Speed is a card game familiar to many people.  (Some people may know it as Spit.)  It’s a great game for students to work on forward and backward number sequences.  This version of the game is from the book Teaching Number in the Classroom by Wright, Martland, Stafford, and Stanger, where it is called “Quick Draw Multiples.”

Materials:  A numeral card deck containing four each of a sequence of 10 numbers.  You might want students to work counting forward and backwards in the range of 1-10, 12-21, or you might want students to learn the multiples of a given number such as 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, 36, 40.

How to Play:

This is a game for two players.

Place 15 cards in a stack in front of each player. These stacks are the draw piles for that player. The remaining cards are divided into two stacks and placed face down between the players. (Leave space between the stacks for cards to be turned over.) Each player draws 3 cards from their draw pile. Next, simultaneously turn over a card from the middle stacks. A play is made from players’ hand by placing the next numeral in the sequence, either forward or backward, on top of one of the turned up cards. Both players play at the same time, on either pile, and may make a series of plays, so long as the plays are made one card at a time. As cards are played the player replenishes their hand (3 at any one time) from the draw pile. If neither player can play a card, new starter cards are turned up. The first player to play all their cards is the winner!


Numeral Sequences

     It’s interesting to me that we place so much importance on children reciting the alphabet, when knowing the order of letters doesn’t really help a child read.  It’s much more important for children to know the forward and backward sequences of numerals.  These sequences actually help children do addition and subtraction.  Learning the sequences for composite groups, such as counting by 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, etc. will help children solve multiplication and division problems.

     Children need experiences saying the number word sequences verbally and ordering numerals. K-5 Math Teaching Resources http://www.k-5mathteachingresources.com/numeration-activities.html has some great activities for children to learn number sequences.  One of my favorites on this page is “Build a Number Line” in Stage C.  The game can be adapted for any series of 10 numerals including counting by 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, etc.

Literacy and Math – Read Aloud

Many of the previous suggestions for using Leveled Books will also work for connecting math to read aloud time.  Look for ways to connect math to any book you are reading to the class.  I have a Pinterest board that shows math connections to books I read over the summer http://pinterest.com/DDibley/summer-reading-project/

There is a growing number of read aloud books with math themes.  Here are a few sources for finding books related to math –

50 Cent Summary

Barb Wollack, a literacy consultant, shared this strategy which combines literacy and math.  She uses nickels and calls it a 50 cent summary, but depending on the money skills of your students you can change it to a 10 cent, $1.00, or $2.50 summary.

Materials needed: 10 coins, all the same, for each student.  You can use pennies, nickels, dimes, or quarters.

Procedure: After reading a book, students get 10 coins to spend on making a summary of the story.  Students push (or pull) a coin from their collection as they say each word of their summary. (“The kids helped Dad clean the house.” will cost 7 coins.)  Students then determine how much money they spent making their summary.  They can also write a subtraction problem to show how much money they have left.

Making Connections

We know how important it is for students to make connections when they are reading.  In her book, Building Mathematical Comprehension (http://www.amazon.com/Building-Mathematical-Comprehension-Laney-Sammons/dp/1425807895), Laney Sammons says that students should also make connections when doing math.  Barb Nelson, from the Printing and Graphics department in ISD 196, has created a visual that shows the kinds of math connections we want students to make.

Click below to download a PDF of the visual –

our circles of connections

  • Math to my life – What are your students interested in?  Use their names and interests when you present problems.
  • Math to other math I know – Connect new learning to what students already know.  It can be something as simple as, “if you know 1+1=2 then what does 1+2 equal?” “If you know there are 4 quarters in a dollar, then what is 4X25?”
  • Math to the world and other subjects – Students often wonder, “When will I use this?” Ask students to be on the look out for math in Science, Social Studies, Health, etc.  Have them ask their parents how they use math.