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Building Fact Fluency with 5 in a Row

5 in a Row: Building Fact Fluency

Fact fluency routines are often filled with worksheets and timed activities.  They do have their place in the classroom, but they’re not very engaging.  While I’ve definitely learned that fact fluency does not mean 1 second recall and strict timing systems, I also firmly believe that having a strong memorization of facts helps students focus their mental effort and energy on the larger math skills at hand.  It’s important to build fact fluency in students.

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Calendar in the Primary Classroom

Classroom calendars used to be commonplace in nearly every first grade classroom, and even a lot of second grade classrooms.  As the push for standards accountability has grown, I’ve noticed fewer and fewer teachers implementing calendar in their classrooms because the “standards” don’t “dictate” it. Or, because they just are feeling the time crunch and with the struggle to fit everything in, calendar has been cut. My classroom calendar is the single biggest tool for

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Math Block Structure

A Look at my Math Block

I first started teaching self-contained third grade five years ago.  After spending close to 10 years in and out of classrooms, working with intervention students, and seeing some amazing teaching and learning, I knew I wanted to do math centers in my room and I knew how my math block ‘should’ look.  I wanted time to meet with small groups of students, and I wanted students to have time working independently and so I implemented

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Introducing division with skittles

Working with Division

Some people, districts, textbooks (take your pick) teach multiplication and division together in one unit and at one time.  I teach division after multiplication; after students have had some time working with multiplication, exploring equal groups, and building a deep understanding.  I typically have introduced multiplication in October so I’ve used cheap spider rings as manipulatives to help students navigate equal groups.  To see more about that introduction, click here to head to that post. This

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Building Place Value and Number Sense Skills

When I was an interventionist looking at our schoolwide data, I noticed something in our students’ math data.  The students in third grade that scored lowest in math overall on our benchmark testing (NWEA’s MAP test), also were the lowest scoring in the place value and number sense sub-domain.  Over time and several years teaching in different settings with different grade levels, I’ve come to learn how very important number sense is, and I’ve picked

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Hi! I'm Tessa!

Tessa Maguire image

I’ve spent the last 15 years teaching in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades, and working beside elementary classrooms as an instructional coach and resource support. I’m passionate about math, literacy, and finding ways to make teachers’ days easier. I share from my experiences both in and out of the elementary classroom.

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