Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Practicing Addition Strategies through Games

Hello!  Welcome to the first iTeachFirst linkup!                         
In these monthly linkups, we will be sharing timely tips, teaching strategies, resources, and some freebies with you.  If you like what you see in this blog post, be sure to follow me (or any of the participating bloggers) and check back at the beginning of the each month for a new link up.  Today, I will be sharing some  free and paid teaching resources with you that I use during November and December to keep the children active and focused on learning math!

I spent November introducing several addition strategies to my students, such as counting on from the larger number, using a number line, using doubles, and doubles plus one.  While most of the children quickly caught on to these strategies, there were a few who struggled with them, and our math text, as is the case with so many texts these days, spent 1 day -- ONE day -- on each strategy.  I know my kiddos need more practice recognizing when to use the strategies and more practice with actually applying the strategies.

Cue the math games!  Every Friday, I pick a fun math game for my students to play that allows them to apply and practice the various strategies.

For Thanksgiving, we used my Turkey Toss game.  It's a ramped up and extra challenge added version of Bump.  The kids love playing it, and I love that they don't even realize they are practicing math strategies.

 Turkey Toss can be played on the SMARTBoard

Or, if you don't have a SMARTBoard, use the PDF version.  I like to play a few times on the SMARTBoard with the whole group, then let them team up and play using the PDF version.

After the fun of playing the game, you can use the included sheets for more practice, homework, or as a summative assessment for acquisition of basic facts.

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, and Christmas is coming, I have a similar game called Elf Toss.
Christmas Elf Toss is a fun and fast-paced Christmas math game played similar to Bump, but with a twist. There are two Elf Toss game boards for differentiated learning. The two-dice gameboard requires the children to add or subtract to place or lock their squares or bump their opponent off a square. It requires strategic thinking to figure out what is the best move.
The second game board uses three dice and is played either like the traditional Bump, or -- I just thought of this -- the children can add or subtract in any combination to get the best strategic move!

After playing the game, you can use the follow-up worksheets for practice, formative assessment, or homework!

 And, as an added bonus, this game also includes a Notebook file for SMARTBoard use!

Let's end with a longtime freebie in my store, another game I developed for practicing addition strategies, in particular the counting on to add strategy.  You can download it from my store by clicking on the cover picture.  Enjoy!

Be sure to check below to see more great ideas from other iTeachFirst bloggers!


  1. Hi Leslie,
    My students love playing math games. We don't have a SMARTBoard, so I usually project the games using the PDF and a document camera. Thank you for the game ideas and FREEBIE. Perfect for planning for December math activities!
    First Grade Schoolhouse

  2. Thank you for sharing these great math ideas, Leslie! I love using the SMARTboard to model games before partner play ... so much easier than trying to gather everyone around while you explain how to play!
    Linda at Primary Inspiration


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