Wednesday, February 22, 2017

View From My Classroom!

February 22, 2017

Got something new and exciting!  So many difficult areas of mathematics for elementary learners and one of them is fractions.  I preach at my workshops giving students the opportunities to work with three picture models of fractions—area, set and number line!  Now they can see number line models every day in your classroom  I am so excited to introduce my new poster in my lines of visuals.  It is double sided showing visually number line models of fractions!  One on side of the poster you will see fractions from rolling two dice.  The denominator will be one, two, three, four, five and six.  This poster is a great tool to be used with a game called “Race Track Fractions” from my fraction book, Fractions:  A Part of the Whole.  It is played with double dice!  (Reminder that we have such a great price on these!)

The other side of the poster shows fractions on the number line with denominators of one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and ten.  It is used with the game called “Race Track Fractions” from my fraction book, Fractions:  A Part of the Whole.  It is played with decahedron double dice!  (Reminder that we have such a great price on these!)

This game can actually be played on the poster using markers and velcro.

This is the game board using the 
decahedron double dice and transparent chips. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Torn Snowpeople Logic Problems!

How about celebrating the last week of January with a construction project that includes measurement and higher level thinking?  First thing to do is to go to my website,  Find the button that says, "Free PDFs and Conference Files."  Register and download the three data sheets!  Remember the days of Project AIMS?  I was part of the original writing team.  We wrote an amazing book called Primarily Bears.  We wrote lots of logic problems.  Child ten had to think!
Here are the three data sheets!
Now get all the materials ready!  Get creative with ribbon scraps and other paper!  I always put the materials out and have the students pick up the paper they will need to tear their snowpeople!

Now the students are ready to tear (no scissors) the four snowpeople.  Each one is unique!
Here is Sweet Sally!
This is Herbert named after my grandfather!

This is Jollly!

Meet Froggy!

Now make a fence for the four snowpeople to order themselves.  Students can cut them out and tape together!

The students and teacher will read each clue set and place the snowpeople on the fence based on the clues.
Here is the solution to Clue Set 1.

This is the solution to Clue Set 2.

Work through the remaining two sets of clues.  Now the real fun begins, students can make up their own clues.  How many different arrangements can there be?  I just love that problem.......

More to come with a special tool next week!  Teach on!

Mathematically yours,

Monday, January 9, 2017

New Game for New Year!

Welcome to a wonderful New Year with high hopes for math in the air! (I am actually listening to Frank Sinatra singing the song, “High Hopes” as you read this! I just love the part about the ant!!!)

Some of you know that I live by the Pacific Ocean so we never entertain thoughts of snow here…..just doesn’t happen but every so often (every 7-10 years) we get some snow! January 2nd
was the day we got snow. Now imagine how that would shut down an area like ours. I was not there because I was on my way to Moore, Oklahoma but our neighbors kept sending picture of the snow! Beautiful in the Redwoods and on the beach! Even had frozen pipes one day after returning…..that is really not news to people in other places!

Have you ever wondered how you could bring more motivation into your classroom? If you have not tried the Double Dice, they really are “game changers!” Why not try to include more playful practice of basic skills for this new year! We, at Creative Mathematics, carry the Double Dice for the best price ever! $5.00 for a bag of 16! Can’t beat that.

Got a great game for the first week back in school whether it is this week or next! The game is called
“Rolling Equations!” It uses two regular dice or a set of the double dice! The object is to be the first one to have three different equations for each number.

Players take turns! Roll the Double Dice and the player with the highest sum goes first. Player A rolls the Double Dice and states an equation with the two numbers. That equation is written down in the box with that answer.
Any operation can be used. Before the next player takes a turn, Player A writes two other equations for that same answer. The numbers to be used in the other two equations do not need to be what numbers the player rolled. Player B checks each equation and gives the “thumbs up” signal.
Player B repeats the same process. The player who completes all the equations first wins! If an answer is rolled after a player has completed the equations, the player loses the turn.

To increase the difficulty of game, each player must use three different operations in the three equations for each answer.

To make the game more challenging for upper grade students, roll the triple dice and create equations using two operations with three numbers!
Simple but effective way to practice for five to seven minutes! You want the data sheet for playing “Rolling Equations” with your students? Go to and click on the Free PDF section (red button) and register and download! I want to run a contest! 

Tweet a picture of your class playing the game and share the blog with a friend! Your tweet and share by January 20, 2017 will earn a chance for a drawing to win $50 of my merchandise!

Mathematically yours,

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Wow! Twitter Rocks!

October 11, 2016

We have been running our Twitter contest and I can not begin to tell you how much I have enjoyed ALL of the Tweets! Watching all the children engaged and loving math is so awesome! I am always humbled by the hard work of all of you! You make it so fun to create exciting math games and activities that push children towards mathematical excellence!

Please don’t stop! Send more and more!!!

Mathematically yours,


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Gratitude and Sonic Cards

September 29, 2016

Gratitude for Teachers and Sonic Cards

Just wanted to extend my gratitude for all the wonderful folks who gave me Sonic Cards as a gift!  I live in a place without a Sonic.  Years ago I got addicted to the Diet Vanilla Coke Route 44 size while working in Texas.  Everyone has always told me that it is the ice!  I just know that I really enjoy them.  Teachers in my workshops have been so kind when they hear my “Sonic” story…….thank you so much for the Sonic Cards!  What kindness!

Another school year is on its way.  So many teachers ask me about subitizing numbers in my workshops.  Think that it is ironic the questions comes up because it is the word that is puzzling.  Subitizing numbers is a child’s ability to make a visual assessment of a picture of quantity without having to count.  Great practice of subitizing is my games of “Bump It!” from my book that have a bingo look.  In each square are pictures of objects.  Players roll the ones die from the place value dice placing a transparent chip on the picture of that quantity.  So much fun and yet such important practice.  

I also love to use pictures of quantities from my primary book, Let’s Get Started! and do “Flash Math” with the cards.  Pictures are placed on document camera and students shout out how many!  Wild times for math!

Couple more days of my Twitter contest!  Tweet out your classroom doing a “Kim Sutton” activity and you might win a very cool prize!  Update:  We decided on three winners to be announced on Monday!

Mathematically yours,


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Charmed Life!

June  8, 2016

I am saying the mantra, “Patience is a virtue, a virtue is a grace.  You add them altogether and you get a happy face.”  Just trying to get home….

Trip started last week on Memorial Day.  Flew to LAX and our daughter, Halley, picked me up.  We set up for a fun workshop in Burbank with the staffs of two schools.  Shout out to Liz and Sandra and their wonderful teachers!  Great day on number sense.  Halley and I then flew to Nashville on Wednesday.  Just love Tennessee.  Two-day class in Franklin!  Those teachers rock!  We sang, we danced and we did intensive math content.  My friend Sherry was our point guard!  The workshop ran so well because of her. 

Halley and I were able Friday night to go on a fun field trip!  The author, Ann Patchett, has the most amazing bookstore ever called Parnassus!  She has made a roaring success of this venture.   (Just finished her book, Truth and Beauty!  Started her book The Magician’s Assistant.)  I have been reading on my iPad and realized during this field trip how limiting my choice of books has been.  Done with that.  One of the most amazing booksellers, River showed me all around pointing out amazing reads.  I have been limiting myself on the iPad to authors I know.  Halley and I left with our arms full and our hearts happy!  We met one of the bookstore dogs… it!  If you ever are in Nashville, this bookstore is a must!  I jumped into a recommended read called A Hero of France by Alan Furst!  A reader comes alive just holding these amazing books……

Halley and I then drove from Nashville to Springfield, Missouri on Saturday and then on to Wichita on Sunday.  Drove many back roads through lots of corn patches…. set up with my friends Lynette Sharlow, who hosted the workshop for District 259 and Rhonda Shook.  I have known Rhonda since my days with Project AIMS and Math Festival at Fresno Pacific College.  Love them both!

Finished an amazing two days in Wichita for the Roadmap class.  Great teachers!  Halley and I got to airport only to find delay, delay, delay.  When flight took off out of Wichita for Denver, pilot announced a door was open and we would return to Wichita.  Had to circle for hour……then delay back to Denver…..Halley and I both missed all connections.  Everyone has a story and the stories are never that interesting.  Mine isn’t either.  Needless to say, it is a day later and still trying to get home.  Guess I am not in Kansas anymore…..but there is still “no place like home!”  I need my bed……

Mathematically yours,


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Rental Car Blues in Salmon, Idaho!

April 26, 2016

Ok, here is a new one!  Had a super workshop yesterday in Missoula, Montana.  We had never been here and just loved the people and the town!  We were looking forward to a great drive from Missoula to Boise.  Rental car blew up and we limped into Salmon, Idaho.  Waiting for Alamo to drive a new rental car from Missoula to us as there are no rental car places here.  Lessons in patience!

After being in several classrooms recently and watching students in grades 3-5 struggle with concepts of rounding numbers, it seems important to talk about why this occurs and what can be done!  It often feels that the rules of rounding numbers are just procedures that are taught without recognition of the prerequisite skills required that are essential in the development of number sense.

I have long suggested a simple routine of practice that can be established in the classroom with students grades 1-5 that will ease the understanding of rounding.  It all begins after students have learned the multiples of ten.  I introduce the multiples of ten by playing a game called “The Roller Coaster” game.  Chairs are moved to create 4 rows of 2 chairs.  One student is asked to sit on the roller coaster.  Students are asked, “What do you want to do on a roller coaster?”  They will gleefully respond, “Whee,” and throw their hands in the air.  The mathematical question is one person on the roller coaster, how many fingers in the air?  This introduces the idea of _____ groups of _____ = _____ .  Many of you who have been at my workshops know that this is an important visual that is a part of all the mathematical content that we teach in elementary grades.

Once students have the practice behind multiples of ten, the teacher will have each child tear a piece of adding machine tape the length of their arms from fingertip to shoulder.  They will label the left with a mark for zero.  (The academic name for zero is point of origin.)  On the right they will make a mark and label that 100.  They will bring the two marks together and crease.  They will mark that with 50.  The students will then put in the multiples of ten between 0-50 and 50-100.  Now this tool is ready to be used with my Random Number CD 0-100.  The teacher will turn on track 2.  Students will hear a number and touch about where that number falls on the number line.  Two to three minutes of practice is important.  Students can also write the number on the number line! 

Look for more helpful hints on rounding readiness soon including a new game!

Mathematically yours,


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