Admission: math wasn’t always one of my favorite things. I kind of hated numbers. I struggled big time throughout my school-age years trying to understand numbers and how they worked. I finished off pre-cal my junior year and said buh-bye and good riddance to equations and PEMDAS and my trusty TI-83.
Then, I decided to teach elementary school. I had this WHAT AM I GOING TO DO IF I HAVE TO TEACH FIFTH GRADE MATH?! moment and decided I should brush up on my skills as much as I could before I was flustered in front of a bunch of ten-year-olds who could school me fractions. So, I decided to minor in math. I had two amazing professors who wanted to make sure I ‘got it,’ and it was only then that I decided to repair my relationship with algebra, geometry, and the like. You’ll never find me acing a calculus test, but I’d like to think I’d stand a pretty good chance to those fifth graders now.
One of the main reasons I struggled with math as a child was because I didn’t have a strong number sense. I didn’t understand numbers or what to do with them. I’m not kidding when I say that strategies like making a ten or using friendly numbers didn’t click with me until I was twenty-two-years-old!
Fortunate for our students now, number development has become the top priority in math instruction. Subitizing, making a ten, counting on and back, comparing numbers, decomposing numbers, and using number bonds are the norm. Long before we provide students with algorithms, we are making sure they ‘get’ numbers! Brilliant! My seven-year-old self is giving all the heart eyes.
One of the best ways to develop number sense in little learners is through games during math rotations or centers. When I consider my kiddos, I need something that is skill-specific, simple for independent or partner play, and – most importantly – ENGAGING! And, it’s a major bonus if it requires little prep because I do NOT have the time to be laminating and cutting my life away. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Included you will find a dozen differentiated games with CUSTOMIZABLE directions!
Next month (eeeeeh!), I am fortunate to present a math session alongside Deanna at the Get Your Teach On conference in Texas! I am so excited to dig deep into number development with some of my teacher friends from the south 🙂 I’d love to know if you’ll be there!