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3 Simple Math Ideas for the First Weeks of School


Looking for math ideas for the first weeks of school? These activities are perfect for kids in 2nd and 3rd grade. Includes activity ideas, free printables, and tips for implementing. Click to learn more!
Hey Super Teacher!

Back to School time is upon us! Whether you go back this week (I'm talking to you Colorado friends) or not for a few (lucky Michiganders), here are 3 math activities you can use on the first weeks of school (recommended for 2nd-3rd grades). 
1. Pentominoes - These are my go to Day 1 math activity!  I would HIGHLY recommend purchasing a class set if you are able.

Show students the book Chasing Vermeer (this mystery book has a pentomino by name chart and hidden pentominoes on the cover) and then see if students can figure out how the pentominoes are named (spoiler alert: it's by letters of the alphabet).

Then let them try to make squares and rectangles using as many pieces as they can. (Amazon affiliate links above)
Pentominoes are a super fast finisher that all students can use (and love), so not only do you have a fun first day math activity, you are also introducing a fast finisher students will have available to them all year.  During these first weeks of school it's pretty much priceless to have a "go to" fast finisher ready on Day 1!
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Having a bad day? Go to Australia. A Simple Classroom Management Idea

Need an easy classroom management idea for the elementary classroom? Use Australian Flags along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as a classroom management strategy.  Would work great in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grade.
This idea goes along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and comes from a fantastic college professor of mine.  In his room, he had a table reserved as "Australia".  If one of his students was having a bad day they could go work at the Australia table for a few minutes until they were feeling better.

Don't have room for an entire Australia table?  No worries! Just use mini Australian flags.  You can either stack them on a counter or put them on your white board.  Not much room needed at all. 

Not only is this a simple management tool you can use all year, it's a perfect mini-lesson and read aloud for the first week of school! 2 birds one stone!
 Need an easy classroom management idea for the elementary classroom? Use Australian Flags along with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as a classroom management strategy.  Would work great in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grade.

Here's what you do:
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Differentiate for Advanced Learners with Exclusive Math Challenges

Hey Super Teacher!

It's officially time to start talking about school again.  If you're up for some back to school talk or even if you're not (I totally feel ya), then you might be interested in checking out this exclusive math freebie.
Challenge your advanced mathematicians without breaking a sweat! Use these FREE math challenge and brain teaser activities to challenge your elementary students. These versatile problems can be used as math centers, morning work, centers, small group activities, problem of the week, or as part of a larger problem solving unit! Perfect for advanced kids in 2nd and 3rd grade. Click over for the free printables!
Back to school time is always tricky, attempting to meet every students' needs while you're just trying to get to know the kids and teach bathroom procedures.  I've found that math challenges can be a simple solution for advanced math kiddos who start looking bored on day 2. {or whose parents approach you at Back to School Night telling you their sweetie will be bored on day 1} #youknowtheones #happybacktoschoolnight

This exclusive freebie includes 5 math challenges and brainteasers you can't find anywhere else that can help you get started personalizing math instruction for your advanced mathematicians
 
Sign up below to get the exclusive math challenges and an e-mail series with some tips and tricks to start differentiating right out of the gate.  PLUS there just might be another cool editable freebie in your future (hint, hint).  Just sign up and then check your e-mail for the freebie!



Have a fab day Super Teacher!
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The Birthday Committee - Manage Student Birthdays with Ease

Never forget a student's birthday with the birthday committee! A simple and creative idea to put students in charge of birthday celebrations so you can keep teaching!

Truth:  I have a secret teacher fear that I will forget a child's birthday.

By the time you finally get your class list (Doesn't it feel like it takes forever?!) birthdays are the last thing on your mind!  You're scrambling to label popsicle sticks, job boards, folders, cubbies, coatroom hangers, mail boxes, desks, and basically anything else that will sit still.  #mustlabelallthethings
Never forget a student's birthday with the birthday committee! A simple and creative idea to put students in charge of birthday celebrations so you can keep teaching!
While you're fretting about fonts, creating curriculum calendars, and sweating bullets about Back to School Night bulletin boards, there's always one or two cuties with August birthdays that are just ready to sneak up and make you feel like an absolutely awful human!

No more worrying I say!  The birthday committee is here to save the day!

Getting your birthday box ready for the birthday committee is one super easy way to feel productive this summer!  You can get everything you need during a grocery trip to Target or from your couch on Amazon.
The birthday committee!  A super  simple strategy to put students in charge of birthday celebrations.  Get The BIrthday Committee started in your classroom and never fear forgetting a childs birthday again!
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End of the Year fun with Wonka Week

Ideas for Wonka Week using golden ticket freebie - perfect for the end of the year!
A Golden Ticket Freebie PLUS Ideas for Wonka Week integrating Wonka and candy fun into instruction.  Great for any time you need to mix up your classroom management!
Wonka Week is my favorite go-to end of the school year activity, but it works equally well the week before Spring Break or any other time you're anticipating squirrely children and need something a little different to calm the masses.  

If you have extremely excited kiddos and need a little something new, try out Wonka Week using Golden Tickets for Classroom Management

Here’s what you need to do:
Buy: a bag or two of small wrapped candy bars (not the vacuum sealed kind – the wrapped in foil-lined paper kind), and 10-15 candy bars or other "big" prizes.  I get my candy bars here on Amazon and buy the large prizes at a Dollar Store.
A Golden Ticket Freebie PLUS Ideas for Wonka Week integrating Wonka and candy fun into instruction.  Great for any time you need to mix up your classroom management!
Print: the Wonka Tickets on yellow/gold paper.
A Golden Ticket Freebie PLUS Ideas for Wonka Week integrating Wonka and candy fun into instruction.  Great for any time you need to mix up your classroom management!
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April Math Challenge Freebie-Chocolate Bunny Math

It's April!  Get ready for testing, Cadbury eggs, and maybe even Spring Break (lucky)!
Need some free Easter math printables? This April Math Challenge freebie includes 2 leveled chocolate bunny themed math challenges, answer keys, and lined pages for students to write about the strategies they used to solve the problem(s).
This April Math Challenge freebie includes 2 math challenges, answer keys, and lined pages for students to write about the strategies they used to solve the problem(s).  These are similar problems on two different levels, so hopefully all of your students can find one of the problems to be an appropriate "just right" challenge.  Just hop on over to my store to get the freebie.  I hope you enjoy!

Need more math challenges?  I'm currently working on monthly math challenge sets for every month of the school year!  My newest April Math Challenges & Brainteasers includes 25 math problems with spring and April holiday themes like: Easter, April Fools' Day, eggs, bunnies, candy, rain, baseball, lambs, and Spring Break.
25 April themed math challenges.  April themes include: bunnies, eggs, Easter, baseball, lambs, flowers, Spring Break, and April Fools'
If you want even MORE ALL of my math challenges are now available in a GROWING BUNDLE!  If you want EVERY math challenge & brainteaser I have made (or will make in the future) you can get them here.  When completed this bundle will be priced at $88 for all 17 Math Challenge & Brainteaser packs that will be included, but is now on sale for less than $60.
 Tons of math printables you can use for homework, fast finishers, math centers, morning work, or enrichment contracts! A growing bundle of math challenges for grades 2-4 includes math challenges for every month of the school year!
Hope you enjoy.







If you would like to have Super Teacher ideas delivered right to your inbox, please sign up for my newsletter to get exclusive freebies, and practical classroom tips and tricks to save you time and make learning fun!

 
*If you like my blog please consider using the affiliate links above for your online shopping. This means when you click on these links I earn a small percentage of any purchases you make, but the prices stay the same for you. Thanks for helping to support my blog!*
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Pi Day Easy Peasy Activity - Plus a March Math Freebie

Here's a quick Pi Day activity for 3.14.17 if you need something fun to introduce or celebrate the day.  All you need is yarn, scissors, and round things.  Every classroom has those right?!

First, have students choose a round object.
Next, students wrap the yarn around the circumference of the round object and cut the yarn to show one measurement around their object.
Now have students take this long piece of yarn and see how many times they can measure the diameter of their circle.  They will cut a piece of yarn for every diameter they measure.
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Olivia The Pig - Book Character Costume How To

A simple idea for a teacher Halloween costume! Be Olivia for Halloween! Put together your own book character costume with just a dress, ears, and tights. Click for links and instructions. The ears are my fave!
I promised my husband if I bought this cute red dress I would wear it over and over again.  So, not only is Olivia the pig my favorite Halloween costume, it will now be my go-to March is Reading Month character costume too.  Want your own Olivia costume?  Here's all you need to do:

Step 1: The Dress
I don't sew, but I am an avid online shopper.  Pretty sure any red dress will do, but I saw this one on ModCloth and fell in love.  The dress is called Looking to Tomorrow.  Just click on the links or the picture below and it should come right up!  
A simple idea for a teacher Halloween costume! Be Olivia for Halloween! Put together your own book character costume with just a dress, ears, and tights. Click for links and instructions. The ears are my fave!
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Prep for Valentine's Day with February Printable Freebies

Prepping for Valentine's Day?  If so, check out this February Fun Stuff Freebie.  It includes two math challenges you can use for morning work/homework/math centers, a Valentine's Day Make-Your-Own Word Find and a Valentine Candy ABC Brainstorm activity.  I find that second and third graders can talk about candy forever, so the ABC activity, although simple, is always greatly helpful as we celebrate Valentine's Day by inhaling sugar in its various forms.
A freebie with 4 printables for Valentine's Day for the grade 2-4 classroom from I Want to be a Super Teacher!
Need more math challenges?  I'm currently working on monthly math challenge sets for every month of the school year!  These February Math Challenges and Brainteasers include Valentine's Day, Oscars, winter sports, presidents, hundreds day, and candy themes.
Print-and-go math challenges and brainteasers with holiday and winter themes for February! 21 math printables with answer keys you can use for math groups, homework, fast finishers, holiday centers, or whole class problem solving. February themes include: Valentine's Day, winter sports, candy, The Oscars, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and hundreds day. Recommended as a challenge for grades 2-3.
Happy Valentine's Day!
*If you like my blog please consider using the affiliate links above for your online shopping. This means when you click on these links I earn a small percentage of any purchases you make, but the prices stay the same for you. Thanks for helping to support my blog!*
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Super Bowl Football Math Freebie & Monthly Math Challenges

It's over. I'm in the top four of my annual Colorado teacher friend football pick 'ems.  With only one game left I am officially one spot away from winning any moolah.  Bummer!  Even if you're like me and only pay attention to the NFL to win a bet, your kiddos will most likely be talk, talk, talking all things football for the next week now that the big game is near.
A Super Bowl math challenge freebie for elementary classrooms grades 2-4 reviews addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division skills!
If you need a football themed math activity for your little guys, check out my Super Football Math Freebie.  It's perfect for morning work, homework, or a quick math group.  It's a  review of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Students are given a number of touchdowns, extra point kicks, and field goals and are then asked to find the total score of the football game.  I've used it successfully with my 2nd and 3rd graders (5th graders too, but it's more review than challenge for them), so hopefully it will meet some of your elementary teacher Super Bowl needs.

Need more math challenges?  I'm currently working on monthly math challenge sets for every month of the school year!  My January Math Challenges and Brainteasers include problems focused on winter and January themes like: snow, penguins, polar bears, football, Martin Luther King Jr., snowballs, hot chocolate, and yeti.
Print-and-go math challenges and brainteasers with a winter theme for January! Use these 21 NO PREP math printables with answer keys for math groups, homework, fast finishers, monthly centers, enrichment contracts or whole class problem solving. January themes include: penguins, sledding, Super Bowl, Martin Luther King, yeti, polar bears, and snow Recommended as a challenge for grades 2-3
Already done thinking about January?  These BRAND NEW February Math Challenges and Brainteasers include Valentine's Day, Oscars, winter sports, presidents, hundreds day, and candy themes.
Print-and-go math challenges and brainteasers with holiday and winter themes for February! 21 math printables with answer keys you can use for math groups, homework, fast finishers, holiday centers, or whole class problem solving. February themes include: Valentine's Day, winter sports, candy, The Oscars, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and hundreds day. Recommended as a challenge for grades 2-3. 
Have a great week teachers! 
*If you like my blog please consider using the affiliate links above for your online shopping. This means when you click on these links I earn a small percentage of any purchases you make, but the prices stay the same for you. Thanks for helping to support my blog!*


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Math Challenge Freebie & Math Contracts - Perfect for Fast Finishers, Extensions, or Homework

These free math challenge and brain teaser activities for elementary students can be used for centers, weekly challenges, small groups, or whole class problem solving. Fun for kids and easy for teachers! Perfect for 2nd and 3rd grade.
If you're looking for a few new math printables for fast finishers, homework, math centers, or enrichment menus, try out the Math Challenges & Brainteasers freebie. These 3 free math challenges and brainteasers are meant to be challenges for 2nd and 3rd graders, but have been used in a 5th grade class as reviews and morning work too.
These free math challenge and brain teaser activities for elementary students can be used for centers, weekly challenges, small groups, or whole class problem solving. Fun for kids and easy for teachers! Perfect for 2nd and 3rd grade.
Here are a few ideas for how you might use these in your own classroom:

*Use a challenge or brainteaser as a homework option for students who need a challenge, or let them replace a simple homework assignment with the challenge to show parents how well you’re differentiating. :)

*Use a math challenge or brainteaser as a “number talk” problem to start out your daily math class. Work through it as a class or let students work in partners or small groups to talk through it and solve it together.

*Make a pack of challenge problems for & advanced students to use as a fast finisher or during certain in-class math lessons where they've already mastered the material.

*Give a challenge or brainteaser to a small group of students as one of their independent math workshop rotations or use them with your advanced small math group rotation.

*Use the problems as an independent practice activity during a unit on problem solving strategies or attacking a multi-step problem.

*Keep a stack of challenge problems in your classroom fast finisher area for any student who wants a challenge.

*Choose one or two challenge problems for the month and reward any student who can solve both. You can put these on a bulletin board or have them available as additional incentives.
These free math challenge and brain teaser activities for elementary students can be used for centers, weekly challenges, small groups, or whole class problem solving. Fun for kids and easy for teachers! Perfect for 2nd and 3rd grade.
I'm using these as a challenge for my second graders in the form of math contracts. I have a few super amazing 2nd grade mathematicians who are way ahead of the rest of the class. They have the option of completing math contract work at any time during our independent math time as a replacement for the assignments given to the rest of the class.

Typically at the beginning of the year I have 6-7 students on math contracts and this dwindles to the few who really enjoy the independent challenges and are willing to work through these multi-step problems. Usually by the end of the year there are 2-3 diehard math challenge kiddos who have stuck with the contracts all year.

Math contracts are great to show parents at conferences, especially for those parents who want to see how their child is being challenged. I just print out 5 of the math challenges, add a math contract cover sheet and I'm good to go. Differentiation Complete!

If you haven't already downloaded the freebie which includes 3 math challenges and brainteasers, hop on over to my store and check it out. I hope you enjoy!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Math-Challenges-Brainteasers-GROWING-BUNDLE-Fast-Finishers-HW-Extensions-3086292?utm_source=ST%20Blog&utm_campaign=MC%20Bundle%20MC%20Freebie%20Post
Need more math challenges?  I'm currently working on monthly math challenge sets for every month of the school year! ALL of my math challenges are now available in a GROWING BUNDLE!  If you want EVERY math challenge & brainteaser I have made (or will make in the future) you can get them here.  If purchased separately all 17 Math Challenge & Brainteaser packs that will be included in this growing bundle would cost $112, but they are now on sale for $65 at the TpT store.  The Back to School themed September Math Challenges were just added!  The price of the bundle will increase as soon as the newest set of October math challenges is added by 10/1/17.

Have a fab day super teacher!
These free math challenge and brain teaser activities for elementary students can be used for centers, weekly challenges, small groups, or whole class problem solving. Fun for kids and easy for teachers! Perfect for 2nd and 3rd grade.
If you would like to have a set of 5 EXCLUSIVE math challenges + Super Teacher ideas delivered right to your inbox, please sign up for my newsletter to get exclusive freebies & super classroom tips to save you time and make learning fun!  

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100th Day of School - Free Printables

Is the 100th Day of School coming up super soon for you?  In Michigan we start after Labor Day and usually have a snow day or two thrown into the mix, so we don't usually start decorating hundreds day tees and surfing for freebies until February.  No matter what month you celebrate this very exciting milestone, hopefully this 100th Day Fun Stuff Freebie will be useful.  Need it now?  Just print and goNeed it later?  Just pin it, forget it, and come back next month.
Free Printables for the 100th Day of School including a 100th Day Art Project, a whole class brain break/math activity, and 2 word work center activities from I Want to be a Super Teacher
It includes a 100 Seconds Challenge, 100 Times Spelling, Hundreds Picture Spelling, and 2 templates for Hundreds Day Art.  My kiddos' art projects turned out pretty darn cute last year.
Free Printables for the 100th Day of School including a 100th Day Art Project, a whole class brain break/math activity, and 2 word work center activities from I Want to be a Super Teacher
Free Printables for the 100th Day of School including a 100th Day Art Project, a whole class brain break/math activity, and 2 word work center activities from I Want to be a Super Teacher
Free Printables for the 100th Day of School including a 100th Day Art Project, a whole class brain break/math activity, and 2 word work center activities from I Want to be a Super Teacher
Free Printables for the 100th Day of School including a 100th Day Art Project, a whole class brain break/math activity, and 2 word work center activities from I Want to be a Super Teacher
Free Printables for the 100th Day of School including a 100th Day Art Project, a whole class brain break/math activity, and 2 word work center activities from I Want to be a Super Teacher
Free Printables for the 100th Day of School including a 100th Day Art Project, a whole class brain break/math activity, and 2 word work center activities from I Want to be a Super Teacher
Throw in a hundreds day t-shirt (I got lazy and just glued 100 beads to my Halloween Super Teacher Tee) and I'm all planned for the 100th day.  Hooray!
Free Printables for the 100th Day of School including a 100th Day Art Project, a whole class brain break/math activity, and 2 word work center activities from I Want to be a Super Teacher
Happy Hundreds Day,
*If you like my blog please consider using the affiliate links above for your online shopping. This means when you click on these links I earn a small percentage of any purchases you make, but the prices stay the same for you. Thanks for helping to support my blog!*
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Happy New Year - No Prep Art/Team Building for First Day Back

Word Clouds!  An easy classroom idea you can use anytime, but it's especially great to use after holiday breaks.  Easy with minimal prep!
Need an easy idea to get you pumped (or at the very least to keep you from being horribly depressed) about going back to the classroom after break? We all love children, but we also love sleeping in and sipping our coffee leisurely, all while going to the bathroom anytime we want for two whole weeks! That first day back can be brutal, so let's wade in a toe at a time shall we?
Word Clouds!  An easy classroom idea you can use anytime, but it's especially great to use after holiday breaks.  Easy with minimal prep!
Here's a super simple project you can do anytime during the first day/week back - word clouds.  All you need is paper (Easy!), pencils (You can do this!), and some crayons or colored pencils (Everything will be just fine. You will go to the bathroom at 4 pm.)
Word Clouds!  An easy classroom idea you can use anytime, but it's especially great to use after holiday breaks.  Easy with minimal prep!
1. Have students think about all the things they did during the break and brainstorm this as a list of words (this step is optional, but makes the project take longer - you might need this sort of project when you go back).
2. Have students share the 3-5 most important or exciting words from their list.
3. Now pass out the paper (I like white) and have the kidlets write those 3-5 words nice and big in PENCIL.
4. After the big words, have students fill in the rest of the page with the other words on their list.
5. Have students cut out around the words and voila!  They have a word cloud!
6. Now they can trace their many words in color and even color the background or draw a cloud shape around their words.
7.  Wanna get fancy?  Have students share their word clouds with partners around the room.
8.  Wanna get even fancier and take up lots more time?  Give each student a piece of tape, and have them tape these around the room. Then do a silent art gallery with the word clouds for a few minutes (Oh sweet silence!  You shan't be here again until Spring Break)
Word Clouds!  An easy classroom idea you can use anytime, but it's especially great to use after holiday breaks.  Easy with minimal prep!
DONE!  An easy, as time consuming as you want it to be, art/teambuilding activity you can use first thing you get back with almost zero prep needed.  Another thing I LOVE about this project is it's a way for students to tell their many break stories to students around the room (instead of to me) and display them for all to see.  They love, love, love telling their holiday break stories and I love, love, love having an easy activity for when I need a breather (or even a bathroom break) that first day back!
Word Clouds!  An easy classroom idea you can use anytime, but it's especially great to use after holiday breaks.  Easy with minimal prep!
Good luck this week (or next week if you're lucky!)!  GO, FIGHT, WIN!
*If you like my blog please consider using the affiliate links above for your online shopping. This means when you click on these links I earn a small percentage of any purchases you make, but the prices stay the same for you. Thanks for helping to support my blog!*
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