# Focus on Math

## Helping children become mathematicians!

### “Number of the Day” Sheets: Choosing the NumberJanuary 5, 2015

I recently received an email from Stephanie, a grade 2 teacher in Newfoundland, inquiring about choosing the number for the Number of the Day sheets:

“I really love the Number of the Day sheets you have produced and the opportunities for differentiating the instruction. Just wondering how you set this up? Do children do this everyday or on designated days? How do you decide on the number for the day?”

I thought others might be asking this same question, so have decided to post an edited version of my response to Stephanie’s question:

As for setting up the Number of the Day sheets, things are really flexible. There is no one right way — you want what works best for your students and your time constraints. That being said, I have found that if you are able to have the kids do them really regularly (daily if possible) over a good number of weeks, the students are able to really get into the meat of them. By sharing about them after they have worked them, students get to hear what others have tried and will often stretch themselves to try to match what others are doing. They have a chance to really play and explore the number relationships that are brought out in the sheets’ activities.

The number can be picked in a variety of ways — everything from you choosing, a student choosing, drawing a number from a jar or dropping a bean on a 100 chart! Sometime I have chosen specific “repeats” (e.g., every number that week has a 9 in one’s place) sot the kids to see and compare what happens in such cases. What is the same as before? What is different? Or I might pick several numbers within a “decade” (e.g., 33, 37, 31, 35, 38) and again have students compare/contrast over those days.

No matter what number is chosen, one question that is really great to ask is “What do/did you notice?” When that is asked often in the math classroom, students get in the habit of paying attention to details, looking for patterns, making comparisons, and such.

I am happy with random numbers, too, but sometimes choosing numbers with a particular relationship is good so you can really draw out the depth of the relationship.

I hope you will try the Number of the Day sheet(s) with your students. More information about the sheets as well as the downloadable versions, can be found in the links below.

Mathematically yours,

Carollee

Number of the Day Sheets to Download:

Level 1 (English and French)

Level 2  (English and French)

Level 3 (English and French)  (pictured above)

### Breaking Apart Numbers: Practice SheetsMay 27, 2014

I have mentioned before about the importance of breaking numbers apart, of having students understand that every number can be broken into smaller numbers. I have included this practice on all of the Number of the Day sheets (level l, level ll, level lll) that I have posted, but it warrants adding these other sheets that focus on this Whole-Part-Part number relationship.

Regularly practicing this skill can change students’ thinking. They will be much more likely, in any given situation involving numbers, to look for alternative ways of thinking if they have spent time pulling numbers apart in many ways.

Remember, the students are not starting with a new number in every circle. Rather they are using one particular number for a line or for the whole page! In different situations it may be more beneficial to break a number apart in one way than it is in another way.

Mathematically yours,

Carollee

download the breaking into two parts sheet here

download the breaking into three parts sheet here

### Number of the Day – Level IIIMarch 10, 2014

Today I am posting the third Number of the Day sheet. I cannot overstate that I believe that elementary school students should be involved with numbers everyday they are in school!

Level III is one to primarily use with numbers to 100. The section “100 chart tic-tac-toe” will not be familiar to most. I had devised that math game based on the positioning of a number on the 100 chart. For instance, if 26 is written in the centre of the chart, then the middle line is to show one more and one less than 26. (25, 26, 27 across). Above the middle number is 10 less, in this case 16. Below 26 is 10 more, 36 in this case. The corners can then be filled in using the horizontal or vertical relationships already established. (For more on the use of 100 chart tic-tac-toe, see my previous blog post.)

When using 100 dot arrays, I have students use highlighters to colour the numbers. I also stress marking efficiently – we do NOT colour each individual dot; rather a line or partial line is coloured with a swipe of the marker.

At every level breaking apart the number of the day is an important component of the sheet. Quoting John Van de Walle once again, “To conceptualize a number as being made up of two or more parts is the most important relationship that can be developed about numbers.” [Van de Walle, J. and Folk, S. (2005). Elementary and Middle School Mathematics: Teaching Developmentally (Canadian Edition). Pearson: Toronto.]

I did have one teacher ask a question about the breaking apart section. She was used to having students only break apart numbers according to tens and ones. Thus 26 could be broken apart as 20 and 6 or 10 and 16. But sometimes it is easier to work with numbers when we break them in ways other than ten and ones. Consider the thinking that might happen when adding 26 + 27. If a student knows that 26 comes apart as 25 an 1 and that 27 comes apart as 25 and 2, it is easy to put the 25′s together to get 50, then add the 1 and the 2 —total 53. Students who use the 100 dot array often get especially comfortable with 25′s. Also consider adding 97 and 36. If a student notices that 97 is just 3 away from 100, it makes sense to split 36 as 3 and 33. Breakng apart in tens and ones are definitely useful, but so are other “break-aparts”. If students do not practice this kind of thinking they are not likely to ever do it!

I had one teacher here in my district that was using this sheet and her students were getting tired of making tallies for large numbers. So I am including a second English version of the sheet asking for equations for the number instead.

Again, a French version is offered as well with thanks to my friend and colleague Lynn St. Louis for her translation.

Mathematically yours,

Carollee

### Number of the Day – Level IIMarch 6, 2014

In keeping with my belief that elementary school that students should be involved with numbers everyday in math time, I am posting my Number of the Day Level II sheet in English and French.

Today’s sheet is one to use primarily with numbers to 30. As in the Level I sheet, most of the components are self explanatory, and again the colouring on the 100 chart can be done either by colouring the individual number or by colouring all numbers up to and including the number of the day.

As mentioned before, breaking the number apart in different ways is an import thing for students to practice. As John Van de Walle wrote, “To conceptualize a number as being made up of two or more parts is the most important relationship that can be developed about numbers.” [Van de Walle, J. and Folk, S. (2005). Elementary and Middle School Mathematics: Teaching Developmentally (Canadian Edition). Pearson: Toronto.]

I am delighted to offer this sheet in a French version, as well. Merci to my friend and colleague Lynn St. Louis for her translation.

I’d LOVE to hear from you if you try either version!

Mathematically yours,

Carollee

### Number of the Day – Level IMarch 5, 2014

I have long believed that in elementary school that students should be involved with numbers everyday in math time. This may not always be the case — the teacher might be teaching a unit on pattering or geometry, for instance. While those are worthwhile concepts, I still remain convinced that students need some time each day to think about and work with numbers.

One way this can be accomplished is through the use of Number of the Day sheets. The idea of using such a sheet is not new – indeed, there are many versions available on the Internet.

I have added my own version of the Number of the Day sheet into the mix. In fact, I will be adding several versions over the next few days that are targeted at different levels of learners

The Number of the Day sheet I am posting today is one that can be used in Kindergarten classes, but it may be useful in Grade one classes early in the school year. The components are self-explanatory, although I did have one teacher who started using the sheet call me and ask about colouring on the 25 chart. She asked, “If the number of the day is 12, am I supposed to have students just find and colour the numeral 12, or are they supposed to colour all the boxes up to and including 12?” My response was, “Yes!” Either way is good, with each method focusing on something slightly different about the number 12.

Breaking the number apart in different ways is an import thing for students to practice. As John Van de Walle wrote, “To conceptualize a number as being made up of two or more parts is the most important relationship that can be developed about numbers.” [Van de Walle, J. and Folk, S. (2005). Elementary and Middle School Mathematics: Teaching Developmentally (Canadian Edition). Pearson: Toronto.]

I am delighted to offer the sheet in a French version as well. Merci to my friend and colleague Lynn St. Louis for her translation.