to introduce fractions to your second grade class, look no further!  The expert teaching of Mrs. Prime, the friendly hippopotamus in the book Fraction Action by Loreen Leedy, serves as a great help!  Mrs. Prime teaches fractions to her class, a bubbly group of fun animals by cutting a sandwich in half, selling lemonade,  and using other real life applications of food, art, and everyday objects.  For a class of active kids, animal lovers, or students who want to learn fractions, this book is perfect!


The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins will make your students hungry for more information about fractions!  This cute book depicts a make-believe story about a mother, adorable referred to as Ma, who makes a dozen cookies for her two kids.  Ma’s kids are thrilled when they smell and see the cookies because they think they get to eat all twelve cookies.  As soon as the kids can share that thought, the doorbell rings and a friend comes over.  Ma offers cookies to all three of the kids, but, as soon as she puts the plate on the table, the doorbell rings again and more kids come over!  This pattern continues until there is one cookie left.  The kids decide to split the remaining cookie in half because they decide that is the most fair way to split up the treat.  Check out this mouth-watering book for more fun situations involving fractions!

Web Annotations – Let your students check out these interactive websites!

Fishy Fractions is a great interactive game with catchy music that centers around a pelican eating surprises out of the ocean in the shapes of fish, circles, and other objects.  Students will have to match fractions or pie graphs to the written name or the correct mathematical representation of a fraction.

This Red Fish Fraction Introduction video does a great job of slowly, accurately, and creatively introducing the basic parts of a fraction!  I would suggest students watch this short minute and thirty second clip at the beginning of their fraction unit.

This Jamaican Jam Session Cartoon video uses pie to explain that each part of a pie is part of a fraction.  Our fun eclectic singer explains that a fraction has a denominator that goes beneath the line and the denominator, in the case of this video, shows how many slices the whole pie contains.  Our friend goes further to explain that a fraction also has a numerator and the numerator goes about the line.  In the case of the Jamaican Jam Session video, the singer explains that the numerator represents the number of slices he has.  This mesmerizing video will have you singing about fractions all day!

Fraction Flags  is an online website that lets kids, especially artists, flourish and express their creativity.  Who ever said fractions couldn’t be fun to learn about?  This website allows kids to draw and design different flags using different combinations of halves and quarters.

The Naming Fractions interactive game shows pictures of different shaded shapes and lets the students fill in the numerator and denominator!  This game is a great way for students to see where they are in their knowledge of fractions.

Additional Resources – Teachers, check out these resources!

This Fraction Activity  online game can be used by students or teachers!  If you have access to a SmartBoard I would suggest using this game in the classroom as an introduction to fractions.  Each student can come up and insert numbers from a small bank of numbers to create a new fraction.  Students can choose to have their fractions represented by pizza, numbers of people, gallons of water, or a chocolate bar.  This is a great hands on activity to get the kids up and moving, and most importantly, understanding that fractions represent part of a portion or part of a whole.

This Cookie Fraction lesson plan is designed as an activity to follow the reading of The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins.  Not only does this lesson provide kids with a hand on experience to different fractions, namely halves, thirds, fourths, eights, and tenths, this lesson also fosters group work and cooperation.

Still hungry for more fractions?  This Fraction Pizza lesson plan can serve as a great follow up to a few of the previously mentioned books that incorporated pizza in their illustrations.  This lesson plan can also be great for teaching an introduction about adding and subtracting fractions with like denominators.

This M & M’s lesson plan  is designed to improve students’ understanding of fractions by using the tasty candy M & M’s.  In this lesson, students will sort their candy by color, and then write out, both long hand and numerically, the fraction that represents how many of their M & M’s are that color.  This lesson is a fun way to help students understand what fractions are and how to use them.

Posted in book review, math | Comments Off on The Exciting World of Fractions (Instructional Resource Set)