Thursday, August 16, 2012

Carolina Girl Guest Blogger....Amanda from Teaching Maddeness

Hi everyone!  This is Amanda Madden from Teaching Maddeness.  I am so happy to be joining in the Carolina Blogger Series that Patti is hosting...what a fantastic idea to showcase all of the bloggers from the Palmetto State (and there are a LOT of us in the blog world)! 
If you haven't visited my blog, I'd love for you to follow along with the "maddeness" so we can share ideas throughout the year!
Before I get started with the "meat" of this post, I do have a little freebie for you (how's that to "hook" you in?)  I've seen the Animal Rhyming Goodbye sayings on posters that a lot of teachers post near their classroom doors.  I want to use this in my classroom this year, but really wanted the students to focus on one saying at a time.  So, I decided to create signs with the sayings on them.  I plan to post one sign by the door each week.  When students leave the classroom, I'll encourage them to say the first part of the sign, while the remaining students will say the last part.  I'll let them come up with a fun voice or motion to go along with the saying each week.  I think if I showcase them one at a time, they will look forward to finding out what the new goodbye will be each week!  Click below to download them, if you'd like to use them in your classroom!
This summer I've written series of posts about how I teach reading and writing through genre studies, so I thought today I would touch a bit on math.  I use a LOT of strategies for teaching math to reach all learning styles.  I've written grants in the past to purchase picture books, CDs and games for bringing these mathematical concepts to life.  Today I'm going to give a brief look at some of my favorite math items, but I'll definitely be blogging in more detail about them throughout the year. I believe in incorporating as many read alouds into one day as possible!  Seriously, I could read aloud ALL day long!  Sometimes I think I should have been a librarian! :)  The best series I've purchased for math is the Stuart J. Murphy Math Start series...there are 3 levels of books and there's a book for almost EVERY math topic.  Since I teach 2nd grade, I mostly purchased the level 2 and level 3 books, as the level 1 books were a bit too simplistic.  I use these books to introduce math topics on a weekly basis!
We also listen to a LOT of music and sing along to reinforce math concepts in the classroom as we work.  One of my favorite CDs is Do Re Mi Geometry....the songs are original and catchy.
You can visit my Turn the Music Up Linky party to get a TON of other great music ideas for the classroom...and feel free to join in and add your favorites, too!
We play games almost DAILY in math.  I think it's so important to get the kiddos engaged in learning while keeping it FUN!  Most of the time they don't even think we do math...they think we just play games! (sneaky, huh?)
That's why I'm SUPER excited about my new, quiet, grab-and-go dice containers.  Click the picture to read my previous post on how I made them.
However, my absolute FAVORITE math game of all time doesn't use dice at all.  You just need 3 players and a set of number cards.  It's called SALUTE and it's perfect to practice finding missing addends.
Two players draw a card (without looking at it) and place it on their foreheads.  The "judge" adds up the digits on the cards and announces "the sum is ___".  Then the two players have to use the sum and the other player's number (which they can see) to determine what number is on the card on his/her forehead!  THEY EAT THIS GAME UP!!  You can purchase the directions and number cards needed for this game, along with a TON of other games we use in our class, at Teacher's Clubhouse as an instant download.
Speaking of Teacher's Clubhouse, we also have the Math Menus available there, which is one of the items showcased on my class website that I get the most emails about from other teachers.  I use these Math Menus as a differentiation tool in my classroom, but they could also be used for early-finishers or as a homework activity.
 We begin every math unit by giving a pretest to help determine the range of abilities of students.  Once the pretest has been given, I'm able to form small groups for some of my math lessons.  I use PowerPoint to display my math groups and their tasks for the day.  Here's an example of how it may look.
Students can just look at the board to see who they will be working with (the different colors of the names represent the different groups) and their tasks (independent assignments in green and group games in blue) for the day.  I start off working with one group, but students leave their completed independent work on their desks so I can glance at those while they're working in groups and am able to pull any who need additional help.  Of course, we also have mini-lessons during this time.
I hope this gives you a little bit of a glimpse at math in our classroom.  I'd love for you to follow along on my blog so we can share more ideas throughout the year! 
Thanks so much to Patti for starting this Carolina Girls Blogger series!  If you're a blogger from the Palmetto state, send Patti an email to let her know so you can join in on the fun!


  1. Love this post Amanda. So many great ideas. I am super excited to have found out about the Math Start book series. Thanks for the freebie as well. :)

    My (Not So) Elementary Life

  2. Love the "Salute" game...never heard of it before! :)

  3. I am a Carolina Girl blogger! I would love to get involved. I'm a new blogger, you can find me over at
    An Apple a Day in First Grade.


  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.