Hello there! On this wonderful Columbus day weekend, I am finally taking the time to sit down and collect some of my thoughts about the first several weeks of school.

This year, our professional focus (SLO and all) in first grade is on math. This is kind of a strange feeling, since I feel like most of the emphasis on what I do each day involves, reading… but we’re going to go with it anyway!

In addition, we don’t really have a district math program, so we’re always creating and finding our own things to use to meet the math standards.

I have a few students in my class who struggle to complete a large work load. One of the modifications I’ve often done is to have them complete less problems, or at least include less problems on a page. They notice.

The fact that their page has been cut in half, or looks different becomes the topic of their interest rather than the math.

And still, these struggling students were not very focused  or motivated (this may also have to do with the fact that we have math at the very end of the day).

On a whim last week, I decided to try this approach.

I know kids LOVE sticky notes, so I decided to try Mystery Math.


Before we got started, I covered each problem with a small sticky note. My instruction was for them to pick a mystery math problem and then solve it! These students were super serious and super focused. In fact, the two students I tried this approach with both finished the entire activity.

I speculate it worked so well because:

1.The page was not visually overwhelming with problems.

2.They had the CHOICE of which problem to complete.

3. Kids love sticky notes.

Anyway, I have formatted several of the pages in my
Addition and Subtraction packs to be compatible with this type of approach.

addition-within-10-coversubtract-within-10-cover  Addition&Subtractionwithin10