## Tuesday, February 17, 2015

### Freebie February -- Have You Heard the Buzz?

Now that Valentine's Day and Presidents' Day have been crossed off the calendar, it's about time to think about March and spring. Even if it never got out of the teens in temperature today here in the Midwest. Or, maybe BECAUSE it never got out of the teens today. Regardless, here's the buzz about Freebie February for today.

Grab your copy of How Many Ways? -- March Edition and prepare to watch your students think more deeply, more fluently, and more flexibly. If How Many Ways? are new to you, you are in for a treat.

Treat #1: This activity is an interactive bulletin board that stays up ALL month. All you have to change are the target numbers and math operations you would like your students to use.

Treat #2: This activity provides instant differentiation.  Yay!  Your highest functioning students can use the operations appropriate for them, while those who need more practice with a particular operation, can focus on that. You can  increase the challenge by requiring that the numbers used touch each other, as in Boggle(TM). Algebraic expressions are applicable.  It even works for pre-K and K students since 1 option is to simply count to the target number. One set of shamrocks includes counting dots just for this purpose.

Treat #3: Students can work on this activity in many ways. It's absolutely perfect for fast finishers because it's open-ended and on-going. Use it for an anchor activity as students arrive each day. They can be engaged while still at their seats so you can get attendance, lunch count, and other necessary chores completed. As a sponge activity, it is simply superb. Spend those odd few minutes checking the equations your students have created. You can stuff lots of great learning into your discussions of the equations; not just checking their accuracy, but the uniqueness, creativity, and complexity. Magnificent as a math center, students can readily work independently at this center, freeing you to work with small groups.  Or, a small group could work under your tutelage for intervention and/or review at this center.

Treat #4: It's CCSS aligned for you with standards applicable to every elementary grade level. Even the description of the standard is included.

Treat #5: Inherent in this activity are higher order thinking skills. Your students must think critically and creatively. The best treat of all is that your students will be challenged in multiple ways.

Treat #6: Children love it.

If you love this activity, you can use it throughout the year.  These are the versions available: