Math Empowers Grade 1

Middletown Township Public Schools

First Grade: Second Trimester: 2017-2018

Composing Numbers: ALL YEAR LONG!

Think first graders are beyond basic number composition and simple Shake & Spills? Second and third grade teachers would tell us that most of them are not! And why stop when we can SO EASILY DIFFERENTIATE for the most struggling and the most advanced learners with this simple activity!
  • LEVEL to each learner by selecting the most appropriate # of counters in their cup.
  • LEVEL UP and work with DOUBLES FACTS by writing a little 2 on a bunch of counters and letting students work with doubles to 20!
  • LEVEL UP by giving students plastic dimes in their cups! (gradually learning how to transfer ways of making 10 into ways of making 100 while reinforcing coin amounts)
  • LEVEL UP the most advanced students by giving them plastic nickels in their cups! GAME ON!

Speaking of games, here is a Winter Olympics Shake & Spill with bar model recording sheets and recording sheets with the equal sign first.

Number Talks: A Simple yet Sophisticated way to Develop Number Sense in your First Graders!

Number sense is the ability to interact with numbers flexibly and conceptually. Building and strengthening number sense is crucial to making important connections within math at all levels. First grade might seem young to discuss sophisticated strategies and number properties, but NOW is when incredible and long-lasting ideas (and misconceptions) about numbers are forming... every day! Now is the time to inspire curiosity and reflective thinking in our little ones!

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Growth Mindset with ClassDojo

Interested in motivating your students to adopt a growth mindset? ClassDojo and Stanford's PERTS Research Center teamed up to create the the first season of The Mojo Show. The five-episode video series (along with a few incredible activities) highlight the power of having a growth mindset, and how any student can learn this skill!


Click here to view a great starting activity called "Your brain is like a muscle."


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  • Read Carol Dweck’s “The Perils and Promises of Praise” article here.

    • The wrong kind of praise creates self defeating behavior.

    • The right kind of praise motivates students to learn.

    • When students believe that they can develop their intelligence, they focus on doing just that.

Math Instruction Resource Document

Be sure to explore the Math Instruction Resource Document while planning lessons. Over 100 new links were added last year! Have you used Paint the Squares yet? Where you can use different colors to mark patterns on the hundred chart? What a great way to play "Guess My Number!" A simple game that reinforces math vocabulary and understanding in a fun way! Play a quick round as a transition between recess and the next activity!


  • DID YOU KNOW... that the resource doc has a freestanding column on the right side of the first grade page... that offers NUMBER SENSE & BIG IDEA links to consider all year long?
  • DID YOU KNOW... that the resource doc has a page for NUMBERLESS WORD PROBLEMS! (And First Grade has the MOST!)
  • DID YOU KNOW... that the resource doc has a link to Number Pieces, digital place value blocks and Number Rack, a digital Rekenrek beads which are fabulous for modeling counting by tens and ones... adding ten more and ten less... and seeing the BIGGEST IDEA IN PLACE VALUE... which is the WORTH or VALUE of a unit. The idea of 3 tens being worth 30 is something with which we need lots and lots of time and experiences! In addition to asking, "How many tens?" We must also ask, "What are these tens worth? What is the value?" We must also discuss value and worth in terms tangible things that little ones appreciate.

Questions, concerns, resources to share? Contact:

Kristine Venneman

Elementary Mathematics Specialist

Bayview Elementary School