Monday, September 16, 2013

Ice Cream Math

Today I'd like to share how I approach fluency with addition and subtraction facts in my classroom.  I'll admit, I'm not a huge proponent of timed fact drills, but they are required at my school as part of our SIP.  And ... they do serve their purpose.  As much as the majority of our math block is spend in hands-on conceptual learning, the ultimate goal is for automaticity with basic facts.  Soooo ... to make it more fun, I created Ice Cream Math!!

My Ice Cream Math Timed Addition and Subtraction Fact Drills is one of my best selling products on TpT.  It includes a series of sequential 1 minute addition and subtraction quizzes.  Students can progress through the levels at their own pace.  I've had a lot of questions about how I stay organized with this ... Obviously, having students on different levels is a little more time consuming that giving them all the same test.  But this is how I approach it and it works for me!

We have a large display for Ice Cream Math in our room.  Each student gets their own ice cream cone (I got these die cuts from Carson Dellosa).  The kids LOVE earning sprinkles for their cones! I'm a little on the OCD side (as are many teachers!) so my "sprinkles" are circle shaped labels that actually say what quiz they were earned for.  These are included in the pack - I printed them on full sheet labels and used a hole punch to cut them out.  Really though, even for me, this was *probably* unneccesary - I found cute ice cream stickers at a teacher supply store and these work great too! (I give them these "special" stickers when they pass special skill-based quizzes like doubles, sums of ten, etc.)

I keep all of the quizzes and practice sheets included in the pack in a binder.  I have sets of each level copied and ready to go at all times.  I store them in these in fun sterelite plastic drawers I decorated and labeled (excuse the poor quality iPhone images!)

 So the tricky part is giving each child the right quiz, and not spending tons of time every day labeling quizzes.  This is what I do and it takes me about 5 minutes to get the quizzes prepped and ready.  In my assessment binder I have a sheet that looks like this (also included in the pack):

  All students start on Level 1.  After they pass a quiz, I write their name in the next box.  When they pass that level, I cross their name off and write it in the next box.  When I'm prepping quizzes, I'll grab my stack of Level 2 quizzes, quickly label quizzes with student numbers for all the kids in that box.  I'll put the Level 2 quizzes up, grab a stack of Level 3 quizzes and repeat.  I realize it's not pretty, but it works! I'll re-write the names each quarter so it doesn't get *too* messy.  I also have a check-list (included in the pack) for all the special, skilled-based quizzes so I can check when a child passes their doubles quiz, +1 quiz, etc.  I use these quizzes when we are working on specific strategies.

Okay, I hope that wasn't too confusing!  Of course, even if you don't have the time to let kids work through the levels at their own pace, the materials in this pack would still be a great resource for timed fact tests.  Simply move the whole class up to the next level when you think the majority are ready!  Click below to see this product in my TpT store!


  1. Absolutely love the visual appeal of what yon create. Great blog!!
    Mrs Stowe's Kinder Cottage

  2. Hi, I thought that this new teacher-seller website might interest you. They are based in Canada and offer features that are not found on similar sites. They also have a lot of new features coming. Here is a link: Created by Teachers, Exclusively for Teachers