Place Value

As we settle into our classrooms this year and begin lesson planning I want to you to think about your current place value unit. Do you like it? Does it need improvement?

Place value is something that should be taught at the beginning of the school year. Place value lies the foundation for the basic math functions that will be taught for the remainder of the year. Without it, students will not be prepared to truly understand counting to 120, equalities, addition, or subtraction. Place value is the underlying foundation for the those very basic elementary math concepts.

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The unit starts of with a simple story. It gives each place its own special spot on “decimal street”. The story teaches that only 9 of each kind can live in one given house. There is the one’s house, the ten’s house, and the hundred’s castle. Only up to 9 can live in each house because once we get more than 9, we would need to “carry over”. It introduces the concept of regrouping without an explicit lesson. Once you are ready to teach regrouping, it’ll be easy because it will build on top of the place value foundation you already built .

This is what decimal street would look like, but you can really make it your own. There is room to add to the story and to make the story your own with personal touches. Again, all of my resources are in black and white so that you can add your personal touch.

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Once the concept of decimal street is taught and the students know where the ones’s place, ten’s place, and hundred’s place is, they can then start activities. I like to start off with some simple coloring. This worksheet has the students color the tens place one color and the one’s place another color. This shows me who can identify what place a number is in.


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The next activity I like to do is to count how many hundreds, tens, and ones are in a number and then writing that number on the corresponding line.

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Then, I like to have the students match the number to the correct amount of blocks.

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These worksheets are not the only thing I use in my classroom. This year I made each partner group a pencil box with 9 one blocks, 9 ten blocks and just a few hundreds blocks. I am going to the have the students build different numbers with a partner.

So, what will you do this year for your place value unit? If I can change your mind about anything today, I hope you consider teaching place value very early on in the school in year. Check out my TpT Store and make sure to click the green star for updates and sales.

Click Here~ to purchase my Place Value Unit!

Happy Teaching Busy Teachers!

tack bwthanks



Hopping Around the Hundreds Chart

Teaching 10 more and 10 less is a big standard to start working on in the first grade. The hardest part of the standard is that it requires students to it mentally. That’s right! It says mentally in the standard and it is the key word!


Given a two-digit number, mentally find 10 more or 10 less than the number, without having to count; explain the reasoning used.

I created a unit that starts with a lot of support from the hundreds chart. We have to take baby steps before we can walk. I knew that I could not expect my students to know how to mentally add and subtract with the number 10 from any number. From there, I scaffold the support from the hundreds chart and slowly take it away. Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 6.08.54 PM.png

I love teaching math and when I came up with this idea, I was beyond excited. I knew that I had found a really good way of showing the kids how to do 10 more, 10 less, 1 more and 1 less.

We started by using a full hundreds chart. It nearly takes up the whole page. At the top there is a small chart. The small chart is where students can write the answers to 10 more, 10 less, 1 more and 1 less. My class and I color coded this worksheet. We used yellow to color the number we were working with. Then we used blue to show 10 more and 1 more and we used red to show 10 less and 1 less. Some of my students stuck with this strategy throughout the entire unit. It really helped them visually remember. Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 9.43.22 AM

Then I used a blank cross and made the hundreds chart much smaller. I wanted to start slowly taking away the hundreds chart so that students start to rely on mental math. The hundreds chart is still there, but really only for comfort. Some students had a difficult time with this, but when I reminded them that they could color code, a light switched on for them and they were ready to work. Using the crosses was a visual reminder to the hundreds chart to help them remember a bigger number and smaller number.

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Next, I started to show parts of the hundreds chart. I would only give the students a small piece to work with. I also started having them turn the crosses into number sentences. I wanted them to make the connection between the visual representation and the mathematical equation. Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 9.43.34 AM

Last, I gave them a task with a very small hundreds chart and 4 blank number sentence boxes. Although I didn’t completely take the hundreds chart away, I still made it very small. I also told my students to challenge themselves and fold their paper over so they couldn’t see it. Many of them were up for the that challenge. Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 9.48.20 AM

My school district is lucky enough to have JiJi, so I know that the kids will get plenty of practice doing this standard mentally. JiJi has a great level that has students do 10 more and 10 less without a hundreds chart. When students get to that level, I remind them about hopping around the hundreds chart and they light up with a big smile.

Check out Hopping Around at my TpT Store. 

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FREEBIE: Inequalities with Alligators

Hello Everyone!!

I am excited to announce that I have an entire unit on TpT for FREE! The unit is my Inequality Unit with Alligators.

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I am using this unit in my class as a supplement to our first unit in math. My first unit is math is all about numbers and counting. Near the end of the unit we discuss how to compare numbers. I thought I needed some extra supplemental work to go along with my EnVision lesson.

During my Master’s Program I wrote an Action Research report about how to make learning fun for students. One lesson I worked on was this one. I made popsicle alligators, painted them green, glued google eyes on them, and finished them off with teeth! The kids absolutely loved them!! I bust those bad boys out when I teach this unit. These ones are not mine, but here is an example of what I am talking about. They are better than mine because they say “less than” and “greater than”. I will be adding that to mine ASAP.


I love making anchor charts and I have included anchor chart example in my TpT FREEBIE. Here are the posters I made for my classroom.


I start off with this anchor chart because I like to make up a story about the hungry alligator eating fish. I put little fish by the numbers like touch math. You could make it anything you want!! Think about your class and something they love, maybe pizza, cookies, or hamburgers.


Then I use this poster to talk about how and when we say “greater than” and “less than”.


This is how I post the standards in my class. It’s a tight fit, but the job gets done 🙂

Please go to my TpT store and grab this FREEBIE!! Don’t forget to follow me on my blog and TpT store so you can get the latest updates and FREEBIES. Also, please leave me some comments and tell me about how the lesson went in your class. I would love to hear what worked and what didn’t work.