Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How's It Hangin'???

My daughter loves playing with clothespins.  It is great fine motor practice, so I turned it into a math game.  I created a set of centers,
games, and printables called "How's It Hangin?"  Students are able to move around and place numbers in the correct order.  I included numbers 0-20, but you can use whatever your students need.  I put a clothesline between two chairs, but you can also place the clothes in order on the ground. 

I included clothespin clip art with numbers and addition sentences on them.  You can use these clothespins and place them on the clothes, or write the numbers and addition sentences on actual clothespins.  Students can work on numeral recognition and matching, putting numbers in order, and decomposing numbers.
When I work with students who are just learning their numbers, or have difficulty with fine motor skills, I use a light colored marker to write the number or letter in the correct formation.  The student will trace right over the marker.
In the packet, I included clothespins with addition sentences on them.  You can print out the clothespins, or simply write them on real clothespins.  Some students are able to use mental math to solve the addition sentences.  Others may need manipulatives to help them solve the addition sentences.  Students will match the addition sentences to the clothes item with the correct sum.
Here we are using a ten frame on a cookie sheet with magnetic two-sided counters.  You can get the template here.  Students can use the counters to count out the number on the shirt and design their own addition sentence.  They can play with the counters to find an addition sentence.
When we worked with numbers 11-20, I included two ten frames.

I also included an extension worksheet for decomposing 10.  You can get a free copy here.  I wanted to play with some fun ideas to decompose 10.
I created a fun manipulative with a hanger, some paper towel rolls, tape, a clothespin and some bright paper.  You can find the detailed instructions here.  Cheap and easy!  The paper towel circles slide easily on the hanger and the clothespin with the addition sign puts a distinct space between the two sets of numbers.  The fun starburst at the top, lets kids know that they will always be working with 10.
I also created a large 10 frame, by hot gluing plastic cups to a foam board.  You can see detailed instructions here.  Students are able place unifix cubes (or any manipulative that you choose) to make different addition sentences.  I made sure that there were 10 unifix cubes for each color.  Students are able to experiment to create different addition sentences for 10.
We combined the two sets of math manipulatives to decompose 10 in three different ways.  It really seemed to click with some of the kids that I work with.  They were able to physically move the paper towel rolls across the coat hanger AND then they were able to physically separate the two sets by clipping the clothespin between them.  To tie in the idea of the ten frame, we had the large ten frame with unifix cubes.  It seemed to help that there were 10 unifix cubes of each color placed on each side of the ten frame.  Every time we did a new problem, we returned the cubes to a ten.  Eventually, one of my kids figured out that we could just change the position of the pink and the green.  He realized that 3+7=7+3!  
I have a "Count the Room" activity included in the pack.  Students are able to walk around the room to find the letter on their recording sheet.  When they find the letter, they count the objects on the card.  You choose the skill that you would like the students to work on, including: writing the number, tally marks, or circles on a ten frame.
 There is an "I can" direction card for each skill.
 I have included cards with numerals, ten frame cards (for subitizing), ten frames, and tally marks.  You can use these in so many ways.  You can use them to sort on the "Laundry Sorting Mat", so that students are able to identify the different ways that a number can be represented.  You can play memory with two sets of cards.  You can use them as flash cards.  Really, you can use them in so many ways.
 There is also an ordinal number part to the pack.  I have included an "I can" picture direction card, anchor charts for 1st-5th and for 1st-10th.  There are extension worksheets where students follow the directions.  They are asked to color shirts a specific color, based on their ordinal number.
 I also included laundry sorting mats with clothing manipulatives.  Students will identify the numeral and count out the appropriate number of clothes to put "in" the basket.  There is an extension worksheet where students write the matching numeral on the shirt and another where students draw the matching number of socks next to the numeral.
Thanks for taking a peek at my "How's It Hangin'?" pack.  I hope that you can find something useful to use in your class.  To find out more about how I made my decomposing 10 hanger and huge ten frame click here.

Hope you found some useful ideas!  I would love to hear your ideas on building a stronger number sense in children.  Leave me a comment on how you build number sense with your students and get a chance to win "How's It Hangin'?"  I will choose a winner on Thursday morning 2/28/14!

Thanks for joining me!


  1. I LOVE the hanger idea! What an inventive way for the children to see that the "10" will always be the same but how it decomposes can be different! This week we have been "counting the room" by base 10. We are doing numbers 10-20 as well as base ten from 10-100. It is amazing to see how this info clicks with the kinders…we have heard this week, "hey, 14 is really just a ten and then 4 extras!" I am hoping that when we get to decomposing numbers 11-19 that counting the room by base 10 has set a stronger foundation for decomposing! I can't wait to try your hanger idea! I can't believe how much more I love math this year with the support of all of you wonderful bloggers!

    1. Your comments made my day! Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know. I would love it, if you would let me know how the hanger works!
      So awesome that it is clicking!
      I am such a fan of math. I love figuring out how I can break every skill down into a concrete activity. I am so glad that some of my ideas help other people, too!


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