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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Introducing Fact Families: Christmas Style

So my curriculum called for my first graders to learn addition and subtraction fact families for the first time this week. I looked at that and panicked. Introducing a new concept? The week before Christmas break? Worst timing ever!
So I did what many of us as teachers do when we come across a teaching dilemma. I turned to Teachers Pay Teachers to find a way to make this concept more interesting for my students. I found some amazing fact family products, and I think my kiddos are really starting to grasp how facts can be related.

Of course, I started by using some hands on manipulatives to demonstrate how the same numbers can form different facts.
 We held Unifix cubes in two different colors and used those cubes to write our 2 addition facts and 2 subtraction facts.
I then wrote those facts on the board.

Our next step was to discuss how those facts were related. We talked about some of the things we had in common with our families. The students gave their own examples like living in the same house, having the same hair color, or having the same last name. I pointed out to the students that these three facts were in the same family because they had the same three numbers in each fact.  Then I added the house and told them that the related facts lived in the same house. We followed up with some more manipulatives and more fact families in board houses.

From that point, we started our first activity. I used a fun {and free} Milk and Cookies Fact Family Craftivity from Deirdre at A Burst of First. I wrote the three numbers on each cup of milk, and each student wrote the four facts onto their cookies.

I was able to differentiate a bit by writing easier or harder numbers based on how well I thought the student understood the concept.
Next, we colored, cut, and glued the pieces onto a red piece of construction paper. 

Don't they look great?

I had also found a cute gingerbread house and cookie craftivity from Herding Kats in Kindergarten. I saved this activity to use the next day as a way to add in some more practice. We still did a few together on the board before starting, but today my kiddos were able to fill in the facts with little help from me.

 The concept I thought was going to be so difficult seemed much easier after pairing it with a cute craft. Maybe it would have been simple for them to understand anyway. Either way, we had fun learning our fact families, and now my students have some cute crafts to take home and admire over Christmas Break!

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