The post Shelley Gray’s Freebie Collection appeared first on Shelley Gray.

]]>I’m excited to announce that my free resources can now all be found on one, easy-to-navigate page!

These resources are best-suited to Grades 1-5 teachers and include Early Finisher Board samples, alphabetical autobiographies, graphing and data collection activities, mental math strategy reference cards, multiplication task cards, and much more!

To get your exclusive access to the Freebie Collection, please click HERE and enter your email address. I will then send you a password and the access information direct to your email address. Please consider using a personal email address as school email addresses often block emails.

Are you already a subscriber? If you already have access to the Freebie Collection, you can find the page HERE. The password will be in a previous email that I sent you

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]]>The post Using Exit Slips in the Classroom appeared first on Shelley Gray.

]]>Exit slips are useful for several reasons. First, they allow students to reflect on new learning or understanding. Second, they are a useful formative assessment tool for teachers. By taking a few minutes to check students’ exit slips, teachers can gain valuable insight into whether a students understands the concept or is able to complete the task.

**Useful Tips for Using Exit Slips**

- Give students a choice with the prompt that you want them to use. For example, you might have students decide between, “Something I am still wondering about,” “Something that I found interesting,” or “Something that surprised me.” This way students have a sense of power and control, which will help motivation.
- Model the responses that you are looking for. For example, you might show students a few examples of exit slips and ask them which one they think is better. Model the use of describing words and specific detail.
- Use exit slips as an assessment tool that will drive your future instruction. For example, if you notice that several students were confused with the same concept, this is a sign that you need to re-teach.

**Easy Exit Slips**

Sticky notes are one of the easiest, most inexpensive ways to use exit slips. Ask students to write their reflection on the sticky note and stick it to the board when finished.

Looking for something a bit more structured? I’ve posted a FREE package of very simple exit slips on TeachersPayTeachers. **Find those HERE.**

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]]>The post A-Z Autobiography: Free Activity and Instructions appeared first on Shelley Gray.

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To make this activity more challenging, encourage students to use descriptive words and detail in their writing. Show some examples before beginning to illustrate this. For example, which sounds better:

“Camping is my favorite.”

OR

“Camping is an activity that I love to do with my family.”

Also, encourage students experiment with sentence structure. Here are two ways to say, “I like baseball.” Which sounds better? Why?

“Baseball is fun.”

OR

“Baseball is a sport that I love to play.”

Lastly, students can work with manipulating their sentences to fit the letters that are left. For example, suppose that a student wants to say, “I live in Manitoba,” but the “I” is already taken. How about rearranging that sentence to say, “Manitoba is where I live,” to use for the letter M?

Download this activity for free from Teachers Pay Teachers HERE or directly from my website HERE. Enjoy!

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]]>The post 30-Day Math Fact Challenge appeared first on Shelley Gray.

]]>Do you make it a goal year after year to focus on fact fluency in your classroom, but let it get pushed to the wayside by the rest of your curriculum? I hear from teachers all the time who have the absolute best of intentions. Maybe you can relate to some of these statements:

*“I know the strategies that I should be teaching, but I don’t have a strategic plan for teaching them.”*

*“I can’t seem to find the time to focus on fact fluency when there are so many other areas of the curriculum to teach.”*

*“Fact fluency seems to be getting more and more difficult to teach. When they come to me from the previous grade, students are not performing basic operations the way they should be.”*

*“I feel like I’m ‘flying by the seat of my pants’ with math facts. I wish I had a better plan.”*

Well, there’s good news. You’re not alone.

This is an area that many teachers struggle with, especially with the huge focus now on strategy over memorization.

**This is why I have created a 30-Day Math Fact Challenge.**

Throughout this challenge we will be working as a group to come up with a plan for daily integration that will suit your classroom perfectly.

This is not an exact plan that will be handed to you. Rather, this is a chance to collaborate with like-minded teachers to figure out an approach that works FOR YOU. (And of course, there will be free resources! )

The 30-Day Math Fact Challenge will begin on Monday, September 10. Sign up below to register.

Can’t wait to connect with you!

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]]>The post Win Back Your Purchase Amount! appeared first on Shelley Gray.

]]>**Which purchases are eligible?**

- Purchases made from Shelley Gray’s TpT store during the Back to School Sale on August 1-2, 2018

**What does the winner get?**

- The winner will receive a TpT gift card for the amount that was spent in Shelley Gray’s TpT store during the Back to School Sale. Only ONE receipt is allowed per person. For example, if you made multiple purchases during the sale, you can only submit one of those receipts (choose the one with the higher amount!!)

For example, suppose you are chosen as the winner and your receipt shows a total purchase of $40. $25 of that was purchased from Shelley Gray, and $15 from other TpT sellers. I’d send you a TpT gift card for your purchase amount from me, which would be $25! Make sense?

Keep in mind that resources that you buy tonight can still qualify! Just follow the instructions below once you make your purchase.

**Here are the instructions to enter:**

- Take a screenshot of your TpT receipt that was emailed to you after you purchased. (Remember that it must include products from Shelley Gray, and those are the only ones that will be used to calculate the gift card amount).
- Send me a message on my FB page HERE with the screenshot OR email the receipt to shelley@funclassroomprintables.com.

Entries will only be accepted until midnight and one winner will be chosen tomorrow morning (Friday, August 3)! Good luck!!

**See all of Shelley’s resources here.**

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]]>The post About Shelley Gray’s Self-Paced Math Stations appeared first on Shelley Gray.

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Have you seen my **self-paced math stations** around Facebook, Pinterest, or TpT and wondered how they could fit into your classroom? I hear from a lot of teachers who have wanted to use them for years, but are unsure of how they will work and if they will fit their needs.

This post is intended to help you understand EXACTLY what is entailed for implementing the math stations in your classroom. Because they are all formatted very similarly to ensure consistency, this post is applicable to all of the first to fourth grade stations for addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and fractions.

Ok let’s get started!

**GOALS**

Although it seems that the goal of these math stations would be to master the math facts, there are actually other goals that are just as important. These are:

- success for all students
- motivation
- confidence

I believe that when students feel successful, smart, and confident, it enables them to learn. How can we expect our students to enjoy math, be confident, and take risks if they are never successful?

**THE LEVELS**

Each math station consists of a sequence of levels. Each level focuses on **one skill, strategy, or set of facts**.

For example, in **The Multiplication Station**, students master one set of facts in each level. For each set of facts, they learn a strategy to make that easier. So in the 4’s level they learn the strategy of “doubling the double.” Or in the 12’s level they learn the strategy of breaking up the 12 into a 10 and a 2, then multiplying the parts.

As another example, suppose we are looking at the **First Grade Addition Station**. In this station students will move through levels such as Counting On, Doubles, Doubles Plus One, Making Ten, etc. In each level they will master that particular strategy before moving to the next one.

**BUT ISN’T IT CONFUSING LEARNING SO MANY STRATEGIES?**

NO! These stations incorporate the concepts of isolation and integration. So when a new strategy is learned, it is first ISOLATED from all of the rest. This means that students are only focusing on that one strategy. Later, when it is mastered, they INTEGRATE it with the other strategies that they have learned. **The strategies slowly build on each other in a way that makes practical sense.**

**STRATEGIES AS “TOOLS IN A TOOLBOX”**

I like to refer to math strategies as “tools in a toolbox.” We want each of our students to possess the tools that she needs to solve an equation. This does not mean a memorized series of steps that, if forgotten, results in a wrong answer and no other strategy to fall back on.

This means that we want our students to UNDERSTAND what they are doing. Through conceptual understanding, students will be able to solve a problem AND have alternate strategies to fall back on.

**HOW ARE THE STATIONS SELF-PACED AND INDEPENDENT?**

The independent, self-paced nature of these stations is a huge part of what makes them so successful. All of your students will start at the very first level. The first few levels of every station are meant to be confidence boosters. This means that they are typically fairly simple. You’ll notice your students’ motivation soaring during these levels.

Students will work through the level on their own. They will complete an activity, self-check using the prepared answer keys, complete their “passport,” and then move onto the next activity. The personal tracker that they will each have tells them exactly what they have done, and what they will do next.

Once students are finished all of the activities in a level, they will self-assess. “Do I know the strategy?” “Am I comfortable with this set of facts?” When they feel ready, students will approach you for a very quick, oral assessment. Once the assessment has been successfully completed, students will move to the next level.

After a few days of working with the stations, you’ll notice that your higher-end students start to speed along, and may be a few levels ahead of everyone else. Some other students might be taking a bit longer on the levels, and you may be working with them in small groups to help them understand the concepts.

**This is ideal, and exactly what you want.**

This means that every student in your classroom is being **appropriately challenged**. Every student is working to his **full potential**.

**HOW ARE STUDENTS ASSESSED?**

Assessment throughout the Math Station is mostly done by students. You already have enough marking to do! When you prepare the Math Station, you will also be laminating answer keys. These answer keys will be stored in the folder for each level. When students have completed an activity, they will get the answer key and self-check.

I’ve heard from some teachers who didn’t think that their students could handle the self-checking, but were later shocked at how easy it was for the students.

The assessment that you WILL be doing as the teacher is the short oral quiz at the end of each level. In most of the stations, I’ve included assessment quick reference cards. These will help you assess your students quickly and effectively. You will take about 1-2 minutes asking the student to solve a series of equations from the level that she finished. This will easily and quickly tell you if she has mastered the skill or strategy or not.

I hear from teachers all the time who tell me that the oral assessment is their favorite part of these stations. You can gain SO much information from talking to your students face-to-face rather than simply reviewing a written test. You can see where your student stumbles, where he is quick to know the answer, and what parts he is still struggling with.

**MEETING ALL OF THE NEEDS**

These math stations make it easy to meet the needs of all students in your classroom. You will be allowing your high-flyers to work ahead, while allowing your students who need to work more slowly do so.

This also allows you to do mini-lessons or small group instruction with the ones who need it. You might see that three students are struggling with the same level, so you’ll be able to take them aside for some extra practice.

**HANDS ON ACTIVITIES**

Hands on activities are incorporated throughout the station. In some stations, students will do a hands-on activity after every second or third level. In other stations, such as the Fraction Station, a hands-on activity is completed after every level.

**SUMMARY**

I hope that I’ve succeeded in helping you understand how these math stations work. In summary, the routine is very simple:

- Student completes an activity.
- Student self-checks and repeats those steps until the level is finished.
- Teacher gives student an oral assessment, and then student moves to the next level.

**A NOTE FROM SHELLEY**

I first started creating these math stations in 2012. This was an approach that I had used with my own students, and now has been widely used by tens of thousands of teachers.

I know how hard it can be to teach math strategies. Even though you have the best of intentions, there are so many things in your curriculum that it feels like you can’t focus on math strategies all year long.

This is your solution.

If you are committed to once and for all implementing a highly strategic plan for math fact fluency, I believe that you will experience great success with these stations.

**Here is the link to all Math Stations. Please be sure to read the hundreds of testimonials from other teachers in the feedback sections to see if this might be something that would work for you.**

**EXTRA, BUT USEFUL INFORMATION**

- These Math Strategy Task Cards can be used as extra reinforcement for students who need it. Most of the task cards align with the levels of the coordinating Math Station. These are also useful to use during guided math groups, mini lessons, or math interventions.

- Make your stations into booklets rather than using the bin/tub approach. You can find free cover pages for your student booklets HERE.

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]]>The post Self-Paced Math Stations As Interventions appeared first on Shelley Gray.

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However, over the years I’ve heard from a lot of teachers who use these Math Stations as student interventions or in smaller guided math groups as well.

**How can these stations for basic facts help your students be successful in a Math Intervention setting?**

First, they allow **focused instruction on ONE strategy**, skill, or set of facts. In The Multiplication Station, this means that students might be working on the strategy for the 4’s facts. They will practice this intensively until they have it mastered. In the Addition Station, students might be working with the breaking up the second number strategy. This intense focus on one strategy allows students to be successful, because rather than trying to incorporate multiple strategies, they get to focus on only one.

Second, **students work at their own pace**. Students have been placed in a Math Intervention setting for a reason – most likely because they did not experience enough success with some other aspect of their math instruction. With the self-paced math stations, each student works to his own level. This means that no one moves on before they should, and no one is held back until other students are ready.

Third, students can work in **10-15 minute time frames**. I typically recommend that students spend about 15 minutes, 3 times per week working on their math station. This is enough time to practice a strategy and work with it, without getting bored. Smaller time frames typically work better with small guided math groups or interventions as well.

Lastly, **students are motivated**. The high levels of motivation are a result of two things – success and engagement. I hear from teachers every day whose students beg to work on the stations during recess, over spring break, and in any free class time that they have. Why? Because it feels GOOD to be successful and smart.

For those teachers who intend on using the math stations as intervention or guided math programming, an individual student booklet might work better than the traditional bin/tub that I intended the math stations to be used with.

I recently created some cover pages that can be used to create student booklets. They can be downloaded for free HERE.

Would you like to browse through all available Math Stations for addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and fractions? Find them all HERE.

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]]>The post Free Place Value Mystery Picture appeared first on Shelley Gray.

]]>Place Value Mystery Pictures are fantastic practice for understanding place value AND using a hundred chart!

This particular free resource consists of ONE place value mystery picture. This is fantastic as a stand alone math station, early finisher activity, substitute teacher extra, math warm-up, or even bell-ringer activity! **Download it HERE**.

Find even MORE place value mystery pictures HERE. Your students will love this PACKAGE OF 20 highly engaging place value activities.

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]]>The post The Early Finisher Board 2018 Accountability Challenge appeared first on Shelley Gray.

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Have you seen The Early Finisher Board around and wanted to create one of your own?

Have you started creating your Early Finisher Board but gotten off track?

Do you currently use The Early Finisher Board but want to tweak it for the upcoming school year?

**If any of the above apply to you, this accountability challenge is for you!**

The Early Finisher Board is a board specially designed for those students who finish their work early in your classroom. I used to get so tired of telling these students to “read or finish homework,” so The Early Finisher Board was born.

**KEY HIGHLIGHTS OF THE CHALLENGE**

- The accountability challenge is completely
**FREE**! I will be providing you with the materials that you need to get your board all ready to go. - There will be fun bonuses along the way for those members who complete each step of the challenge.
- We will be working through each step TOGETHER, so we will be working alongside one another to get the boards ready to go! This includes preparation, set-up, storage, and more.

**HOW DO I GET STARTED?**

The first Early Finisher Board Accountability Challenge for the summer begins on Wednesday, July 11. Ready to join us? Just follow these steps:

**Join the private Facebook group HERE**. This will be how you collaborate with the hundreds of other people completing the challenge alongside you. You don’t want to miss what’s going on in this group!!- Once you’re inside the group, sign up for the Challenge messages that will come to you through Facebook Messenger. This is how you will find out your next steps.

Hope to see you in the group!

Shelley

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]]>The post Effective Alternatives for Long Division appeared first on Shelley Gray.

]]>One of the main reasons that traditional long division is so hard to learn is that a correct answer depends on a memorized series of steps – divide, multiply, subtract, bring down. If a student forgets which step to do and when to do it, there is a very high chance that he will end up with an incorrect answer.

This is why it is ESSENTIAL to teach strategies, rather than steps.

Strategies encourage REAL UNDERSTANDING. This is such an important part of math. We want our students to really understand what they are doing, and to know that there are different ways to come up with a correct answer.

In this article, I’ll discuss three different alternatives to traditional long division. I encourage you to focus on the first two, as they are very mental math focused.

**Ready to get serious about teaching multi-digit division? Check out the Long Division Station HERE.**

**The Box/Area Method**

The Box Method or Area Model is a mental math based approach that will enhance number sense understanding. If you plan on teaching the Partial Quotients strategy (which I will discuss next), this is an excellent way to introduce it.

Students solve the equation by subtracting multiples until they get down to 0, or as close to 0 as possible. For example, in the example below we took out 100 groups of 3, then 50 groups of 3, and then 1 more group of 3 to make a total of 151 groups of 3 taken out of the dividend. Please head over to THIS POST for a very detailed explanation of this strategy, complete with pictures.

**Partial Quotients**

Partial Quotients is a “must-teach” strategy for multi-digit division. If you teach the Box/Area Method first, this is a very natural progression.

When we use the partial quotients strategy, we set up the equation similarly to how a traditional long division equation is set up. The difference here is that we take out multiples of the divisor until we get down to 0, or as close to 0 as we can. Please see THIS POST for a very detailed explanation of this strategy, complete with lots of pictures.

**The Grid Method**

The Grid method is NOT a mental math based approach. This means that if you have students who are struggling with multi-digit division, you should focus on the previous two strategies that I described rather than moving on to this one. The Grid Method can be used for students who are ready for a challenge, or as an introduction if you plan on teaching traditional long division. Some students will find the grid very helpful in organizing their thinking.

When we use the grid method we just organize the digits from the equation into a grid. For a complete, detailed explanation of how to perform the grid method, along with lots of pictures, please see THIS BLOG POST.

**NEXT STEPS:**

- Use Long Division Task Cards in your classroom to reinforce the strategies in isolation. Find the bundle HERE.
- Incorporate the self-paced, student-centered Long Division Station into your classroom to ensure that every student is working to his/her full potential.
- Read more about The Box Method, the Partial Quotients Method, and the Grid Method to develop a teaching plan.

The post Effective Alternatives for Long Division appeared first on Shelley Gray.

]]>The post Effective Strategies for Teaching Addition Facts appeared first on Shelley Gray.

]]>If you find your head spinning when you think about all of the addition strategies that you should be teaching, you are certainly not alone. Although teaching addition is one of the most important math concepts that we encounter, it comes with challenges.

First of all â€“ time. How do we find the time to do a really good job of teaching the different addition strategies so that our students possess excellent understanding, while also doing a really good job of teaching everything else in our overwhelming curriculum?

Second, differentiation. All of our students learn at different speeds and in different ways. We canâ€™t expect them all to learn the addition facts and strategies at the same time, but how do we ensure that each student is working to his full potential?

One last big challenge is the balance between mental math strategies and memorization. We know that strategies are important. We want our students to UNDERSTAND number, rather that simply memorizing the facts. However, automaticity is important too! How can we reach this balance?

Fortunately, there are specific strategies that we can teach to make addition easier for our students, and accessible for all of them.

Now, before I get started talking about these strategies, I do want to let you know that I have aÂ **free webinar**Â on this topic. Throughout the approximately 40-minute webinar Iâ€™ll discussÂ a multitude of addition strategies that will make your teaching more effective and efficient than ever before. **You can read more about that webinar and get registered HERE.**

Alternatively, if you are looking for a resource where all of the work is done for you, you may be interested inÂ **The Addition Station**, a self-paced, student-centered math stationÂ where students work through the basic addition facts and strategies, mastering each one as they go. Strategies are integrated in a strategic manner, ensuring that students build on their understanding progressively. **See The Addition Station for Grades 1-2 HERE and The Addition Station for Grades 3-4 HERE.**

Alright, so let’s talk about addition strategies.

**Strategies are ESSENTIAL, for all operations.**Â I like to think of strategies likeÂ **tools in a tool box**. When our students see an equation, we want them to be able to choose an effective strategy that will help them solve that particular equation.

Here are some of the most effective strategies for addition:

**Plus 1, 2, 3 and Extensions**

In younger grades, we begin with the Plus 1, 2, and 3 facts. We can teach Plus 1 as 1 more, Plus 2 as 2 more, and Plus 3 as 3 more. As our students are ready for more of a challenge, we can **extend** these facts into the tens, hundreds, and even thousands. For example, the fact 7+1 can be extended to 70+10, 700+100, or 7000+1000. Teach your students to look for familiar facts in these bigger equations, so that when they need to solve a fact like 50+20, they think, “IÂ know that 5+2=7, so 50+20=70.” During the extensions, be sure to emphasize place value. For example, we can think of 500+200 as 5 groups of 100 plus 2 groups of 100 to make 7 groups of 100.

**Counting On**

If students have been working with Plus 1, 2, and 3, they have technically already been working with the counting on strategy. Counting On is an introductory addition strategy that should only be used to add 1, 2, 3, or 4 to a number. Beyond this it gets confusing and can cause errors. To count on, we begin with the higher number and count on. For example, for 17+3, we think, “17…18, 19, 20.” For 2+34, we start with 34 and count on: “34…35, 36.” Dot patterns, ten frames, and number lines are all excellent tools for counting on. **Read more about counting on, and download some free printables to help you HERE.**

**Extending the Doubles and Near Doubles**

The doubles are typically facts that are memorized early on. Automaticity with these facts is important. The near doubles are facts like 4+5, where we encourage students to think, “I know that 4+4 is 8, and 1 more is 9.” We can also extend these facts. For example, when a student is faced with 30+30, he can think, “I know that 3+3 is 6, so 30+30 is 60.” Again in this level, we encourage students to think in groups of 10, 100, or 1000. For example, 200+200 can be thought of as 2 groups of 100 plus 2 groups of 100. **Read more about extending the doubles and near doubles, and download some free printables to help you HERE.**

**Plus 7, 8, and 9**

When we add 7, 8, or 9 to a number there are a couple of different approaches that we can use. First of all, we can add 10 and then take some away. Alternatively, we can make a 10 and then add the rest. I’ve discussed both of these approaches in detail in THIS BLOG POST. You’ll also find some free printables to help you!

**Left-to-Right Addition**

Left-to-right addition (also known as front-end addition or the partial sums method) is one of the most powerful mental math strategies for teaching addition of 2 or 3-digit numbers. However, many people are confused by why it is important and why it can be more effective than traditional vertical addition.

With left-to-right addition we add from left to right. So in a two-digit equation we add the tens first and then the ones. For example for 25+34 we first add 20+30 to make 50, then 5+4 to make 9, and then 50+9 to make the final sum of 59.

For a detailed explanation and rationalization of this strategy, as well as free printables to help you teach it, please see **THIS POST.**

**Using Friendly Numbers**

A friendly number is a number that is easy to work with. For example, multiples of 10 are â€śfriendlyâ€ť because they are easy to work with when we add or subtract.

When we use the â€śfriendly numberâ€ť strategy for addition, it helps us work with big numbers. This is because we are essentially breaking the equation up into more manageable parts.

We begin by getting to a friendly number, which is typically a multiple of 10, 100, or 100 â€“ depending on the numbers that we are working with. Then we add on the remainder.

For example, for the equation 27+9, we could first get to the friendly number 30 by adding 3, and then add the remaining 6 to make 36.

For a complete, detailed explanation of the friendly number strategy for addition, as well as some free printables to help you, please see THIS POST.

**Breaking Up the Second Number**

Breaking up the second number is a fantastic mental math strategy for addition that can be used in many different circumstances. This strategy involves breaking up the second number in an equation into more manageable parts. Like many other mental math strategies, this encourages students to think flexibly and to manipulate numbers in different ways. This is the big goal of mental math!

For a detailed explanation of this strategy as well as free printables to help you teach it, please see THIS POST.

**Compensation**

Compensation is a mental math strategy for multi-digit addition that involves adjusting one of the addends to make the equation easier to solve. Some students may prefer this strategy as an alternative toÂ left-to-right additionÂ or theÂ breaking up the second number strategy.

Compensation is a useful strategy for making equations easier to solve. More importantly, it encourages students to think flexibly about numbers.

Letâ€™s solve the equation 34+49 using the compensation strategy.

First, since 49 is so close to 50, we will add 34+50. This is easier to solve. Then, since we added one extra to the original equation, we have to subtract one from the final answer.

To see a more detailed explanation of this strategy, and download some free printables to teach it, please see THIS POST.

**NEXT STEPS:**

Ready to get really strategic with your approach to teaching math facts?

- Implement
**The Addition Station**– a self-paced, student-centered program for the basic addition facts and strategies (see Grades 1-2 HERE and Grades 3-4 HERE). - Register for an upcomingÂ
**Addition Strategies Webinar**HERE. - Try out
**Addition Strategies Task Cards**as a way for your students to practice each addition strategy in isolation. See the full bundle for 1st Grade,Â 2nd grade, 3rd grade, or 4th grade.

The post Effective Strategies for Teaching Addition Facts appeared first on Shelley Gray.

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