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### Place Value Charts

Its been a while since I last updated this blog, so I am going to do a bit of an 'idea vomit', as I have been stockpiling ideas and just haven't gotten around to getting them up online lately.

In Math we have been looking at place value a fair bit lately, developing their number knowledge. We have been using a lot of concrete materials- beans, iceblock sticks, unifix cubes, money etc. I am now trying to link the more abstract with the concrete- using place value 'house charts', where the children need to image the materials and quickly tell me how many tens/ones are in a number.

Quite frankly, my slow brain does not generate numbers fast enough. The poor thing finds it hard enough to make my body breathe, talk and eat, without generating random numbers for the children to computate. After a while I realised I was using the same digits over and over, and completely forgetting digits like '7'. Poor 7.

In the interest of using completely random two digit numbers, and saving my brain from a complete meltdown, I decided to use dice to generate my numbers. I roll two dice, one goes in the 'tens' column, the other in the 'ones' column. The children then read the number, and tell me how many 'tens and ones' there are in the number. I just love these large foam dice I bought from a local emporium (6 for \$2). Bargain!
Yes, I did realise that these dice only deal with the digits 1-6. So after a while of using the dice, we switched up our equipment to.... playing cards!
I have millions of packets of playing cards in the classroom, they are handy for lots of things (these ones were 50cents a packet at the same emporium.. double bargain!). In this instance, I have removed the tens and picture cards, leaving the single digit cards behind. If you wanted, you could use permanent marker to create your own 'zero' cards too.﻿

The children loved the rapid fire 'game' of name the number, and my brain loved me too. Triple bargain!

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### A Plague Upon All Your Houses

I find Math to be an absolute headache in terms of resource management. There is never enough resources, occasionally too many, and they are often in bad repair. This is why my next few posts are about Math resources. Enjoy! As I teach in NZ and follow the Numeracy Projects, place value houses are a common material to work with. I printed mine off A4 size from http://www.nzmaths.co.nz/sites/default/files/Numeracy/2007matmas/Bk4/MM%204_11.pdf . Each 'house' was copied onto a different coloured paper, and then cut out and laminated. I didn't cut them out again after laminating, as it made it easier to punch a hole in the corner and thread a ring through (are they 'magazine' rings?).  My awesome set can now hang from the wall if there is space. No more scrunching up in the bottom of a drawer! They are also really quick and easy to unclip and use, then pack up again. I started off using a whiteboard pen to write the digits directly onto the laminated charts

### 10 Alternatives to Plastic Counters

Shifting classrooms always requires a scramble to inventory current equipment and to replace those old regulars that you use a lot. I know that almost every classroom must need counters at some point in time! Having a range of alternatives can often pique children's interest, but can be a budgetary stretch at the same time. Here are 10 alternatives that I have rustled up with a minimum cost. 1. Smooth stones come ready made and freely available from your local beach or stony river. Small pebbles are perfect as game tokens, or collected for use in Math lessons. They look great with stickers and glitter glued on and are REALLY durable. However, they can be heavy when stored en masse. 2. Wooden shapes are available in packs of 12-20 from your local dollar shop. These are particularly awesome to use for number stories (i.e. 6 bumble bees were sitting on a flower and 3 flew back to the hive, how many were left?). They are more durable than paper cut outs, intriguing and reasonabl

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Crafting almost always requires glue. Hot glue, paste, PVA... we school teachers love them all. However, they can be a messy wee substance to manage. So here is a teeny tiny tip for keeping your PVA manageable... milk bottle tops! Milk bottle tops are plentiful, free and don't take up much storage space. They are easy to collect, and are darn useful. When using them as mini glue pots, I like them because they don't hold much (less waste), you can throw them out after one use (easy clean-up), and they are easy to prepare, so you can have many of them scattered around the room if necessary. In the photo, I have used cotton wool buds (new ones) as glue applicators, and found them really good. In the past, I have also used scraps of cardboard, strips cut from ice-cream container lids... almost anything, except paintbrushes. Glue tends to ruin paintbrushes very quickly.