Monthly Archive for April, 2010

Teaching 3rd grade Math: Fractions

The following resources can help in teaching fractions to elementary students. The books and the other resources are a good way to help make learning math fun.

Give Me Half
written by Stuart Murphy
illustrated by G. Brian Karas


Splitting things in half may seem like an easy thing to do, but when two siblings and a pizza are involved, things can get messy. Children learn about fractions at school but fractions are also an important part of everyday life outside the classroom.

Fraction Action
written and illustrated by Loreen Leedy


This picture book presents math concepts through five brief chapters. Leedy makes it easy for children to visualize what is meant by the various amounts. Subjects tackled include basic fractions, sets, dividing objects into equal parts and subtracting and comparing the value of fractions. With mini math problems and answers and large doses of humor worked into the text, this classroom-oriented book adds up to a lot of instructional fun.

Fraction Fun
written by David Adler
illustrated by Nancy Tobin


This simple, hands-on concept book is clear and concise. The simple definition of a fraction, that it is a part of something, introduces a pizza pie that is divided, studied, compared, and, of course, eaten. Weighing coins determines how many make one ounce, and what the fractional value of each coin is. The cartoon illustrations are colorful, whimsical, and humorous; they also make the concepts clear.

Polar Bear Math
written by Ann Whitehead Nagda and Cindy Bickel


In this book children learn about fractions while following the Denver Zoo’s baby polar bears, Klondike and Snow. The right-hand pages tell the story of Snow and Klondike, with full-color photos showing how zoo personnel raised them from newborns until their first birthday. On each left-hand page, a lesson on fractions incorporates data about the animals. The explanations, which combine text with pictographs, are clear and well formulated. The first lesson, for example, defines fractions and their parts, and compares the one-third of polar bear mothers that have twins with the two-thirds that have single births. Other lessons deal with preparing formula for the cubs, milk consumption, hours in a day, and polar bear weight.

The Doorbell Rang
written and illustrated by Pat Hutchins


As Victoria and Sam are sitting down to a plateful of a dozen of Ma’s cookies the doorbell rings, and two of their friends arrive to share. Just as they have the cookies all divided, the doorbell rings again and again and each time the number of cookies per person dwindles until at last there is only one cookie per person and . . . the doorbell rings again! (Luckily, it’s Grandma arriving with reinforcements.)

Web Sites for Kids on Fractions

  • Fishy Fractions – Just hit “start activity” to begin helping Ulani the hungry pelican. Help her catch some fish by selecting the correct answer and watch her swoop into the water to eat the fish. You have to be careful to make sure Ulani doesn’t fly into one of the obstacles or you will lose points.
  • Bug Splat – In this game you must add the fractions together, if you get the incorrect answer the bugs will splat on the windshield.
  • Who Wants Pizza? – This site is a good place to go to refresh your memory on fractions or to learn about them for the first time. After an idea is taught there are a few questions to test your knowledge.
  • Cool Math 4 Kids – Here you can find 17 different lessons on fractions. Each lesson is full of bright colors and fun ways to learn. Cool Math for kids has pages for all of your math subjects. Don’t forget to move your mouse around and watch the numbers dance.
  • Math is Fun – Here is a good way to compare unit fractions. You will have a choice to use <=> to finish the problem.

Additional Resources

Teachers’ Domain
Teachers' Domain is an online library of more than 1,000 free media resources from the best in public television. These classroom resources, featuring media from NOVA, Frontline, Design Squad, American Experience, and other public broadcasting and content partners are easy to use and correlate to state and national standards. Resources include video and audio segments, Flash interactives, images, documents, lesson plans for teachers, and student-oriented activities. Once you register for free, you can personalize the site using "My Folders" and "My Groups" to save your favorite resources into a folder and share them with your colleagues or students.

Math Forum: Elementary School Teachers’ Place

The Math Forum is an online community of teachers, researchers, parents, educators, and citizens at all levels who have an interest in mathematics and math education. The Math Forum provides high quality content and useful features. You will find lesson plans, fun sites for kids, activities and projects, teacher to teacher ideas on how to teach mathematics, and so much more.

Super Teacher Worksheets

FREE Math Worksheets, Grammar Worksheets, Word Problems, Creative Writing Prompts, Holiday Word Search Puzzles, and More! This site has it all. There is also a link to other teacher resources that are wonderful too.

Teaching Economics with Children’s Literature: Max’s Bunny Business



Max’s Bunny Business is a very cute and fun way to help teach kids about buying things and earning money to pay for those things. This story follows Max the bunny and his friends as they scheme up ideas to earn enough money to buy a fire angle ring from their favorite store. Max and his friends do everything from selling lemonade to selling Halloween candy in an effort to earn enough money for the desired ring. However, a competition ends up occurring between Max and his friends when they don’t see eye to eye on business practices. As a result, only Max ends up with a fire angel ring because the store ran out of rings so this book could also help introduce the concept of supply and demand.

Curriculum Connections

This book could be used to satisfy VA SOLS K.7 (b). This strand requires that students recognize that people use money to purchase goods. This book would be fun to read prior to hosting an activity where students sell items to their classmates (using fake money of course!) or a classroom store is opened up. Another fun thing to do after reading this book would be to have students brainstorm different fun/odd jobs they could do to earn money.

Additional Resources

This website managed by Nick Jr. is all about the TV series Max & Ruby and the website features lots of online games, activity ideas, recipes, and TV clips. A great resource to accompany the book.

This webpage features several coloring pages that feature Max & Ruby!

This site provides lesson plans and activity ideas that incorporate the main characters from Max’s Bunny Business.

General Information

Book: Max’s Bunny Business
Author: Rosemary Wells
Illustrator:Rosemary Wells
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Publishing date: May 15, 2008
Pages: 32
Grade range: K-2
ISBN-10: 0670011053

Teaching Money with Children’s Literature


The resources that are listed below are great examples of materials that can be used in a second grade classroom for a unit on money.  The topics range from counting coin values,  to addition and subtraction of monetary values, and comparing monetary values. Included below are books that can be used in the classroom, places to find printable materials, and other sites where students can practice their money skills.

Text Annotations

1. Let’s Find Out About Money by Kathy Barabas, illustrations by David Swann


This book about money and the U.S. Mint captivates children’s curiosity about where money comes from.  It shows the reader the process of making money and the texts and photographers are extremely realistic.

2. Matthew and the Midnight Money Van by Allen Morgan, illustrations by Michael Martchenko


This story is about a boy named Matthew who is looking for Mother’s Day gift for his mom when one night the Midnight Money Van shows up in a rainstorm of pennies.  The man who drives the van offers to give Matthew some of the money if he helps clean up the mess.  Matthew agrees and he ends up on an adventure looking for gifts to buy for his mom at the Midnight Mall.

3. If You Made a Million by David Schwartz, illustrated by Steven Kellogg


This story is a follow up to the book How Much is a Million, and explores the idea of accomplishing odd jobs and tasks in order to earn payment.  The more in depth topics such as spending and saving and the history of money itself are contrasted with the silly illustrations by Kellogg. However, the real question being answered is how much does one million dollars look like and what would it be spent on.

4. A Chair for my Mother by Vera Williams


A young girl explains how in her home is a big glass jar where her mother places all the coins that she receives in tips and her grandmother places all of her savings from a day at the market.  The money in this jar is going to be spent on a beautiful armchair because the rest of their furniture burned up in a fire.  When the jar is full, the family rolls the coins in wrappers and exchanges them for bills before heading out on their shopping trip.

5. My Rows and Piles of Coins by Tololwa Mollel, illustrated by E.B. Lewis


Saruni is a little boy who wants to buy a bicycle to help his mother carry food back and forth from the marketplace.  He works for his mother in the marketplace and saves his money for a long time.  This book touches on the savings of money and goal- setting.  Young children will be able to identify with the main character and his wish to own something of such high value, like a bicycle.

Web Annotations

  • Piggy Bank – This game gives the students the sale price and the amount of money paid for the imaginary item.  The students then must fill in how many dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies the person would receive back in change.  At the beginning of the game the student can choose the difficulty level and the country's currency that they would be using.
  • Create- A- Coin – This game allows students to create their own coin.  He or she can design what letter they want the coin to have on it, what picture is in the middle of the coin, the shape of the coin, and the lettering inside the coin.  The student only has to click and drag the tools for making the coin onto the workspace.
  • Coin Quiz – This website gives students two different examples of coins and the student has to choose which amount of coins matches the amount given to the student in number form.  The pictures on the site are of real coins and are colored either silver or bronze.  If the student answers the question correctly another question pops up but if they answer wrong they have the opportunity to do the problem again.
  • Matching Number Value to Word Value – This interactive website displays 16 boxes, half with a written number value such as $.31 and half with the written word value such as thirty- one cents.  The directions ask the student to match the number value with the correct word value.  When the student makes a correct match the two boxes are filled with another color to show that they have already been used.  If the student does not make a correct match nothing happens at all.  There are options on the side of the board that allow the student to change the size of the font in the boxes, to show the answers, and to restart the game.
  • Falling Money – This is a colorful game that has students click on amounts of money as they fall from the top of the screen.  The student is given a total amount of money and when the money figures fall, the students have to click on the numbers in order to add them up inside the piggy bank.  When the student gathers enough money to match the amount given a new amount appears and the piggy bank on the side has a green line at the bottom indicating that the money is increasing in the bank.

Additional Resources

  • Money Review Power Point – This is a downloadable power point that gives teachers a handful of review questions including amounts of money in picture form that the students must choose what number value it is, addition and subtraction of money amounts, and word problems containing amounts of money.
  • Printable Money Templates – This is a link to multiple printable money templates that teachers can use in the classroom.  The templates have pictures of real bills and coins and there are a handful of bills and coins on each sheet.  If laminated, this money could be reused in the classroom.
  • Money Worksheets – This is a great site for printable worksheets on coin addition, money words problems, and counting money.  At the top of the page the site give the option to have the worksheets in U.S. dollars, British currency, or Euros.  Each of the worksheets is just a page long and some of them are more difficult than others.

Learning First Grade Geometry!


The topic is plane geometric shapes and the selected resources listed and briefly summarized below are directly related to accomplishing the learning objectives provided by the VA SOL.  Grade one is the level and the associated SOL are 1.12 and 1.13.  Additionally, solid geometric shapes such as the sphere, cube, cone, cylinder, pyramid, and rectangular prism will be explored to show similarities and differences when comparing, relating, and recalling prior knowledge of plane geometric shapes.

Book CoverBook Cover"Cubes, Cones, Cylinders, & Spheres" by Tana HobanThree Pigs, One Wolf and Seven Magic Shapes by Grace Maccarone: Book CoverBook Cover


The five books included to directly foster student learning of basic geometry are:

  • The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns and illustrated by Gordon Silveria
    • A great tool for guiding class discussions on attributes of shapes and enhancing geometry vocabulary, to say the least.  Also, the book is good for captivating students’ interest.  The silly story is full of excitement and colorful fun illustrations.  It’s an even greater resource knowing that Marilyn Burns is the author.  She provides ideas for extending student’s learning at the end of the book.  
  • Three Pigs, One Wolf, and Seven Magic Shapes by Grace Maccarone and illustrated by David Neuhaus
    • This book is of a modern day tale of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf.  Students will be pleasantly surprised as the story unveils an interestingly happy ending!  The book is a great resource for exploring geometric shapes, transformations, and understanding that shapes can be made from other shapes.  Interactive tangram ideas are provided in the back of the book. 
  • The Silly Story of Goldie Locks and the Three Squares by Grace Maccarone and illustrated by Anne Kennedy
    • In this story, Goldie Locks is the great-great-granddaughter of the fairy-tale Goldilocks.  Throughout her journey, which is very similar to her great-great-grandmother’s, she explores all kinds of shapes and even talks about the “attributes of the shapes”.  These attributes can be reviewed and formalized after story time to ensure students understand the concepts as it relates to geometric shapes. 
  • Cubes, Cones, Cylinders, & Spheres by Tana Hoban
    • Throughout this book, photographs of familiar objects found in our everyday lives depict a variety of shapes.  The picture book is great for guiding a class discussion on solid shapes and their attributes.  Vocabulary terms will be reinforced by students through discussion and exploration of other objects found in our environment.  This book is great for all students and especially for LEP students or for those who require additional support. 
  • A Cloak for the Dreamer by Sandy Riggs and art by Richard Maccabe s
    • This book tells a story of a tailor’s three sons who make cloaks for the Archduke to keep out the rain and wind.  The sons explore shapes including the rectangle, square, triangle, circle, and hexagon to create the needed cloaks.  A couple concepts explored throughout the story include transformations and making shapes from other shapes.   


The five websites included to encourage student exploration and learning are: 

Weekly Reader Connections: Grade One, provided by Houghton Mifflin Math:   

The above link is age-level appropriate and allows for further exploration of geometry to occur.  Specific to geometry, there are 3 online activities and the titles are Shape Pictures, All Colors, Shapes, and Sizes, and Pick the Flowers.  The first activity expands students' awareness of shapes found in art or in our everyday lives.  The second relates to identifying how the lollipops are the same based on shape, size, and color.  The last activity entails students to identify the pattern that comes next in a given sequence.   

Harcourt Math Glossary, Grade One

This link provides age-appropriate definitions or illustrations of mathematical terms.  It is easy for students to navigate through and explore different terms.         ·

A Math Dictionary for Kids by Jenny Eather:

The above link is a comprehensive list of mathematical terms.  The provided definitions are wordy but well-described and great for guiding class discussions.  Additionally, pictures are provided to enhance definitions.   

Math Curriculum Guide for On-line Games

The above link is age appropriate and provides a wide range of games for students that enhance knowledge and skills in math.  Games focus directly on geometry for first grade are Four Piece Tangram, Shape Sorter (similar to Concentration), Shape Inlay, Flip It Frenzy, Evan Almighty Arketris (similar to Tetris), and Space Station.   

Shape Concentration by NCTM Illuminations

The above website links to a classic fun game.  Shape Concentration enhances students' creations of mental images by using spatial memory and visualization.  The game is designed for 1 or 2 players. 

Geometric Solids by NCTM Illuminations

This on-line tool allows students to manipulate various solid shapes by size, color, position, and transparency.  Additionally, the number of faces, edges, and vertices is explored.  Identifying plane shapes through solid shapes is further connected.   


The link below provides ample opportunities to assessing student understanding of basic and advanced properties of geometry at the first grade level.  The activities are designed to simultaneously engage and produce evaluation information of student performance and understanding and this is a huge time saver which creates more time for learning to occur.  Rubrics and other assessment ideas are provided.  A few examples of lessons with integrated assessment tools include:  

Lesson 6:   We're The Same!

What do I Really Know About My Shapes?

Shapes, Shapes, Everywhere!

The link below provides various lesson plans for first grade geometry.   Lessons of interest include: 

Folding Shapes: Are the Sides the Same?"The Greedy Triangle"Geometric Shapes using Kid Pix softwareShape SheetShapes found in an African Village 

Most lessons provide ideas for evaluating student understanding.  Additionally, the link offers a collection of Inspirational Teacher Stories submitted by educators and information about the online teaching resource, The HotChalk Learning Environment.

The link below provides ample information for first grade geometry.  This website is full of valuable resurces for teachers, students, and parents made available by Houghton Mifflin Math.  Examples of resource items for supporting instruction include vocabulary cards, visual support, e-glossary, e-games, graphic organizers, teaching models, background information, weekly reader connections, and worksheets specific to topic and by any of the following:  practice, reteach, enrichment, homework, problem solving, and English Learners.  A great resource!!! 

The link below provides a customizable, downloadable, worksheet generator for supporting geometry activities and more!

The link below is provided by the VDOE and it relates to Elementary Mathematics.  Instructional resources, recommended links to outside resources, and reputable professional organizations are included.  An ample supply of valuable information can be found here 

Teaching First Grade Math: Shapes

These the following resources can be used to teach first grade math, specifically geometry and shapes.  The resources could be used to teach children about constructing and modeling plane shapes found in the environment (circles, squares, triangles and rectangles) VA SOL 1.13  This blog will present five children’s shape book annotations, five kids website annotations and three additional resources for teachers to use when teaching about shapes in first grade.

Text Annotations


Ship Shapes written by, Stella Blackstone and illustrated by Siobhan Bell is a wonderful kids book about shapes.  In this adventure children are challenged to explore shapes in the sea and on ships.  The book is creatively illustrated in the style of a patchwork quilt with many shapes cut out of fabric.  I think this book would be a great way to get kids thinking about shapes in their environments.  The illustrations are exciting and fun and the text is written creatively to challenge children about their ideas of shapes.


I Spy Shapes in Art is written by Lucy Micklethwait, the illustrations are reproductions of many famous artists.  The book uses the repeating phrase of, “I spy with my little eye a…rectangle.” and then challenges the reader to find the shape in the famous painting on the next page.  For this example the reader is challenged to find the rectangle in the painting entitled The Snail by Henri Matisse.  The text is simple and would be great for a read aloud and to be put in a center later.  Introducing children to famous artists such as David Hockney, Henri Matisse, Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol and others is a great way for kids to see the link between art and math.  It also gets kids thinking about shapes in a creative way as well.


Square Head by Harriet Ziefert and illustrated by Todd McKie is a fun simple children’s book about shapes.  “George was a squarehead, a box from cheek to cheek.”  He disliked circles, ovals and spheres.  He had a square room and a square house and George was stuck inside his own squarehead.  In George’s world there were square cats and dogs and birds and he liked it that way.  One night George went to sleep and had a dream that allowed him to experience all kinds of shapes throughout space.  He discovered that the Earth was round and there were other wonderful shapes besides squares.  This book is a funny way to introduce shapes and have a discussion as a read aloud and talk about all the other shapes besides squares that the children have learned about and find in their world.


Triangle for Adaora: An African Book of Shapes written by, Ifeoma Onyefulu.  As two cousins travel through their village in search of a triangle they encounter many other shapes along the way.  Each shape is discussed and the author presents an opportunity to to learn about the shapes and their uses in the village for example the drum (a circle) is used to let people know it’s time to gather for a meeting.  The book presents the images in real color photos and not only does it provide the children with opportunities to learn about shapes in their environment but they also get to learn about cultures and traditions in another part of the world.


Shapes, Shapes, Shapes written and illustrated by, Tana Hoban is a great children’s book about shapes.  Some say this is the best of her many books written for children.  This book is great because it has pictures of real things where children can become more familiar in recognizing shapes in their environment.  Tana Hoban has a fun simple style about her books which makes them useful for a wide range of ability levels and good for class discussions and center activities.

 Web Annotations for Kids

  • Egypt Matching Game – This is a great game by Scholastic where kids can play an interactive matching game.  It is related to Egyptian artifacts and different shapes.  It’s a good activity for students to recognize items in their environment as shapes.
  • Super Shape Building – This game allows students to build things interactively with shapes online.  Students are challenged to go on a shape scavenger hunt through Umi City with Geo and then help him find all of the super shapes to build their own umirrific vehicle.
  • I Love Shapes – This game from PBS kids features Curious George and his love for shapes.  Another great interactive site that allows kids to familiarize themselves with various shapes while playing with Curious George and The Man in the Yellow Hat.
  • The Kids Page – From Radio Disney, this matching game could be used to differentiate with lower ability level students or to reinforce shape recognition.
  • Shapes Cave – Here’s another website with interactive games.  Kids have to follow the directions and and click on the correct shapes.

Additional Resources

  • Math Active – This is a great site for teachers with tons of lesson plans and interactive games about shapes and other math content areas that could be extremely helpful in planning lessons and having games for students to play independently or at centers.
  • Scholastic for Teachers – This site is great for teachers to use for teaching math in grades K-2.  It includes games, links to assessment resources, learning activities and national standards correlations.
  • Illuminations – Here is another website that links to a student activity but is an excellent resource for teachers to use in finding activities and games, lessons and other web links.

Addition and Subtraction in the Second Grade

Students will use basic addition and subtraction facts everyday for the rest of their lives, so it is extremely important they have a good foundation of knowledge on which to use and further build upon. Included below are books, online games, and other websites and resources available to enrich the learning experience of this crucial topic. The Virginia Standards of Learning covered include: 2.5 The student will recall addition facts with sums to 20 or less and the corresponding subtraction facts;  2.8 The student will create and solve one- and two-step addition and subtraction problems, using data from simple tables, picture graphs, and bar graphs, and 2.9 The student will recognize and describe the related facts that represent and describe the inverse relationship between addition and subtraction.

Book Suggestions

  • Red Riding Hood's Math Adventure
  • Written by Lalie Harcourt and Ricki Wortzman
  • Illustrated by Capucine Mazille
    61gada85n1l_ss500_.jpgIn this interactive math tale, the reader plays a role in choosing how many cookies Little Red Riding Hood gives to the fairy tale characters she meets on her way to Grandma's house. On each page there is a wheel that the reader can turn to change the dialogue and number of cookies to be shared. Readers are encouraged to use copies of the dozen cookies Little Red Riding Hood starts out with to help keep track of the subtracted cookies so some will remain for Grandma!
  • 12 Ways to Get to 11
  • Written by Eve Merriam
  • Illustrated by Bernie Karlin
    97806898089202.jpg This story starts out by counting to twelve, with the number eleven missing from the list. Throughout the rest of the book, twelve different ways to add to eleven are showcased. Examples of the objects used in the number sentences include the pinecones and acorns on the forest floor, items found on a sailboat, babies, and a mother hen and her hatching chicks. Readers are exposed to a variety of number combinations that all add up to the missing number eleven.
  • Panda Math: Learning about Subtraction from Hua Mei and Mei Sheng
  • Written by Ann Whitehead Nagda in collaboration with the San Diego Zoo
    pandamathbig.gif Real photographs of the panda cubs Hua Mei and Mei Sheng grace the pages of this informative non-fiction book. Readers have the option to read only the story of the baby panda cubs or they can learn more about pandas, and subtraction, as they explore the real life math issues on the left-side pages of the book. Some of the interesting math problems include how much less time pandas in the zoo spend eating bamboo compared with those in the wild or how much weight Hua Mei gained in three months. The adorable pictures and engaging facts will surely keep readers interested in both the life of the baby pandas and the math that goes along with it!
  • Lights Out!
  • Written by Recht Penner
  • Illustrated by Jerry Smath
    51p8nzvdnnl_sl500_aa300_.jpgThe narrator of this story is a little girl who not only has to go to bed before everyone in her family, but as she notices by the lights on in all of their windows, before everyone in the apartment building across the street. One night she convinces her parents to let her stay up until all of the thirty-two lights across the street have gone out. Throughout the night the narrator describes both some of the fun things she sees, a pillow fight and a parrot for example, as well as the steps she takes in subtracting the lights that go off, until one stubborn light remains.
  • Math Fables Too
  • Written by Greg Tang
  • Illustrated by Taia Morley
    9780439783514_xlg1.jpgThis beautifully and colorfully illustrated book provides readers with fun science facts as they read about different animals. The animals, ranging from one sea horse to ten seagulls, are described through playful rhymes that portray the animals' behaviors done in smaller groups. By breaking down the larger number of each animal, readers are exposed to a variety of different addition facts that add up to the sums one through ten, as they also learn fun facts about a variety of creatures!

Web Suggestions

  • A Day at the Beach Subtraction – In this activity, an ocean scene is the background for the demonstration of subtraction using colored balls. A group of the balls are crossed out and separated from the original group and students must choose which of the two number sentences provided matches the balls. After selecting it students are then prompted to answer the fact before moving on to the next sentence.  After about five of these, one beach-themed word problem is given, and at the end students can color in a fun beach scene.
  • Alien Addition – This game can be modified for ability levels by entering in the highest sum the facts provided will go to. In the game, students are instructed to use the cursor to move the laser beam that has the desired sum written on it below the UFO with the corresponding number sentence. They have one minute to get as many of the correct UFOs as possible before moving on to the next stage where the game continues to get harder.
  • Addition Chart Surprise – Students are directed to drag the given number to a spot on the chart where the row and column add up to the sum. When they drop the number in the correct spot, the entire diagonal of facts that add up to that sum is uncovered and pieces of a larger picture are shown, which can help students visualize addition patterns.
  • Number Jump – For this activity students use the calculator buttons, either to add or subtract, the number of spaces the green ball should jump to be able to smash the flies that are resting on a number. Students need to switch back and forth between the operations in order to get from one level of numbers to the next as they try to smash all of the flies in the least number of moves possible.
  • Ten Frame – Available from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, this online ten frame allows students to choose whether they want to use the manipulative to answer how many?, build, fill, or add and a variety of fun counters are available for the students to choose from. The ten frame lets students work in terms of fives and tens, two very important numbers in our number system, which can help them develop stronger addition and subtraction understanding and skills.

Additional Teacher Resources

  • Grapher – This online grapher can be used within the classroom to create bar graphs which students can then analyze. It is a great way to get students involved and connected with the subtraction facts they are working on!
  • It's a Fact! – This website provides teachers with a variety of different types of activities to teach students addition patterns including counting on, doubles, doubles plus one, fact families, and combining ten.  It has lists of the materials needed for each activity, including the PDF files for any forms or necessary worksheets, and step-by-step directions for each activity. There is also a list of books that go along with the topics being covered.
  • Numbers Away – Very similar to the addition site above, this website provides many ideas on how to teach subtraction throughout the year. It gives activity ideas for lessons that teach subtraction using a number line, subtracting from 10, subtracting doubles, and counting up. Included are downloadable forms, step-by-step instructions, background information for teachers, a related book list, and assessment ideas.
  • Manipulative Templates – This site provides teachers with templates for a wide variety of manipulatives. There are printable base-ten block sets, Cuisenaire rods, and colored tiles which would be very useful in the teaching of addition and subtraction.

Teaching Basic Addition and Subtraction in First Grade

I have created this list to help teachers who are teaching basic addition and subtraction facts. This will help assist students to learn the basic fact families up to 18 ( Virginia Standard of Learning 1.5 and 1.6)

Text Annotations:



Chrysanthemum  by Kevin Henkes is book about a younger girl who is going to school and discovers that her name is too long. She had always loved her name but now with all of her classmates mocking her, she decides that she needs a shorter name. Although the book does not directly use addition and subtraction, as the teacher you can uses this book to jump start and activity of adding up all of the letters in your student’s names. It also teaches a lesson on being nice to others and acceptance.


What’s New at the Zoo? An Animal Adding Adventure by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Joan Waites is book that counts and adds up the several different animals at the zoo. The illustrations are watercolor paintings and are really great. This book is a great introduction to basic skills. I like how the book also uses a lot of rhyming patterns which is important for young readers. There is also a section in the back of the book with educator notes and ideas for lessons


Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst and Illustrated by Ray Cruz is a book about Alexander and how he looses all of his money. It makes the connection of subtraction and can also introduce the concept of spending money and how you can have to make decisions. This book is part of the series that talks about Alexander and his adventures. I really enjoy how real the book is and how easy Alexander is to relate to. There are plenty of ways that you can use this book while teaching subtraction such as subtracting the money as he spends it but do that without using the decimals.


Domino Addition by Lynette Long, PhD is a great piece of literature to introduce dominoes to the class. Each page walks through a set of dominoes and adds them up to 12.  The photographs in the book are vivid and could be clearly seen if being read to the class. This book is great to introduce basic addition and subtraction. It helps children understand how fact families work and gives a visual for the visual learners in your class. This book will keep students actively engaged with the questions they ask.


12 Ways to Get to 11 by Eve Merriam and Illustrated by Bernie Karlin is a small book that uses several items to establish how the students add to 11. “Out of the magician’s hat: four banners, five rabbits, a pitcher of water, and a bouquet of flowers”; or, “Go past four corners and two traffic lights, then past the house with two chimneys and the garage with two cars and a bicycle. Now look, you’re at Eleventh Street” ‘ The book has a lot of great illustrations. The text would be great way to introduce number stories and have students make their own number stories.  The author has written the book to allow for good class discussion.

Web Annotation:

Alien Addition Game is  a fun game that helps students review basic addition facts. The game is noisy so students would need headphones if playing at a center. The game provides good practice in the commutative principal. It is also great because it a fast-paced games and is something that boys would like because it blowing up space ships.

Funbrain Math Baseball is a game that helps with addition facts. I like this game because it has 4 levels so that it can be changed depending on the skill of the student. The website has several other games and also some worksheets that go along with the addition game.

The ArithmAttack is a game for kids where you can decide if you would like to  be test on either addition or subtraction. It also has division for the more advanced students. The player can select the highest number that can be added or subtracted and the lowest number as well. Each problem allows the student 60 seconds to answer and if you get it wrong, the site provides the correct answer.

Adding Bricks is a game that uses bricks to guide the players in addition. There are pictures of each brick and it also has the addition problem set up vertically. The game does not give the correct answer but it does have the visual of the bricks  that a student can count.  The game is loud so headphones would be needed if a students were using during centers or in the classroom.

Subtraction Magician is a subtraction game that the player can select the degree of difficulty. The game allows 1 minute for 20 questions. There are 2 different ” mixes”. This game is a great way to review subtraction without using standard flashcards. It is a fun game and helps students work quickly to insure that they are memorizing the fact families.

Additional Resources:

Math and Literature is a website with lists of several pieces of literature that could be used during math and have elements of language arts. The website tells the importance of reading and using reading in cross-curricular ways. Using reading can help develop language skills and vocabulary associated with math.

Math Activity Worksheets is a website that has themed worksheets for addition and subtraction. There are several different worksheets and some other math skill other than addition and subtraction. The website is set up by grade level and features what are grade level appropriate activities and worksheets.

Mrs. McGowan’s Fact Family is a page on Mrs. McGowan’s website that allows her to share her classroom ideas. The Fact Family page explains how she teaches the concept of fact families in addition and subtraction. The site gives alternate webpages and activities for explaining addition and subtraction. Mrs. McGowan also includes the importance of the  connection of literature in math.

Kindergarten Math: Shapes


Under the Geometry section of the SOL’s for kindergarten there is a focus on plan figures. Within this category students k.11) should be able to identify, describe, and trace plan geometric figures (circle, triangle, square and circle).  Being able to identify these shapes is an important aspect when students begin to learn more advanced geometric terms. Students need to be able to identify theses shapes when they begin to learn about area and perimeter. In addition, having the knowledge of the shapes characteristics will help students in their everyday lives. Shapes is an important aspect that begins at an early age.

These literature connections will help children improve their shapes knowledge:


Mouse Shapes: a very first bookby Jim Arnosky is  a great reference tool for students to have. The book demonstrates what all of the shapes that kindergartens must know look like. In addition, there are various other shapes that students can begin to look at. Even though these shapes are not part of the core four, it provides an opportunity for students to expand their knowledge. In addition, this book could be used as an extension for those students who are surpassing grade level expectations.


There’s a Square: A Book About Shapes by Mary Serfozo, illustrated by David A. Carter takes children are an adventure of what the different shapes look like. First they are introduced to a description of the shape then they several forms of a the shape; they see what the shapes looks like in different sizes. Finally the readers are asked to find the shape in a picture. This would be a great way to introduce shapes to students or could even be used as a review. With the picture look, student are given an opportunity to practice their skills. At the end, students are given time to review what the shapes look like. They are shown again what the shapes look like with the shapes name underneath the shape. This is a book that could be read to the class and be available to students if they would like to learn about other shapes other than a circle, square, triangle, and rectangle.


Shape Capersby Cathryn Falwell is kind of laid like a game. Each shapes begins with a “shake, shake, shake” then the shape is introduced. Following the introduction of the shape there is a brief description of what the shape looks like, with various examples of the shapes in different colors and sizes. After all shapes have been described the reader is introduced to the shapes again with various forms of the shapes appearing near the name. After that, the readers are taken on a tour of various things that can be made by the shapes such as a car, spaceship, dinosaur, and ship. This allows the reader to see that shapes are in our everyday lives. At the end of the book, students can look at the pictures they provide and see if they can identify the triangles, squares, circles, and rectangles. This is a great book to introduce the concept of shapes and can also be used as a review with the ending of the book. In addition, it allows those students who are excelling at the concept to explore other shapes, furthering along their knowledge. The last page provides a brief explanation of an activity that can be completed using shapes.


Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stohl Walsh takes students on a journey through the world of shapes.There are mice that are being chased by a big cat. When running from the cat, the mice come into contact with a cluster of different looking shapes. They are now learning what these shapes look like. In order to fool the cat, the mice begin to make objects with the various shapes.
Students see how the shapes can be used in real life while also seeing what the shapes look like.


A Circle Here, A Square there: My Shapes Books  by David Diehl is a beginning book for students to use. Students see what the shapes name look likes in big letters then they see what the shapes look like in various forms. These various forms based upon what children would see in their real lives, such as a present for a square and a scoop of ice cream for a circle. This book would best used as a reference for students if they need a reminder on what the shapes look like. Also, it provides a spelling opportunity for students by having the name of the shapes in big print.

Web Annotations for Students:

In I Spy Shapes students are shown various pictures and asked to find all the triangles, etc in that picture. There is a number counter at the top of the page to help students keep track of how many of the shape they have found.  Students are allowed to keep going until they have found all the shapes.

Fun with Shapes is a webquest that studnets can complete after learning about shapes. In this webquest students are first review what each of the shapes look like. With this story, there is a desciption of what the shape looks like with a picture following. In addition, the story allows the students to review the colors. After reading the story, they have various activities that they are to complete relating to the shapes they read about in the story. With this webquest, the teacher can read the story aloud with the student then pair students up to complete the webquest.

Story of Shapes is an online story of shapes that students can either read or listen to. The storyteller describes the shape and sometimes provides an example of what it may look like. This a visual and oral story for the students. They are seeing the description as it is being said. It provides an opportunity for students to see other ways that the shape can be formed and other descriptions that might make it easier for them to remember the shapes.

Buzzing with Shapes is a two player game that has studnents pick the shape that matches the description that is given to them. If they chose the wrong shape they are given an explanation of why that shape is wrong ( a desciption of what their shape looks like). This could be used as a review game and can even be used as an expanding on the knowladge allowing studnents to explore other shapes besides the circle, square, triangle, and rectangle.

Identify Shapes I students are given a description or picture and asked to choose the correct answer.

Additional Resources for Teachers:

ABC Teach provides various coloring pages for the different shapes that will be taught to our studnets. Other shapes are included but these can be used as an extra thing for students when they are all done with their work.

DLTK’s Growing Together provides different activities that teachers can used during shapes lesson. to help enhance students knowladge.  There are different games, a poem and various worksheets to help children understand the topic.

 Hummingbird Educational Resources is a great tool to find different lesson plans and activities that can be used in the classroom. In addition, there songs that can be recorded that teachers play to their students or place at listening stations. All of the activities are grade appropriate and it is a great tool to use if having trouble coming with a cute way to introduce or teach the concept of shapes.

Shapes is a great site for various worksheets, ranging from extra practice to assessments. These sheets are great tools to have available in the classroom if students are done with an assigment and would a little extra practice. In addition, there are tracing pages that can be used to help students grasp one part of the SOL which is being able to trace the shapes.

Resources for Teaching Fifth Grade Geometry

In fifth grade, students begin to identify, compare, and analyze the properties of geometric shapes. The Virginia Standards of Learning include topics such as angle classification, size comparison, transformations, lines of symmetry, two and three-dimensional figures, and the overall relationship between shapes. The text and web resources listed below will help you keep the students interested and engaged while also supporting instruction.

Text Resources


Grandfather Tang’s Story
written by Ann Tompert۬ and illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker

Grandfather Tang tells a story about fox fairies from Chinese folklore who use geometry and magical powers to alternately change into predator and prey in a shape changing game. As he tells the story, he makes the animal shapes with tangrams. The illustrations have an oriental brushwork appearance and include both the animal and the tangram representation of the animal so students can create the changes with their tangram sets.


The Warlord’s Puzzle
written by Virginia Pilegard۬ and illustrated by Nicolas Debon

In ancient China, an artist hopes to avoid punishment for breaking a beautiful blue tile into seven piece by suggesting that the Chinese warlord hold a contest to see if anyone can put it back together. A poor fisherman’s boy quietly plays with the geometric shapes and solves the tangram puzzle. A tangram template is provided making this useful in introducing geometric concepts.


A Cloak for the Dreamer
written by Aileen Friedman ۬and illustrated by Kim Howard

A tailor asks his three sons to make colorful cloaks from small pieces of cloth sewn together. The older sons use square and triangular pieces and make fine cloaks. But the youngest son chooses circles and his cloak will not keep out the wind. The father uses geometry to solve the problem cleverly. This story fits with a unit on tessellations or a unit on shapes within shapes.


Sir Cumference and the Great Knight of Angleland: A Math Adventure
written by Cindy Neuschwander and illustrated by Wayne Geehan

Radius, the son of Sir Cumference and Lady Di of Ameter, ventures on a heroic quest to earn his knighthood. He first proves his ability to make a “knightly right angle,” as Sir D’Grees has trained him, and then doubles the right angle to make a straight angle. So he is sent off with the family medallion, in the shape of a circle (cardboard medallion included), to rescue the missing King Lell. Falling bridges, a cryptic riddle, a crocodile-infested moat, and a winding labyrinth all must be mastered before finding the king and his twin dragons, known as “Pair of Lells.” Sir Cumference has something to offer a wide range of readers. Some will be too young to understand the math and the word puns but will enjoy the story of a knight rescuing a king. Others will puzzle over the math and how to use the protractor (medallion) to solve the riddle. This group will be helped by the somewhat primitively painted pictures, which give clues to these angled decisions and enhance the story of a brave knight on his quest.

What's Your Angle Pythagoras?
written by Julie Ellis and illustrated by Phyllis Hornung

Pythagoras always seems to be in trouble, but it’s only because he’s so curious. You never know where you’ll find him. He could be up in a tree with the birds, spying on workmen, or messing about with maps. He is deep into his latest adventure, and trouble, when he discovers a pattern that gets him on everyone’s good side.

Web Resources

  • PBS Kids has educational online games for all of their television programs including Sagwa the Siamese Cat! Sagwa Tangrams will be fun for the students and help them practice their shape relationships! There are five easy as well as five hard puzzles to choose from!
  • Cyber Chase is another great PBS Kids program dedicated to making learning fun. Their website is full of great online games and the math topics that correlate with each. In Point Out the View, each member of the Cybersquad is looking at a bunch of blocks from a different place in the room. The player must show what each person sees from their point of view. Because what you see depends on your point of view, different people looking at the same objects can see them differently!
  • MATHO is similar to an interactive BINGO game. Your gameboard is a MATHO board with shapes and angles on it. A problem appears below the gameboard in yellow. Solve the problem and look for the answer on your gameboard. If you find your answer, select it and hit Enter. If you do not find your answer, click on Enter and you will be given a new problem. When you answer correctly, a marker will color your square. You have Matho when you get 5 colored squares in a row. The game is timed, so choose quickly!
  • Banana Hunt!  Given a specific angle and a full circle, drag the monkey to that exact angle. If you select the correct angle given, then the monkey will find all of his bananas! For every degree off, the monkey will lose a banana. How many bananas can you find in ten searches? Angles are not labeled so this is practice for those who know their angles well!
  • Protractor Measures!  Slide and rotate the protractor by degrees to match it to the given angle. Use the protractor to measure the angle and enter the degree measurement to move on to the next problem. This is a very realistic activity.

Additional Resources

  • This site offers online timed quizzes for every topic in fifth grade geometry (check out the other grades and subjects too!). These quizzes are relevant, kid-friendly, and record a score for teacher use once completed. If a wrong answer is chosen, an explanation of the correct answer is provided! The students may also stop at any time by choosing “submit and finish.”
  • This site offers amazing interactive lessons! Working With Angles(16) and Slides and Flips(17) are most relevant to fifth grade geometry. The lessons start off with real-world examples and continue with narrated visual diagrams. Although it moves at a brisk pace, the student has the option of pausing or going back. During the lesson students are engaged with labeling, sorting, and shifting instruments. Students will have a lot of fun using a virtual protractor to measure angles. If one of my students were to miss a vital lesson, this would be my go-to place to give him/her a good foundation of knowledge.
  • Teach the students a few songs to help them remember their geometry terms! For only $2.99 you can order the CD of all 14 songs!

2nd Grade Money Resources

The following books and online resources have been assembled to help support 2nd grade math instruction pertaining to money. Many of these resources can be integrated into lessons on identifying and comparing money value, counting and exchanging coins, and making change.


Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday, written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Cruz, tells the story of Alexander, a young boy who is given a dollar from his grandparents. After wasting the money on candy, bets, and toys, he decides to try to make money instead of spending it. He looks for loose change, recycles bottles, and even tries to pull out a tooth in an attempt to get money from the tooth fairy. None of Alexander’s ideas work and he his left with a deck of cards, a melted candle, a one-eyed bear, and some bus tokens. 

Pigs Will Be Pigs: Fun With Math and Money, written by Amy Axelrod and illustrated by Sharon McGinley-Nally, chronciles the adventures of some very hungry pigs in a house with no food. Mr. Pig wants to eat out but the Pigs have no money. So the family searches the house, looking under beds, carpets, and even the washing machine. Soon they’ve found enough coins and bills to head out to the Enchanted Enchilada. 

The Go-Around Dollar, written by Barbara Adams and illustrated by Joyce Audy Zarins, tells two stories. One story follows a one-dollar bill as it is passed from person to person. The bill eventually ends up being framed as the first dollar earned at a new store. The other story provides factual information about dollar bills and features labeled pictures of a dollar bill with explanations of its various numbers and symbols. 

26 Letters and 99 Cents, by Tana Hoban, is actually two books. The first half of the book is dedicated to letter and initial sound recognition. But the second half of the book uses a variety of coins to demonstrated counting from 1 to 99. In addition to vivid photographs that can help young learners with coin identification, the book also illustrates the concept of monetary equivalency grouping.

A Quarter from the Tooth Fairy, written by Caren Holtzman and illustrated by Betsy Day, tells the tale of how a young boy spends a quarter he got from the Tooth Fairy. First he buys a monster but later returns it, getting 2 dimes and a nickel. He continues to buy and return things, receiving different combinations of 25 cents with each exchange. The book can serve as an excellent introduction to the idea that different coins can produce the same value.


H.I.P. Pocket Change is facilitated by the U.S. Mint. It offers a variety of games and puzzles that promote knowledge of money value and money counting skills. This site also provides lots of factual and historical information about money that is presented in engaging and interactive formats. 

Discovering Coin Values is an entertaining and visually stimulating money counting game provided by The game challenges students to reach specific amounts by selecting the appropriate coins and sliding and flipping them into a container. If the student makes an error, the game offers feedback to help them select the correct coins. This game is an excellent medium in which to practice money counting. is sponsored by Sovereign Bank and offers some fun stories and comic strips that teach children about money. Some of these stories involve money values and equivalent exchanges as well as general information about how money is used. Students can also take quizzes in the site’s game room to test their money knowledge. 

Practical Money Skills for Life provides valuable money education for children and adults alike. The site offers a variety of games geared for different ages and skill levels. The game Ed’s Bank is a great tool for 2nd graders to reinforce their knowledge of coin values and compare money set values as they save to buy items from a store. The game is entertaining and is ideal for capturing a 2nd grader’s attention. 

Learning to Use Money offers detailed information about money value and equivalent monetary exchanges. It has excellent images of coins and dollar bills, demonstrates how money is added and combined to make different amounts, and offers a game in which students can practice adding coins to reach specific totals. This site does a terrific job visually representing the relationship of coins and bills or varying values. 

The Money Page is another great resource for practicing money skills. This site offers a variety of word problems pertaining to money as well as games that promote coin counting skills. Problems are presented in a visually stimulating manner and incorporate realistic coin images.

Additional Resources: 

The Moneyville page, sponsored by the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, provides a history of money, details about strange currencies of the past, information about the artwork found on coins and bills, interesting facts about money, measurement facts regarding money, and generally fun facts about currency. This wealth of information can inspire a variety of creative money lessons.

At Euro Kids’ Corner, students can get a chance to learn about the currency of Europe. In addition to providing an abundance of information about the Euro, this site also provides a history of money, information on early currencies of Europe, and describes different european currencies that were used throughout the 20th century. The site is complimented with great photos and visual imagery.

The money page at A to Z Kids Stuff is a great resource for teachers. This page has a money poem, book recommendations, and categorically sorted links to a variety of money education activities. There are also craft suggestions and lots of other cross-curricular activities that can enhance an instructor’s money lessons.