Hi, I’m Brian Breaking Badger, and I love to break numbers apart.
Separating place value is considered my art!
I break numbers into ones and tens with my teeth,
Then I work with the place value underneath.
I’ll add or subtract the tens, then the ones.
Before you know it, the problem’s all done!

WHAT is breaking apart? Students use place value knowledge to decompose or break each number apart into hundreds, tens and ones.  Depending on the problem, students will either add or subtract each place value (first hundreds, then tens, and finally ones).  Students will then add or subtract all numbers to solve the problem. Read more about Brian’s strategy below or download the complete unit here.

WHY is breaking apart important?  When students use the breaking apart strategy, they are decomposing numbers by place value. This help helps strengthen mental computation, builds number sense and solidifies foundational place value skills. It also serves as an efficient method to double-check solutions as students.

HOW do I teach breaking apart? Teach breaking in isolation first so that students become familiar with the process of decomposing numbers. After proficiency is demonstrated, students can apply this strategy with story problems.

WHEN should I use breaking apart? This is an ideal strategy for developing mathematicians who have a solid place value and number sense foundation. It is most effective to introduce the breaking apart strategy after students are proficient with the hopping strategy since hopping requires place value identification and decomposition skills.

Provide place value and expanded notation practice. Students need a strong place value foundation to decompose or break apart numbers.  Provide regular practice through center games and kinesthetic activities. Simple games such as “Race to 100” where students roll dice and add numbers using place value manipulatives are engaging and effective.  This game is the perfect addition to weekly math centers.

Act out the problem.  Increase students’ understanding of the mathematical context by acting out the story problem.  Students also love to show their badger fangs when they break apart the numbers.

### Say Hello to Hailey Hopping Hare

I’m Hailey the Hopping Hare, I’m the skip-counting master.
This is a skill that helps to count things faster;
Learn to count up or down by a number other than one.
Quick like a bunny, you soon will be done.
Keep in mind that skip counting is repeated addition.
Moving swiftly through problems is my main mission.

WHAT is hopping? Students use place value and number sense to add or subtract numbers. Students first start with the bigger number in the problem; this number is the starting point for hopping. Then they decompose or break apart the second number by place value (into 10’s and 1’s). Depending on the problem, students will either add or subtract, hopping first by 10’s and then by 1’s. Students label numbers above hops to help ensure solution is correct.  Read more about Hailey’s strategy below or download the complete unit here.

WHY is hopping important?  When students use the hopping strategy, they are essentially skip-counting by 10’s and 1’s. This helps strengthen mental computation, builds number sense and solidifies foundational place value skills. It also serves as an efficient method for students to double-check solutions. Furthermore, hopping can easily be extended to larger numbers and multi-step problems because it tracks mathematical thinking and steps taken to complete problem.

HOW do I teach hopping? Teach hopping in isolation first so that students become familiar with the process of identifying larger number and decomposing smaller number by place value.  Use patterned, pre-labeled or open number lines until students can proficiently count and track hops (see examples). After proficiency is demonstrated, introduce an open number line where students determine the starting point then draw and label hops without support.

WHEN should I use hopping? This is an ideal strategy for developing mathematicians who have a solid place value and number sense foundation. It is most effective to introduce the hopping strategy after students become proficient with the counting strategy. When larger numbers are used, students quickly realize that counting becomes inefficient and laborious. Hopping allows students to employ counting skills they are comfortable with, but increases rigor and mathematical practice.

Supply models and provide kinesthetic practice.  Select appropriate number lines according to students’ individual needs. Some students will easily grasp hopping and will be able to use the open number line while others will need the patterned number line to see and count the 10’s and 1’s. Make a large patterned number line for kinesthetic learners and have them physically hop the numbers. Students will not only love this activity, the multi-modal approach reinforces learning.

Make Hailey pointers. Cut out and laminate Hailey patterns and use a hot glue gun to adhere to craft sticks. Students can use a Hailey pointer to hop the numbers in each problem.

Practice skip-counting. Some students struggle with skip counting and could benefit from repeated practice. Chanting by 100’s, 10’s and 1’s while walking in line, calendar time, even clean-up time all serve as great practice opportunities. Be sure to vary starting points so to ensure that students aren’t just counting by multiples of 100’s, 10’s or 5’s. (For example start at 57 and count by 10’s, then switch and count by 1’s.)

Be flexible with students’ hopping methods.  Remember, the whole point of teaching strategies is to help students become fluid, flexible thinkers with deep conceptual understanding. While Hailey teaches students to start with bigger number and hop by 10’s and then 1’s, do not insist that students need to only hop this way. It is imperative to allow them to experiment and try multiple methods in order to find the most meaningful and efficient hopping method for themselves. Some hop to the nearest multiple of 10 and then continue hopping by 10’s, while others hop by all of the 10’s in one hop. Accept all methods if students solve problem correctly, explain method and apply across settings.

### Introducing Daphne Drawing Dragonfly

Hi, I’m Daphne the Drawing Dragonfly.
Draw a mathematical picture to give my strategy a try.
Read the problem and draw what’s going on;
Then write a number sentence for what you have drawn.

Daphne Drawing Dragonfly is our newest animal in our Problem-Solving Pond: A Common Core Math Strategy Unit. The Problem-Solving Pond was created to help teachers overcome Common Core math challenges and employ problem-solving strategies with confidence and fidelity. Daphne’s unit is perfect for general education, special education, RTI and math intervention. Read more about Daphne’s strategy below or download the complete unit here.

WHAT is drawing? Students make a visual representation of the story problem such as a picture, bar model, tens frame or array.

WHY is drawing important? When students use the drawing strategy, they are making a concrete representation, strengthening understanding of the mathematical concepts.  Effective math classrooms include frequent use of pictorial representations to help students process and visualize mathematical concepts learned.

HOW do I teach drawing?Teach students to create neat, organized drawings with labels and numbers. Students will need to be taught the bar model and arrays, but it is best to let students create the pictorial representation that they see and works for them.

WHEN should I use drawing? This strategy is ideal for presenting a new mathematical operation.  Most teachers use this strategy with K-2 mathematicians, but this is also beneficial for older students as it works especially well with money, fractions, ratios and percentages. Drawing is a great way to double-check solutions because the visual representation increases understanding of the problem.

• Create drawing guidelines. As a class, decide important components to include in a mathematical drawing. Possible components include:
• Simple drawings
• Appropriate spacing
• Neat labels (words or numbers)

• Encourage students to use a variety of pictorial representations.  Often students will get in a “strategy rut”, relying on one strategy for many different kinds of story problems. While drawing is an effective strategy for most problems, the type of pictorial representation used depends on the type of story problem.

I get you started on the problem-solving road.
A tally mark is a straight line to show one;
Group tallies into five is how it’s done.
First make four tallies, nice and straight;
Then make a diagonal fifth tally and you’re doing great!

Todd Tallying Toad is our newest animal in our Problem-Solving Pond: A Common Core Math Strategy Unit. The Problem-Solving Pond  was created to help teachers overcome Common Core math challenges and employ problem-solving strategies with confidence and fidelity.  Read more about Todd’s strategy below or download the complete unit here.
WHAT is tallying? Students use tally marks to show the numbers represented in the story problem.

WHY is tallying important? When students use the tally strategy, they learn to count and notate groups of 5, strengthening number sense in the process. Tallying is an easy, quick way to double-check solutions for kindergarten and first-grade students.

HOW do I teach tallying? Teach tallies in isolation first so that students become proficient making neat, organized tally marks. After proficiency is demonstrated, introduce tallying as a problem-solving strategy and teach students to apply within a mathematical context.

WHEN should I use tallying? This is an ideal strategy for beginning mathematicians who are learning to count and record numbers. Tallying is a great way to represent smaller numbers in story problems. Students get comfortable with tallies and will try to apply to larger numbers, making some teachers cringe. Refrain from discouraging use of tallies for larger numbers; students must independently develop understanding that tallying is not an efficient, effective strategy for story problems with larger numbers.

• Supply models and provide kinesthetic practice. Beginning mathematicians often lack dexterous fine motor skills, which can impede formation of neat, straight tally marks. Provide craft sticks, Wikki Sticks or pipe-cleaners (cut in half) and have students make a model of the tallies before drawing them on paper. Allow students to practice kinesthetically in salt or Jell-o trays or trace on bumpy paper. Students can also practice making tallies with Play-Doh.

Include visual support. As beginning mathematicians start to use tally strategy, they need visual support to ensure that tally marks are straight neatly organized into groups of 5.

• Practice counting by 5’s. Some students struggle with skip counting and could benefit from repeated practice. Chanting 5’s while walking in line, calendar time, even clean-up time all serve as opportunities for fun skip counting practice.

### Introducing Clark Counting Crocodile

Start with the largest number, and draw lines for the remaining amount.
Count on for addition, count back for subtraction;

Clark Counting Crocodile is the second strategy animal in our Problem-Solving Pond: A Common Core Math Strategy Unit. The Problem-Solving Pond  was created to help teachers overcome Common Core math challenges and employ problem-solving strategies with confidence and fidelity.  Read more about Clark’s strategy below or download the complete unit here.

WHAT is counting?As students build their number sense and fluency, they are able to solve a story problem with counting.  In this strategy, students will learn to count on for addition and count back for subtraction using a 100’s chart for support as needed.

WHY is counting important?Counting is a crucial strategy because it helps students explore the relationships and patterns between numbers. Students need to recognize the order of numbers so they can understand that it is more efficient to start with bigger number. For example, in order to solve “4+27,” they should start counting from 27 and progress to “28, 29, 30, 31” instead of starting from 4 and progressing to 31, because in the latter case, they would have to count much more, increasing the possibility of errors. Proficient counting lays the foundation for number sense and place value.

HOW do I teach counting? Explain that Clark helps mathematicians solve problems by counting on to find the total or counting back to find the difference.

• Counting on for addition: Students start with largest number in the problem; they put that number in Clark’s mouth and then draw the number of lines for the second number in the problem (if the second number is 14, students would draw 14 lines). Students then label the lines (below the line) and count on, writing each number above the line. Students circle the answer and write equation below to solidify understanding.
• Counting back for subtraction: Students start with the largest number in the problem; they put that number in Clark’s mouth and then draw the number of lines for the second number in the problem (if the second number is 14, students would draw 14 lines). Students then label the lines (below the line) and count back, writing each number above the line. Students circle the answer and write equation below to solidify understanding.

WHEN should I use counting? This strategy isideal for problems that include smaller numbers.  Most teachers use this strategy with K-2 mathematicians, but this is also beneficial for older students as it works for money, multiplication and division (included in unit).

• Create counting bags.  Create counting bags with different numbers of objects in each bag and a set of appropriate number cards. Use common manipulatives such as cubes, beans, tiles for bags. Students also love seasonal items such as conversation hearts, acorns, pumpkins, shamrocks, etc.  Have student count objects in each bag and then select the number card to name that amount. Students can simply place the objects and number card back into the baggie for checking. Mark the bags with letters or shapes for easy checking of student work.

• Provide opportunities for strategy exploration. Allow students to build conceptual understanding by having them solve a counting problem in multiple ways. Students can solve the problem starting with the big number first and double-check solution by starting with the smaller number first. This exploration will guide students to recognize that while it is more efficient to start with the larger number in the problem, number order does not affect the sum. Provide templates with larger numbers; this will help students observe that the counting strategy is not efficient for larger numbers.

### Meet Max Modeling Mouse

Greetings I’m Max the Modeling Mouse.
I solve problems by using things from my house.
Beans, cubes and counters are useful math gear;
Use them to model the problem so it’s clear.

Max Modeling Mouse is the first strategy animal in our Problem-Solving Pond: A Common Core Math Strategy Unit. The Problem-Solving Pond  was created to help teachers overcome Common Core math challenges and employ problem-solving strategies with confidence and fidelity.  Read more about Max’s strategy below or download the complete unit here.

WHAT is modeling?:  Students use manipulatives, counters or drawings to model, or represent the mathematics of the story problem.

WHY is modeling important?: By making a visual representation, students are able to see the situation presented in the problem.  Modeling is critical to student understanding as it allows students to see, feel and process math in a concrete way.

HOW do I teach modeling?:  Select appropriate manipulatives (beans, cubes, coins, place value rods) and make a visual model of story problem.  Write equation below the model to solidify understanding.

WHEN should I use modeling?:

This strategy is ideal for presenting a new mathematical operation.  Most teachers use this strategy with K-2 mathematicians, but this is also beneficial for older students as it works especially well with money, fractions, ratios and percentages. Modeling is a great way to double-check solutions because the visual representation increases understanding of the problem.

• Create rules and expectations. Before introducing manipulatives, establish rules and expectations for use. Explain the mathematicial purpose of them as well as how and when to use them. Practice essential routines such as getting out manipulatives, freezing at teacher’s signal (with hands-off manipulatives) and cleaning up quickly and quietly.

• Prepare manipulative bags. Count out specific manipulatives and store in individual Ziploc bags or small Tupperware containers so they are ready to use at any time.  These individual units can be stored in student desks or in a large container.

• Store manipulatives in a common area. Purchase an inexpensive storage container with shelves and house manipulatives here. Label each shelf and include a picture or glue on an example for student reference.

• Allow time for student exploration and play. Before students use the manipulatives as mathematicians, provide time for exploration and play. This will help students stay focused and use them correctly during math time.

Check out our other Problem-Solving Pond strategy animals coming soon:
–Drawing Dragonfly
–Counting Crocodile
–Hopping Hare
–Tabling Turtle
–Equating Earthworm
–Fact Fluency Fox

### Meet Sally the Sounding Out Snake

“SSSSSSSalutations! I’m Sally the Sounding Out Snake,
Stretch each sound out and a new word you will make
Put them back together in a blend

It is so exciting when beginning readers start to blend individual sounds together to form words.  I remember how thrilling it was when both of my boys started to read in pre-school.  I marked the day in their baby books along with their first words, first steps, and first bike ride without training wheels.

I used Sally the Sounding Out Snake’s poem and graphic organizer to teach them how to segment and blend words for reading and spelling. This tool made reading multisensory as they were able to engage the visual, auditory and tactile senses.  After seeing such success with my boys, we brought Sally into the classroom and created supplemental lesson plans, additional graphic organizers, worksheets, and flashcards.  Our students experienced the same success in the classroom.

Your students can meet Sally too along with our other reading strategy animals in our complete Common Core Guided Reading Strategies Unit.

Individual supplemental Sally Sounding Out Snake units focus on a variety of one-syllable word combinations and are a great supplement to any general education, special education or intervention curriculum. This can be used during whole group, literacy centers, or as independent work.

Aligned with Common Core Literacy Standards in grades K-2, each unit includes the following activities and worksheets:

• Differentiated lesson plans for sounding out words
• Suggestions for use
• 4 Graphic organizers for decoding and spelling
• 7 Phonics worksheets for decoding and spelling
• Word lists for one-syllable words (sorted by vowel type)
• 32 Flashcards and activity ideas
• Sounding Out Snake poster and puppet graphic
• Decoding and Comprehension strategy poster
• 4 Sentence writing worksheets with word banks and editing checklist
• Customizable worksheets to allow for differentiation

Check out each “Common Core Phonics Activities for One-Syllable Words” unit below:

### Cooking in the Classroom

Cooking is a fantastic way to synthesize many skills and concepts. It promotes higher-level thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Since we want our children to function independently as they grow, what better way to develop and foster this than through cooking? Here are some of the benefits cooking provides students:

–Builds math skills (use measurement, fractions, numeric properties, sorting and classifying)

–Strengthens reading skills (teaches recipes and directions; promotes vocabulary development, use of ordinal words and oral expression)

–Creates opportunities for science exploration (use of senses, make predictions, note physical changes, identify foods)

–Promotes social studies and collaborative skills (fosters teamwork and collaboration, recreates family experiences and promotes cultural awareness)

In order to start cooking in your classroom, simply download our Classroom Cooking: Recipes & Functional Text ActivitiesThis unit contains 17 tried and true recipes tied to CCSS; all are connected to literature, focus on holidays or seasons and have accompanying comprehension questions. A parent letter is included to explain unit and request donations.  Bon Appetit!

### Meet Charlie the Chunking Chipmunk

“What’s up? I’m Charlie the Chunking Chipmunk.
Look for little words or sounds that you know,
Put them back together as a word and you’ll be the star of the show!”

Moving from decoding one syllable words to two and three syllable words can be very challenging for many students.  As students begin reading multi-syllabic words, it is important for them to know how to break words into units larger than individual sounds.  Charlie the Chunking Chipmunk gives students the skills and practice they need to become efficient at decoding longer words.

My students love when I bring out Charlie!  When using his strategy, they feel confident and encouraged to read “big” words in isolation and in context.  Our complete, 130 page, phonics unit includes activities, worksheets, and printables for the following syllable types: Closed, closed with blends, vowel-consonant-e, -le, open, r-controlled, digraphs and diphthongs. This unit is great for guided reading, intervention, independent review, reading centers and homework.

Aligned with Common Core Literacy Standards in grades K-3, this unit includes the following activities and worksheets:

• Differentiated lesson plan for chunking multisyllabic words
• Suggestions for use
• Graphic organizers for two and three syllable words
• Phonics worksheets for decoding two syllable words
• Word lists for multisyllabic words with various syllable patterns
• Flashcards and multi-sensory activity ideas
• Chunking chipmunk poster and puppet graphic
• Decoding and Comprehension strategy poster
• Sentence writing worksheets with word banks and editing checklist
• Customizable worksheets to allow for differentiation

Complete Unit Preview

### Why? The Simple, Yet Essential Question

As teachers, we are programmed to listen for the correct answer and are appeased when we hear it, assuming that students understand and are ready to move on. However, this is a serious misconception as students are missing out on a vital opportunity to explain and justify their thinking.  Asking “Why?” provides critical insight to student understanding as students give the following responses:

• A strong explanation that describes process to class
• An inaccurate explanation that shows a student’s misunderstanding or inability to justify an answer

Besides assessing understanding, asking “Why?” provides students with opportunities to:

• Notice mistake(s) and self-correct the answer
• Reveal mistake(s) or misunderstanding shared by the class
• Take risks and build confidence
• Strengthen communication skills
• Give alternate explanations
• Summarize explanations given by other students

Including this simple question has major consequences: it promotes a language-rich classroom; supports inquiry-based instruction; and builds classroom community.

Asking good follow-up questions can open the door “why-d” to learning.

Download our FREE Essential Questions & Prompts, a sneak peek at our upcoming Common Core Problem Solving Unit.

Science projects are the perfect way to promote inquiry-based thinking, teach critical Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and motivate the most reluctant learners. Science projects allow students to: participate in shared research and writing projects; gather information from provided sources to answer questions; participate in collaborative conversations; and describe the connection between a series of scientific ideas or concepts.

1. Select an engaging project that aligns with CCSS. My second grade class loves insects and they are required to study life cycles. So I created a life cycle of a painted lady butterfly unit for them.Older students can choose their projects to increase engagement and ownership.
2. Set up a science center in the classroom. I created a large bulletin board complete with science project question, hypotheses graph, calendar to track observations and a vocabulary graphic organizer. I also selected a wide variety of nonfiction text (correlated to my students’ current reading levels) to use during reading group and read-aloud time. During observations, students go to a small circular table to observe the caterpillars and record results in their science journals. Magnifying glasses, rulers, pencils and crayons are available at this table to assist with journaling.
3. Encourage dramatic role play. Scientists wear lab coats while working, why shouldn’t the students? I borrowed 5 white dress shirts from my dad, the perfect sized “lab coat” for my second grade students, rolled the sleeves and hung up at the science center. While students work at this center, they are allowed to wear the “lab coats” and they absolutely love it. They really focus on their work and are very precise and detailed with daily journal entries. I take pictures and use them for the interactive bulletin board (see below) and put one copy on the inside of the each student’s journal.
4. Create an interactive bulletin board. My students had several questions about caterpillars and butterflies and were eager to learn the answers. I used these questions to make a scientific bulletin board. First I made magnifying glasses using brown construction paper handles, green paper plates (from Target) and a white construction paper magnifying glass lens. We brainstormed and recorded a list of questions together and then I partnered students to record and answer questions. One student wrote the question on the handle of the magnifying glass, the other wrote the answer on the white magnifying lens and glued inside the green plate. I added their pictures on top and displayed on a prominent bulletin board.
5. Hold a science fair. When the experiment is over, students can make personalized invitations for families (and possibly other classes) to come learn about the scientific findings. During the science fair, students can share journals and science report as well as show specimens and other related projects. I always put out refreshments (cookies and juice) to create an inviting atmosphere.

### Going Batty!

Halloween is just around the corner and kids are focused on costumes, candy and creepy creatures–it’s enough to make you batty! Use this “Stellaluna” and Nonfiction Bat Unit to engage all learners while teaching critical Common Core Reading, Writing and Science standards. In this unit, students will:
–Retell “Stellaluna”
–Compare and contrast characters
–Identify cause and effect
–Make text connections
–Pair fiction/nonfiction books (twin texts) to increase comprehension and build nonfiction reading skills
–Identify and use text features to locate important information
–Participate in shared bat research
–Plan, draft, edit and publish bat report on enlarged bat (teachers can hang from ceilings)

Supplemental homework and cooking activities are included as well.
A literature list and directions for making a classroom “Bat Cave” for classroom are also provided.
***Common Core Standards are listed next to each activity.

### Letterman to the Rescue!

Children love superheroes so what better way to engage them in writing than with a Friendly Letter Superhero? In this customizable unit, Letterman comes to visit each day, bringing a letter that teaches a specific friendly letter skill. He leaves colorful L’s on the classroom door to signal his visits. Children truly believe in him and even your most reluctant learners will get excited about writing!

This 66 page unit includes:
–Suggestions for use with pictures of letter bulletin boards and work samples
–Common Core standards for grades K-3
–Big ideas and essential questions
–11 detailed lesson plans to teach unit
–Accompanying letters and activities for each lesson plan (Letters can be modified according to date unit is taught, teacher’s name, children’s interests, etc.)
–Stationary
–Pre-and post-assessment
–Rubric
–2 different Letterman templates
–Colorful L’s to leave around room
–Letterman awards

This is a great Back to School unit; through letter writing, children will learn about each other and build classroom community.

### Discover The Reading Teacher Within You

Does the thought of reading groups make you shudder? Unfortunately for many teachers, the answer is yes. Teachers simply don’t have the necessary resources needed to meet the diverse academic needs of students. Available resources are usually old, outdated basal readers and accompanying workbooks, none of which is engaging, differentiated or aligned to Common Core.

This bundle includes:
-Common Core Guided Reading Strategies Unit
-Common Core Phonics Intervention for Multisyllabic Words
-Sight Word Intervention Bundle
-Reading Comprehension and Fluency Flash cards
-Fluency and Retelling Rubric

### NEW! Hazel’s Reading Roost Visits the Black Lagoon

Are you looking for an engaging literature study aligned to Common Core Standards? Do your students need motivation to read and write? If so, Hazel’s Reading Roost Visits the Black Lagoon is the unit for you!

In this 80 page unit, students use Hazel’s Woodland Strategy Animals (Sharon, Summarizing Squirrel, Quinn, Questioning Quail, Chloe, Connecting Coyote and many more) to analyze Black Lagoon structure along with key literary elements. This unit includes specific lessons/activities aligned to Common Core Standards including:
–Comparing and contrasting
–Sequencing
–Making text connections
–Retelling
–Analyzing character traits
–Reading twin texts (nonfiction lagoon texts)
–Reading functional text (two Black Lagoon recipes)
–Planning, drafting, editing and revising new Black Lagoon story (detailed rubric included)
–Sorting words into parts of speech lagoons

This unit also includes a parent letter introducing the unit, homework and center activities and two Black Lagoon comprehension tests. Check it out on our Teachers Pay Teachers page ! http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Black-Lagoon-Literature-Study-Aligned-to-Common-Core-Standards