Fact Families: Add and Subtract within 18

Making connections between addition subtraction is so important.  I love using fact families for this.

To introduce fact families, we do the turn around dance.  Kids hold up a fact and we sing as they make a new fact that is true.  It helps them see a great visual and begin to be comfortable moving numbers around to make fact families.

This video demonstrates how it can be done with cards.  I love to have kids come up and hold the cards and move and dance around.

I used my Monster Fact Family which takes the kids through all the facts with 6 triangle flash cards each level.

Fact Families: Add and Subtract within 18
First they cut out their flashcards.  Then, they write their fact families.
Sometimes we mix it up and write our fact families on a white board.

Fact Families: Add and Subtract within 18

After writing two addition facts and two subtraction facts, they studied the facts by covering up a number and trying to remember or figure out what was missing from the family.

Fact Families: Add and Subtract within 18
She is covering up a number to see if she remembers it.

I also let the kids play some simple math games with flash cards and number cards.  I want them to have fun practicing.  
Fact Families: Add and Subtract within 18

I encourage them to play these games at home as well.

Fact Families: Add and Subtract within 18

Here is a quick video demonstrating the activities we do together to practice fact families.

Click below to find the resources I used.

Reading and Writing Numbers with Decimals

The concept of less than one is huge in 5th grade.  It shows up in fractions and decimals.  I find it to be very important to give real word examples and manipulatives to solidify the concept of less than one.

Before we began talking about decimals, I wanted to make sure my students had the basic understanding that numbers can be written in standard, word and expanded forms.  I introduced this with the Place Value PowerPoint (linked at the end of the post.)

Once they were comfortable with reading and writing whole numbers in their various forms, we moved into decimals.

We started out with hundred beads inspired by this Math Maniac post.

We practiced showing numbers like 0.64 and writing them as fractions and decimals.

Then, we practiced reading decimals using my PowerPoint (linked at the bottom of the post).

We moved on to expanding decimal forms.  We would lay out cards and use a die to mark the decimal.  The students wrote the numbers in standard and expanded form and read the decimal aloud to practice the word form.

Several students at this point, asked to take the test.  After the attempt, they told me they knew how to go from standard to expanded but not from expanded to standard.

Proud teacher moment.  I love when kids can pin point what they need to learn.

That night I threw together some expanded cards and color coded them so it would be easy to keep organized.  Then the students would take the expanded form and turn it into standard form.

For our final practice day, we broke out a new manipulative and practiced showing and writing decimals.

By the end they were able to show the decimal and write it in the three forms.

It was a fun couple of weeks.  The kids loved using manipulatives to learn.  Who says math isn't fun?

Back to School Freebie Frenzy Hop

In a perfect world, students would enter a new grade level having already mastered all standards from previous grades.

In this imperfect World, we can't reteach every previous standard.  We can, however, make sure our students have their basic fact fluencies.  These standards are the key to future success in math.  

Without a strong fact fluency background, math becomes overwhelmingly difficult for our students.

For the Fifth Grade Freebies' Freebie Frenzy, I wanted to share an intervention screening packet I've been working on.  

Have you ever been in the middle of teaching equivalent fractions and realized your students don't have the grasp on their multiplication facts they need to be successful?  Have you ever tried teaching students to add and subtract with decimals only to realize they don't know how to regroup?

As we all start back to school, it is worth a bit of time to make sure your students have the background they need to be successful.  If you discover a few of your 5th graders don't know their multiplication facts now, you can intervene in time for them to be successful when you work with fractions.

For these free screening quizzes, simply click the picture below.

Fact Fluency Intervention Screening Quizzes- Freebie!

There are 8 screening tests.  They include:
Add and Subtract within 5
Add and Subtract within 10
Add and Subtract within 20
Add and Subtract within 100
Multiply and Divide within 100
Add and Subtract within 1,000
Add and Subtract within 1,000,000
Multi-Digit Multiplication

Wondering what to do once you've given the screening quizzes and found gaps?  Be sure to follow me on Bloglovin', Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.  As an intervention teacher, I spend a lot of time helping students with fact fluency and I'll be sharing some simple, fun ways to practice.  

You can check out the labels on the right of my blog for specific math subjects like Multiplication.

I also have a Fact Fluency: Basics section in my TPT store and a Fact Fluency: Multi-Digit section if you are looking for resources.

I also have a freebie that has the fact fluencies as posters.  If you don't have them, you can pick them up by clicking on the picture below.

Would you also like to win a TPT gift card? Of course you would!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Freebie Frenzy Blog Hop

Multiply 2 Digit Numbers

There are several strategies for multiplying 2 digit numbers.  The following photos come from a PowerPoint I made to help introduce the methods.

Traditional Algorithm

Most adults are familiar with the traditional method for multiplying multi-digit numbers.  This method is more of a short cut.  I typically teach it once kids are comfortable with using partial products.

Traditional Method for Multiplying Two Digit Numbers

Partial Products

The partial product method is a great way to introduce multiplying multi-digit numbers.  One of the benefits is that students focus on multiplying all the numbers before moving on to adding.  Some students that find the traditional method challenging have a hard time switching between the two operations.  I find color coding to be very helpful.

Partial Product Method for Multiplying Multi Digit Numbers

Box Method

The box method can be helpful for students that are visual learners.  It also helps students that get overwhelmed because they can focus on step at a time.  Some kids feel stress about having to remember what order to go in.  With the box method, there is no right order so they can let go of that stress.

Box Method for Multiplying Two Digit Numbers

Which do I use?

Some teachers require that students learn all the methods.  Personally, I find the benefit of having different ways to get to the same answer is that students can choose the one they are most comfortable with.  Personally, I start with partial product.  If students express stress, I show them the box method and partial product side by side and have them choose which we should focus on.  I wait to introduce the traditional method until a student brings it up (which they always seem to).

If you'd like to read more about these methods, check out this post.


I linked up my classroom reveal with some linkies today and discovered ThingLink on iTeachSTEM.

How cool is this?  Just hover over the picture to read notes on details in the picture.

If you didn't see my Classroom Reveal, check it out here. 

Creativity is Problem Solving

As education continues to see budget cuts, one of the first things cut is art.  Art is seen as something extra that isn't necessary.  Teachers are told to focus on Common Core Standards and critical thinking.  There just isn't time for things like art.

This week, I had the incredible opportunity to witness a conversation between Ed Catmull, the president of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sal Khan, the founder of Khan Academy.  
Sal Khan (Khan Academy) and Ed Catmull (Pixar and Disney) discuss Pixar in a Box.
Sal Khan and Ed Catmull

Mercedes Hutchens from Surfing to Success visited Pixar to learn about Pixar in a Box.
My husband, me, and my principal
We were so excited to hear the presentation, we were some of the first into the Pixar theater.
Photo by Jennifer Ellison

Listening to Ed Catmull and Sal Kahn discuss the deep connection between art, math, and science was inspiring.  As teachers, we fear that educators are being asked to strip down what we are teaching to just the core subjects.  We fear the joy being sucked out of education as testing becomes the end all be all.  We know that our students are little humans who want to be inspired.  Hearing the head of Pixar say, "Creativity IS problem solving!" is like a ray of hope.  

Creativity is problem solving.

Pixar employees are artists.  Artists who have earned top honors like Oscars.  Children (and adults) with artistic ability dream of the chance of working at Pixar.  But they'll need more than artistic ability, they'll need a strong math background.

Brit Cruise, James Tynan, Sal Khan, and Ed Catmull answering questions about Pixar in a Box by Pixar and Khan Academy.
Brit Cruise, James Tynan, Sal Khan, and Ed Catmull
(During the Q&A, they mentioned Science and Humanities would be connected eventually as well.)

Pixar and Khan academy have teamed up to launch Pixar in a Box.  That connection between art and math is now clearer than ever.  Now anyone can, for free, see how artists at Pixar make the incredible happen and how math is an integral part of what they do.

"Why do I need to learn this?"  

When I first starting teaching, this question annoyed me.   Come on kid, just get with the program.  As I've grown as an educator, this question makes me happy.  It is a chance for me to connect what we are teaching to the real world.

Now, I have an incredible tool at my finger tips.  Why do you need to learn this?  Well, here is an example of how the people who made the movie Wall-E used this to make all the robots in the background.

Who wouldn't want to take their class to Pixar on a tour?  Now you can bring the Pixar animators into your classroom through videos and activities.  They can explain how they were given a creative task and then asked to problems solve how to make it happen.  Your students can play with the introduction activities to begin problem solving creatively.  Then, they can learn the math behind this.

All this can happen with a Common Core Standard attached.

When I received an invitation to visit Pixar to see the launch of a Khan Academy / Pixar educational product, I couldn't believe it.  I was even more shocked when we arrived and there were only about 150 people there.  I felt like a little kid posing by statues and walking the halls upstairs staring at amazing pieces of art.   That is the awe our kids feel when they see some of their favorite animated characters.  I was hooked.  Our students will be too.

Mercedes Hutchens from Surfing to Success at Pixar
My husband and I at the Pixar lamp!

Mercedes Hutchens from Surfing to Success at Pixar with Jen Ellison
My teaching buddy, Jen Ellison, and I at the Toy Story Ball.

Steve Jobs Building at Pixar Animation Studios
The Steve Jobs Building at Pixar

Mercedes Hutchens from Surfing to Success visits the Incredibles at Pixar Animation Studios.
My husband, the Incredibles, and I having a blast

Cars at Pixar Animation Studios
The best principal in the world, Matt Manning

Oscars and Awards at Pixar Animation Studios
Matt Manning, me, Jen Ellison, Chris Hutchens
Inches from Oscars!

While the activities are geared for 4th and up, I encourage you to take a look even if you are a primary teacher.  They may have designed the lesson about how to make a ball bounce realistically aimed at middle school students, but the primary teacher in me saw the animator in the video talk about fractions. What a great introduction to fractions.   The building crowds section shows how they built crowds of robots in the movie Wall-E.  I plan to use the first part of the lesson with my next basic multiplication group.  Do some exploring, have some fun, and enjoy this free resource. 

Pixar in a Box Activity
screen shot of an activity from Pixar in a Box

As STEM education is becoming more and more popular, I hope that STEAM education will begin to take the lead.  I'd love to see principals and district leaders take some time to do the Pixar in a Box lesson and be inspired to remember what teachers already know, art and creativity are essential in our classrooms.  Art isn't a separate other.  It is integrally connected to science, technology, engineering, and math.  Creativity is Problem Solving!  If we want our students to be excellent thinkers, creativity is an essential tool.

Our 5th Graders already loving Pixar in a Box
Photo by Jennifer Ellison

Disclaimer: As I read this I realize I sound like I was paid to write a puff piece.  I wasn't.  I really am just that excited.

Peek at My Week

Monday will be my first day teaching Intervention this year.  I'm excited to be joining Deedee Wills for Peek at My Week for my first time.

I teach 7 grade levels.  I've had to learn to plan in a completely different way as an intervention teacher.  When I was a homeroom teacher, I planned day to day.  I have to be more flexible now so I plan out some options for the week and fit them to how the kids are doing.

You can download a clickable PDF of my week or find links below.

I will fluently read sight words.

I will add and subtract within 100.

I will fluently add and subtract within 18.

I will multiply by 2 digit numbers.

I will read and write numbers with decimals.

Do you have any fun activities for my week that I should know about?


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