Recently a teacher left a comment about one of my resources that had me pondering the possibilities. She was searching for “something to inspire struggling” learners. Granted, pencil and paper games and activities are certainly more motivating than practice with flash cards and worksheets but I always find incorporating physical activity into practice and review to be the bee’s knees of motivation!
Imagine the pure joy exuded by a little fellow, new to our school and repeating first grade, when my co-worker and I set up a jungle walk complete with props (think river, rocks, trees, and stuffed animals) through the classroom as a review of positional concepts!
Thinking along these lines, I crafted an activity, Toss It!, for practicing or reviewing adding and subtracting basic facts or multiples of ten. For the do-it-yourself version, you will need paper plates, a marker to write numbers, an object to toss, and number cards.
I chose green paper plates to represent apple trees and blue plates for ponds but you are only limited by your imagination! Dinner-sized plates stayed in place better than luncheon/ dessert sized.
Be sure to try tossing your object beforehand as some will be too bouncy. Beanbags, Koosh balls, Tossimals, and balled-up paper all worked well. You too may find yourself in a toy aisle tossing a few on the floor to see what happens! Lindsy at Preschool Alphabet has directions for creating felt apple beanbags.
This activity is perfect for an individual or small group of students. You can also set up multiple stations (to reduce wait time) so your whole class can participate.
Decide on the equations you want your students to practice. Since I teach facts by mental strategies this is how I did mine. Here are a few examples to get you thinking.
To practice the addition fact strategy of counting up (or on), use number cards 1 to 9. Pick a card. Number one or two sets of plates 1, 2, and 3. Place your plates on the floor or a table. Toss it! Use your two numbers to say or write the addition equation.
You can make this activity as physically easy or challenging as you like by changing the distance between the tosser and the plates. Also, decide if the object must land directly on a plate (or close is good enough) and the consequences if it doesn’t, toss again or lose your turn. Take turns tossing.
Use number cards 3 to 12 to practice the subtraction fact strategy of counting down (or back). Pick a card. Number one or two sets of plates 1, 2, and 3. Toss it! Say or write the subtraction equation.
Choose any numbers between 0 and 10, label your plates, toss it, and double your number to review the addition doubles. You can also say or write the corresponding subtraction doubles equation. If you teach this as halves; label your plates with even numbers between 2 and 20. Toss it! Say or write the equation to subtract half of your number.
Additionally, you can add and subtract two-digit numbers and multiples of ten. You will need a set of commercial or self-made flashcards for the numbers 11-99.
Use number cards 11 to 49 for addition. Pick one. Number your plates with multiples of ten, 10 to 50. Toss it! Say or write your numbers. Add. Substitute number cards 50 to 99 for subtraction.
I’d love for you to share your favorite ways to incorporate physical movement into practice and review activities in the comments below.
Check out this Pinterest board for more apple-themed ideas!