Tag Archives: multiplication

Tutoring Ideas: CARNIVAL theme

The past 5 months I have had the extreme pleasure to tutor a couple kids in reading and math. I had so much fun planning our hands on learning activities that I thought I would share them with you! Learning CAN be fun, after all!

I based our themes on the Read Naturally Story we were working on that day. The first post I am sharing is a carnival themed tutoring session. This was SO much fun!

Before I get into our activities, I do have to note that we had all of our tutoring sessions on the floor. Why? Simply because my student was tired of sitting at a desk all day. Listen to your students- sometimes they need a break from the typical classroom learning environment and will actually respond better in a different situation.  


-Use Clown gloves to demonstrate the trick when multiplying by 9s.

 The nice thing about this is that we could use the trick with the gloves on or off. I also wrote the numbers 1-10 on the fingertips to help with the counting. 

For those unfamiliar with this “hand”y trick (haha): First, look at the equation- particularly to the number that you are multiplying with 9.  Then hold up both hands. Starting on the left pinky, count that number of fingers over. When you land on that number, put the finger down. The number of fingers to the left of the finger that’s down represents the number of tens in the answer. The number of fingers to the right represents the number of ones in the answer. Put those together and you have the answer! 

For example, if my equation was 9 X 5, I would start by holding up both hands and count five fingers over starting at my left pinky. The number five would land on my  left thumb, which I would put down. To the left of my thumb I have four fingers, so I know that I have 4 tens in my answer. To the right of my thumb I have 5 fingers, so I know that I have 5 ones in my answer. 4 tens plus 5 ones equals 45! Easy peasy!

-Clown face ar/er/or words. 

I would read a word that had the ar/er/or r-controlled vowel sound. My student had to choose the clown face with the correct vowel, hold it up to her face, and then spell the word. 

And of course look absolutely adorable while doing it. 🙂

-Prefix and suffix balloons. This was by far my student’s favorite activity. Prior to our tutoring session, I placed a variety of prefixes and suffixes in balloons before blowing them up. 

During tutoring, I placed a word on the floor which we read together. My student used a bent paper clip as our popping tool and I instructed her to pop the balloon of her choice. She loved this! 

We both screamed when the balloon popped and then laughed so hard. Who knew learning prefixes and suffixes could be so fun? Once we calmed down a bit, we opened up the little piece of paper that was inside the balloon and read the affix. 

My student had to determine if it was a prefix or suffix and then place it at the beginning or ending of the word. We then read the “new” word and discussed the definition. 

-Multisyllabic words with popcorn bags.

 I LOVED doing this activity! I bought popcorn bags at the dollar tree (can I say that’s my favorite store ever?!). I put really long multisyllabic words that I knew would be tricky to read on the outside of the bags. I told my cute student that she was going to read those very long words today! We looked at the word on the outside of the bag first, opened up the popcorn bag, and dumped out the kernels. The kernels contained the word parts, broken into syllables, of the long word. My student placed the kernels in order- checking the word on the outside of the bag to make sure she got them in the correct order. 

We placed the kernels under these really cute touch lights I found at the dollar tree (of course!). 

As my student read the word parts, she would touch the lights. This was a great way to integrate some kinesthetic activity  into reading. After reading all the word parts, we blended the word and got excited that we could read it! 🙂

After awhile my cute student was able to look at some of the words and mentally break them into syllables without dumping out the kernels. It made my teacher heart so happy! 🙂

I hope these ideas help you to make learning more fun for your students. 

Happy TEACHing!

Operations & Algebraic Thinking: A Common Core Math Series

operationsSo far in our series about math standards we have discussed Counting & Cardinality. Today’s post is centered around Operations & Algebraic Thinking (one of the K-5 Common Core Math Standards). I am excited to share with you some of the resources I have found!

What are Operations & Algebraic Thinking? This is simply understanding and solving math problems using the 4 operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Of course Kinders will start out with gaining a basic understanding of just adding and subtracting while the older grades are required to not only use all 4 operations but to understand them enough to write numerical expressions and analyze patterns and relationships. This post will primarily focus on the younger grades, since this is where I will be teaching soon.

When should I start teaching my child Operations & Algebraic Thinking? You can model simple addition and subtraction problems with your kiddos as soon as you feel your child is ready. I think most preschool age children would benefit from modeling of very simple problems using objects that are important to them. For example: “You have 2 cookies, if I give you 1 more, how many would you have?”

What resources are available to help my child learn Operations & Algebraic Thinking? There are SO many wonderful activities and lessons available to help us teach our kids to understand this math standard. I have included apps, literature, activities from this blog, and links to other great ideas.

There are TONS of Operations & Algebraic Thinking apps available! This is just a sampling of what I have found: Mental Math for Kids (android), Addition and Subtraction for Kids (iTunes), Math Addition Games For Kids (android), Sushi Monster (iTunes), Rocket Math (iTunes), Math: Multiplication Table (android), Einstein Math Academy (android), Division for Kids (iTunes), Medieval Math Battle (android) AND Medieval Math Battle (iTunes), YodelOh Math Mountain (android) AND YodelOh Math Mountain (iTunes), and Operation Math (android) AND Operation Math (iTunes). I could easily list 100 apps that are centered around the Operations & Algebraic Thinking math standard!

Here is a list of some of the great Operations & Algebraic Thinking literature. Just click on the pic to learn more about each book.

Addition and Subtraction:

51I-cjJkFTL._SX258_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_ 5134CBGGJZL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 51ooEIO8BTL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_51RXDMVKPQL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 51RRrfpJerL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_61BEZYAQB3L._SX258_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_51Q023GBMML._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_ 61E4s00CExL._SX258_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_ 61BWRTEYW5L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_ 51mRo412A1L._SX258_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_

Multiplication and Division:



61RNFVKXCAL._SX258_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_  51A06tb+ZzL._SX258_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_  51ZbjR89JsL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_

Teacher resources:

61nw95eEphL._SX258_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_ 51XmxGnxExL._SX258_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_ 61v9CXw+kNL._SX258_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_51FWLelcrlL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_  51zS2S0MjNL._SX258_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_51RPr6mgRmL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_51boSBfUm5L._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_51ewKa+eD7L._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_

Here are some of the activities that we have done in the past centered around Operations & Algebraic Thinking:

MISSION ADDITION When my  daughter was 3 we spent a day saving all the animals in trouble via math skills. And while she didn’t walk away quoting math facts, she had a BLAST. There is nothing wrong with a little academic immersion through play! (Feel free to download our free Mission Addition PDF)

mission addition


I posted a review about Bubbling Math– a math operation game for Kids. I like that this available for desktops as well!


I saw the idea of creating Towers with Unifix Blocks on Pinterest (thank you Home Grown Learners!!). This activity is easy to use, hands on, and gets kiddos familiar with the look of math problems.


And last but certainly not least is our trusty number scale. One idea is to have your child find the sum by placing two weights on one side of the scale (the math problem) and then on the other side of the scale put a weight on the sum. If their answer is correct  the scale will balance!


Here are some other GREAT educational games from around the web.

Candace from Naturally Educational shares a great way to teach addition with regrouping using money! And what kid (or parent for that matter) doesn’t LOVE money?

Little Bins for Little Hands has a cute numbers and colors game that will teach a basic foundation for addition and subtraction.

I love the Teaching about Number Lines with the Number Line Hop post from Boy Mama Teacher Mama. This activity would go GREAT with the book Ready, Set, Hop.

And for those that want a fun, unique math operation challenge, check out Afterschool for Smarty Pants. She has a wonderful post on using Math Squares!

We can’t forget to include two other resources:

Math Story’s Math Songs with videos and lyrics. Great resource!

Teachers Pay Teachers. This is a one stop shop with some of the CUTEST math curriculum I have ever seen! (Is it sad that the cuteness is a selling factor for me? haha I promise I enjoy the quality and educational aspects of their work as well!)

As always- I hope this list will be beneficial in helping your kids understand math more fully.

Happy Teaching!

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