Primary Chalkboard: Number-Sense & Fluency Building Math Routine

Number-Sense & Fluency Building Math Routine

Hi!!! Lisa here, from Growing Firsties!

So happy to be posting today about a wonderful almost-daily math routine in my little neck of Wisconsin. :) Which, by the way, has been downright WINTRY this week, for goodness sake! As in...we made the trip to buy boots for my son 'cuz we hadn't pre-purchased them at the end of the season last year...grrrrrr, me!!!

Math is right after lunch for first graders at my school...and a near daily routine we have is "Ways to Make" also known as "Incredible Equations" (from Marcy Cook).

We use Everyday Math CCSS Edition in my district...this routine is a little add on to build automaticity...(and maybe to buy me a few mn to get the smartboard and/or doc cam ready...or to grab manipulatives out of my math cabinet).

Each day, as soon as the kids return to class from lunch, they automatically grab their whiteboards and begin writing equations for the Number of the Day...

The NOTD is the's the fifteenth of November, so they can make 15 (OR the # in the ones place...5).

On the 14th (or 13th, as the one on the upper right shows some switching it up), here are some samples...

At the beginning of the year, I kick this routine off with the book 12 Ways to Get to 11 by Eve we read we make number models/equations/number sentences for each page's problem.

In an effort to build fluency and focus, students know that I expect 5 or more equations within the first one or two mn...they are motivated and doing really well with this!!!

Once every week or so, we spend some random "filler" time generating number models together for a number where I demonstrate and encourage innovative thinking, such as multiple addends & well as tracking where you're at with each operation and problem solving accordingly...

For example, if you're trying to make 9 and you have 17 - is NOT a mistake, rather an opportunity to track and adjust...since 17 - 9 is 8, what do you need to do to get to 9? Add you can adjust your equation to be 17 - 9 + 1 = 9.

The students LOVE it!

In the event you'd like a half-page sized paper version instead of having the kiddos working on whiteboards you go!

Click the pic to download via Google Docs...
I'd have the kiddos add their equations at the bottom of the page and also to the back side...

For Daily Warm Up and during Word Work, we've been working hard to incorporate some Sight Word Math Practice...gotta love a little math and literacy integration, eh?! And...forcing them to read closely because the words used are look-alikes (his/has, no/not, etc.)

Sometimes I'll have printables set out at their table spots instead of the NOTD routine described above. 

My students LOVVVE the interactive nature of these printables and I lovvvve that my students can be independent while working on them...this buys me additional time to work with students one on one or in small groups!

Lately we've been using the Find, Tally & Graph pages from Set 1: Graphs & Patterns.

They're from this set, which you can read more about by clicking the pic above or below...

What kinds of helpful math routines do YOU incorporate in your neck of the woods?


  1. My kids love doing this for our number of the day. It is such a great way to reinforce number sense!


  2. Another fabulous post... seriously!

  3. I love seeing your daily routines! We do a similar math routine in 2nd grade and my teammate and I were just talking about how helpful it's been for laying a foundation for future concepts! We're working on adding and subtracting 2 and 3-digit numbers now and having kiddos add/subtract 10/100 from day 1 has really helped with mental math. They can add and subtract larger numbers (even with regrouping!) on a number line like it's nobody's business! This routine is definitely a keeper!