"Problem solving plays an important role in mathematics and should have a prominent role in the mathematics education of K-12 students." ~NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics)
I love teaching math and I love using manipulatives to teach math.  Open-ended math problems are one of my favorite ways to teach math because they allow my students to see there can be more than one way to solve a problem and there can be more than one answer to a problem.  It also shows them that just because their friend solves the problem one way, it doesn't mean they have to solve it the same way.
We have been working a lot on addition and I wanted an open-ended problem for my students to solve.  I came up with a problem where my students used red and yellow counters to add.  
The problem was: I have some red and some yellow counters.  How many counters do I have?
To introduce the lesson, I read the problem to my students and we really discussed it together.  Before they went to work I had them share with a friend how many red and how many yellow counters they planned to put on their paper.  This discussion really helps them to get an idea in their head and it also helps students who might be struggling with an idea to hear an idea from a friend.
I put baskets in the middle of their tables so they could share manipulatives.

I love how this friend colored the top of the organizer the colors of the counters.  My students even noticed that when we shared their work!
I was so impressed with their work and I said to my kids, "You all ROCKED that!!"  And one of my kindergarten friends replied back, "Oh yes we did rock that!!"  I love when they get excited about their learning! 

I told my students they could trace the counters if they wanted or they could just draw the circles. 

 I thought it was really neat how some of my students arranged their counters in the same way that they see them on the dot cubes!
After they finished we came back together as a class to share the different ways they solved the problem.  I think sharing their work is really important not only so their peers can see what they did, but so they get comfortable with speaking in front of their classmates.
My kiddos did such a great job with this and I wanted to share it so that you can try it with your students too!  Just click the image below to grab your FREE download.  If you use it with your students, I'd love to hear about it!
You might also be interested in my word problems pack in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.  Just click the image to check it out!
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Presidents Day is just one of the many celebrations in February.  My team and I like to teach about presidents and American symbols together and my kindergarten students always seem to enjoy learning about these two concepts.  One of my students even said, "I wonder if we are going to learn when he was born" (referring to learning about Barack Obama).  I love that they are so interested in learning about presidents.  

I created a "Race to the White House" game for my students to use during math as a math warm-up.  I thought it would be a fun way to connect our Social Studies unit to math. 
To play this game students will need the following materials:
*Race to the White House game board
 *2 dot cubes or number cubes
*2 playing pieces
To play this game I had my students take turns rolling two dot cubes.  They had to add the dots together, say the addition number sentence to their partner, and then they moved that many spaces on the board.  The first person to the White House was the winner.
My students loved this Presidents Day game and were so excited when they reached the White House.  They even were saying that their president made it to the White House.  It was the cutest!
If you want to grab this game to use with your students, just click the image below to grab your "Race to the White House" Presidents Day FREEBIE!
Are you looking for more Presidents Day resources? 
These are some of the books I like to use with my students to teach about the presidents. 
And here are some other Presidents Day resources you might be interested in:
I used this with my students last year and took pictures of my students as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln.  They were adorable and it makes a cute picture to send home to families.  The original idea is from Lakeshore Learning.
Presidents Day Masks
 Suzanne, from Kindergarten Planet, has a wonderful Presidents Day Directed Drawing FREEBIE in her Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Directed drawings are so much fun and I think they really help students build their skills as artists.  

 Deanna Jump, from Mrs. Jump's Class, has a great George Washington emergent reader to use with your students.  It's a FREEBIE on her blog.

 Jennifer, from Simply Kinder, has compiled a great post with Presidents Day videos for kids.  Lots of choices to use with your students.
Presidents Day Videos
I thought this was a powerful quote from Abraham Lincoln about education:
What are some of your favorite Presidents Day activities? 
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I am SUPER excited to be joining the We Heart Maryland Blog Hop!  I am a proud Maryland blogger and love all things Maryland!  This blog hop is so much fun and everyone participating will be offering a special blog hop FREEBIE and GIVEAWAY on their blog.  We are also sharing something we LOVE about Maryland!  Cheryl, from Techie Turtle Teacher, did a great job of organizing everything for us!
Hop on over to my TpT store to grab this FREEBIEI've made this a FREEBIE only for this blog hop (February 13-20), so be sure to grab it now!  This is a fun way to have your students create equations and have a little St. Patrick's Day fun!  It is great for a math station, small math groups, or partner work.  Don't forget to follow my store while you are there so that you can be notified first of new products!  Just click the image below to grab your limited time FREEBIE!

And now for my GIVEAWAY!  I'm giving away $10 to my TpT Store!  That's like a little shopping spree!  The winner of this Rafflecopter will get to pick out $10 worth of products from my TpT store.  Just enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to WIN!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I LOVE a lot about Maryland, but if you have never had Maryland crabs, you don't know what you are missing!  DELICIOUS!!  Summer is the best time for picking crabs!

I also LOVE the Ravens!  
Now that you have grabbed your FREEBIE, entered my GIVEAWAY, and read what I LOVE about Maryland, hop on over to Jenn from, Keep Your Chin Up, to check out her post!  Just click the image to head on over the Jenn's blog!
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I love holidays!  I think they are so fun and there are so many fun activities to do in the classroom that go along with different holidays.  I also love to give my team little treats throughout the year and especially on a holiday!
Candy heart graphs are so much fun.  I am planning to have my students complete this Candy Heart Graph and then they are going to pick two candy heart colors to add together and write an addition number sentence.  I am going to have them do that on a sentence strip and then tape it on their graph.  Just click the image to grab your FREE Candy Heart Graph!
I also have some Valentine's Day Gift Tags for your students.  They are in my Teachers Pay Teachers store for FREE.  I bought some bubbles from Target and I am going to attach them to the tag.  You could really attach any little gift to the tag or just give them the tag by itself!  Just click the image to head over to my TpT store and download your FREEBIE.
I mentioned that I love to give my team holiday gifts.  I found the most adorable mason jars at Target for only $3 each!  I put some red paper shreds in the jar and then filled it with a Reese heart and some Dove chocolate hearts - YUM!  I attached a gift tag to it and TADA...a sweet Valentine's Day gift for my sweet teammates!  Just click the image below to grab your FREE Valentine's Day gift tags for your coworkers.
This week I had my students use some adorable heart buttons from the Dollar Tree to represent the dots on a domino.  Then, they recorded the addition number sentence.  My students LOVED these heart buttons.  Those cute little heart tubs came from Walmart. You can grab that FREE domino recording sheet in my Domino Math blog post by clicking here.
This Valentine Day Math Chat is part of my Valentine Math Pack in my TpT Store.  I have done many Math Chats with my students this school year so I decided to have them work in partners to write about the Math Chat.  I was so impressed with their work!
You can check out my Valentine Math Pack by clicking the image below.
Happy Valentine's Day!  
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