Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fabulous Finds!

I am linking up with Christy and Tammy from Fluttering Through First Grade for their Fabulous Finds Linky Party.  It's a great way to share new ideas and resources for the new year.  Flutter on over to check out the other finds and to share your own.

I went to a math professional development workshop last week and came out with some awesome new ideas for materials.  The best part is that they are cheap and easy to make.

Hype Highlighters 
I found this huge pack of highlighters on sale at Staples.  I plan to use them and have the kids use them for a variety of reasons e.g. sight words, writing etc.  However, I am most excited about using them to label my math cards!

As a second year teacher, I was apparently oblivious to this fabulous idea, until I came across highlighted tens frames cards at the math workshop.  I studied the edges of the cards and quizzically asked my colleague, "Those are cute, but what's the point?"  She just looked at me and laughed.  

She then let me in on the greatest idea since personal can highlight the edges of cards, so that the decks stay together!  

No more homeless cards laying forlornly on the floor until they get shoved into another box that probably isn't the right one.  Now, all the cards are color coded, so the students can keep them together (in theory).  If you can't already tell, I am very excited about this idea!

Here's how my first sets turned out.

Huge Foam Dice

I found these at Dollar Tree and thought they were too cute not to buy.  My thoughts were that cool, colorful dice might jazz up old dice games, and that they should not go flying across the room into dark corners where I can never find them.

Last, but certainly not least.

Base 10 Binder Rings

 This was another FANTASTIC idea that I got from the math workshop.  Our district math specialist explained that she was trying to make number bracelets with pipe cleaners, but ran out of pipe cleaners and had to use binder rings instead.  Voila!  A great new manipulative was born.  All you have to do is get pony beads (cheap at Walmart or craft stores) and binder rings (Staples or another office store).  Put ten beads on each ring to serve as tens and leave the others loose to serve as ones.  I suppose you could even link 10 rings together to make 100!

I love these because they are small and fit more easily on a place value chart.  Plus, they allow kids to see tens and ones in a different way, so that they apply the concept more broadly.  I also use straws, popsicle sticks, base 10 blocks, and unifix cubes.

The only warning I have for these is that the beads are small and might get lost easily, so I have only been using them in small groups.  That way I can yell calmly ask students to pick up the beads that spill.  Plus, I can be sure that the kids are not opening up the rings to take apart the tens.  I might end up using tape or hot glue to seal the rings shut.

Well, those are my Fabulous Finds!

Let me know what you think and share your own ideas in a comment!


  1. Becky these are Fabulous Finds with a capital F! We've always labeled our cards but not with highlighters-duh! They're so pretty and makes so much sense. Love the ideas!

    Thanks so much for linking up with us!
    ~Christy & Tammy
    Fluttering Through First Grade

    1. Glad you liked them. Thanks for hosting the linky party. :-)

  2. Love the base ten rings! I have a bunch of those rings. I use them for sight words. Now I have a math use of them too! Thanks!
    The Lightbulb Lab

    1. Glad you liked the idea. So far I am loving using them, so I bet you will like them too.

  3. LOVE LOVE LOVE all of these ideas! Thank you for sharing! I WANT those dice!! REAL BAD! :)

    1. Hahaha! Hopefully they have them at a Dollar Tree near you. They are super cute and I almost couldn't stop myself from buying even more than I did.

  4. Ok---this post is chuck full of good ideas! I love the foam dice as well! They are so quiet (my favorite part) and the kids love the size. But the rings for the beads and the highlighted cards...never thought of those ideas! Thanks so much for sharing.

    Newest follower!!!


    1. Glad you found some ideas you like. Thanks for following!