Whole Class Multiplication Games

I love using whole class class multiplication games to reinforce times table facts. Any way that you can find to reinforce times table facts in a fun way is ideal for helping your students learn those multiplication facts. Here are four of my favorite whole class multiplication games.

Around the World

One student stand up and is ‘on’. They stand behind the student next to them (who remains seated in their chair). The teacher calls out a multiplication question for the student who is on and the seated student they are standing behind. If the standing student calls the answer out correctly first, they move to stand behind the next student’s chair for the next question and so on, working their way around the other students in the class. If the seated student calls the correct answer out first, they are ‘on’ and they stand up and move to stand behind the next person’s chair for the next question and the standing student takes their seat. My students get super competitive and love to see how long they can be ‘on’ for.

Fizz Buzz

A classic! Choose two times table, i.e. 3x and 5x. Students sit in a circle and take turns to count from 1 to 50 (for example). However, on every multiple of 3, the student must say ‘Fizz’ instead of the number and on every multiple of 5, the student must say ‘buzz’ instead of the number. For every number that is a multiple of both 3 and 5, the student must say ‘Fizz Buzz!’.

Times Table Scavenger Hunt

On a piece of card, write a multiplication question. On another piece of card, write the answer as well as the next multiplication question. Continue until you have around 20-25 cards. Write the answer to question on the final card on the first card, so cards form a continuous loop. Place the cards around a large area  – outside is ideal for this. Students work in small groups of around 2 or 3. They work through the cards, solving the question and searching for the card with the next answer. Students write down the answers in order on a piece of paper. Assign different groups different starting cards, to stagger the movement around the cards.

Multiplication Bingo

Choose a times table, for example, the 3x table. Students choose 5 multiples of 3 (up to 12x 3) and write them on their mini whiteboards. The teacher calls out 3x multiplication questions from 1×3 through to 12×3. Students work out the answer and if they have the answer on their card they can cover with a counter or mark off with their pen. Continue calling the questions from the cards and students continue marking off the answers they have. When a student has all five numbers marked off, they shout out ‘BINGO’. If more than one student calls BINGO, the first student to call it wins! You can grab my Multiplication Bingo Cards here to play whole class bingo with.

They contain bingo cards for times table from the 2x through to 12x tables and includes 40 bingo cards per set – enough for each student in the class!

 

Charlotte’s Web Novel Study Ideas

 

I love teaching novel studies. Using novels in the classroom develops students’ learning and skills in many ways. Reasons to teach novel studies include:

  • Student exposure to plot structure and new vocabulary, which has an enormous impact on their own language development and writing skills
  • Novel studies allow students to experience things they wouldn’t have done otherwise
  • They help students to see events from others’ point of view
  • They allow students to develop understanding and skills to make sense of different situations
  • And, of course, for enjoyment and to promote their love of reading

One particular book that makes a fantastic novel study for elementary students is Charlottes’s Web by E. B. White. This story, in which a spider tries to save the life of a young pig on a farm, covers many important themes including friendship, determination, teamwork and growing up.

Some key activities that I like to use during the novel study include:

Character Studies

Character studies are a key element of a novel study. It is through the characters that the reader experiences the events of the story. I like to get my students to complete character profiles on the key characters including details on personality, relationships with others and how they change and develop as the story progresses. I also like my students to complete character comparisons and think about how different characters react to particular situations in the story.

Setting

I love getting my student to use their senses to describe settings within a novel. I ask my students to image they are on the farm in Charlotte’s Web. What can they see? What can they smell? What can they hear? Charlotte’s Web is great for evoking these senses. This a key opportunity to develop descriptive vocabulary. I have my students work in talk partners to describe the setting verbally before beginning their writing.

Reading Activities

During the novel study, it is important to develop those key reading strategies. My students think about and make connections between the novel and themselves. the world and also other novels. Thinking about cause and effect of key events is also important during the novel study. We also work in summarizing the key events in the chapters within the novel. 

Writing Tasks

This is where the students can really show their creativity and become fully immersed in the novel and really empathise with the characters. Some writing tasks I enjoy doing with Charlotte’s Web include letter writing to key characters, writing instructions on how to make a spider web, exploring dilemmas (should Wilbur continue with his escape or should he return to the barn?), describing how the characters show they are a good friend and writing a newspaper report on the writing in the web.

Vocabulary

In Charlotte’s Web, Wilbur learns many new words from Charlotte. This is a key opportunity for students to find out the definitions of new words they may not have come across before. This includes developing dictionary skills. I also like students to think about the words Charlotte has written in her web and why she has chosen those words to describe Wilbur.

Cross Curricular Activities

A novel study is great opportunity to learn new facts about the subject of the book. In Charlotte’s web, some of my favorite cross curricular tasks include researching the spider life cycle, creating fact files on how to look after a pet and learning about farm animals.

The above are some of the activities that I incorporate into a novel study of Charlotte’s Web. If you’d like to try the activities mentioned, I have saved you the time and effort of creating them with this useful Charlotte’s Web Novel Study Unit.

The unit includes full teaching instructions and ideas for implementing the activities. The novel study also includes activities on character, setting, vocabulary work, reading activities and summarizing.

The novel study also includes multiple choice comprehension quizzes on all chapters in the novel with answers included for you to assess your students’ understanding.

You can grab Charlotte’s Web Novel Study here!

Math Story Books

I really enjoy using math story books to introduce tricky concepts in my lessons. My students find them engaging and they really help to bring concepts to life and put them into context. Here are three of my favorite math story book I like to use in the classroom.

How Big is a Million?

by Anna Milbourne

Skills: Value of large numbers

This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Pipkin the penguin and his quest to discover exactly how big one million is. On his way, he finds ten fish, one hundred penguins and one thousand snowflakes, each one individually illustrated to show students exactly how big these large numbers are. At the end he discovers one million stars, each one of them illustrated on a giant poster. I love using this book to help students grasp the value of large numbers and they find the poster at the end particularly fascinating.

 

One is a Snail, Ten is a Crab

by April Pulley Sayre and Jeffrey Sayre

Skills: Multiplication

Addition facts

I love using this book for investigations. One is a snail, two is a person, four is a dog… this book is all about feet! This book introduces the reader to different characters and their number of feet. It also introduces a number and the possible characters that it could be referring to, i.e. three is a snail and and a person, 20 is two crabs etc. I use this book to reinforce multiplication and addition facts. I give my students a number of feet, i.e. 18, and challenge them find all the different possible combinations of characters whose feet could total this number. Not only is this activity great for reinforcing multiplication and addition facts, it also helps student develop logical thinking and problem solving skills.

 

Spaghetti and Meatballs For All!

by Marilyn Burns

Skills: Area and Perimeter

Mr and Mrs Comfort have invited their family round for spaghetti and meatballs. All 32 of them! Mrs Comfort rents 8 tables to seat her family round, with four seats around each table. However, when the family begin to arrive they begin to push tables together to sit closer to each other, but not all the family will now fit! This book is great for using as a basis for investigating the possible arrangements of the tables, so all the family have a seat. Students can experiment with more than eight tables and find different combinations for the seating plan. It is great for demonstrating that shapes with the same area do not always have the same perimeter. I also like to use manipulatives of card squares to help students in their investigation.

Have you used Math story books in the classroom? I’d love to hear about your favorites!

 

Five Top Tips for a Quiet Classroom

A quiet classroom is one of the key elements for successful learning. Certainly there are activities that require more noise than others, but in this post I am focusing on those situations that require focus and concentration from your students. Getting your class to work quietly can be tough but I hope that these ideas will give you some tips for getting your class quiet, focused and learning!

quiet classroom image

1) MODEL MODEL MODEL!
It was not until a few years into my teaching career that I came across the concept of modelling, but I am so glad I did! It really works. You may be telling your students over and over to ‘work quietly’ or to use ‘inside voices’, but do they really understand what you mean? At the beginning of the year, or whenever they need a recap, show your students exactly what you mean. Run through each voice level expectation (silent, whisper, table talk etc) and demonstrate them to your class. Gather your class and tell them that you are going to demonstrate a voice level expectation. Tell them that you are going to show them ‘silent working’, for example. Pretend you are a student, walk to fetch your work, sit down at a student’s place and begin working silently, eyes on the work, not looking around etc. After your demonstration ask your students what you were doing, not just with your voice, but with your whole body, i.e. were you looking around at other children or were your eyes firmly on your work? After your discussion, ask a volunteer student to demonstrate to the rest of the class. I then usually get a small group to demonstrate before getting the whole class to try it together. Repeat this for however many voice levels you will be using within your classroom to ensure that your students really do know what your expectations are.

2) Play quiet music in the background
I find this particularly useful during silent work. I usually play classical music, meditation music or natural sounds, i.e. waves breaking, rain, jungle noises etc. I find that this calms the class and keeps them focused. Try out different types of music with your class and see what works best.

3) Have a noise monitor on each table
Give a student on each group the responsibility of reminding others to stick to the voice level. The noise monitors will enjoy the responsibility and it will put the responsibility back on the children. When I have used this technique in the past, at the end of the day I awarded the table a who had been the quietest by placing a soft toy on that table the next day for extra motivation stick to the voice level!

4) Quiet Critters
When your class are working silently get out the Quiet Critters! These are simply little pom pom type toys/creatures that I place around the room, or on a shelf when my class are working silently. I tell my class that they do not like noise and only come out when they are working silently. If your class start to talk, put them away. Your class will try extra hard to stay silent so they can see the Quiet Critters come out and stay out!

5) Noise Traffic Lights
When your students are working at the voice level expected display a green traffic light symbol. This could simply be a green circle stuck onto black card. This lets the children know that are working at expectation. If they begin to talk/ get too noisy change the green traffic light to an amber one. Give the children one minute to get back to the expected noise level, in which case you change the traffic light back to green. If however, they do not quieten down, change the traffic light to red. Agree beforehand with the children what the green and red traffic signals mean in terms of consequences and rewards. Red may mean one minute knocked off free time/recess/break time etc. The children could work to stay on green by the end of 10 lessons which could mean an extra 5 minutes of free time/recess/break. This idea could be a lot of work for the teacher in terms of changing traffic light colours but for a particular noisy class it can be great to get them working together for an end goal.