Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Gumballs, Water Balloons & Math

Thanks for all the love on my new blog look! I'm still so pumped about it. I know it's a little loud but I love it.  The colors make me happy.  Actually color in general just makes me happy :)
This is how I track who passed each week.
(don't judge my lack of bling - putting a shiny handle on this thing has been on  my to-do list since fall)

So I have 26 little ones that I got all riled up today about hibernation and groundhogs. We are "on the edge of our seats" waiting for Phil to tell us if winter is over.  Why are we so excited for winter to be over?  

Well, I have added a new incentive to my classroom this week because I'm crazy dedicated to student learning. Each week it's a really BIG deal for us to take our "Gumball Math Fact Test” you can get your copy from Made  for 1st  Grade.   In addition to whatever topic we are on in math, each Monday I make fact flash cards for each student and thus begins their week of independent studying.  They have finally begun to realize that their success depends on how much time they put into studying their cards.  I allow a little time each day for practicing in class and they are allowed to take their cards to and from school and we often partner off and quiz each other. 

The tests are taken in order (+1,-1, +2,-2, +3,-3…).  Each time a student passes, they get a real gumball (this is a huge deal!) and they move up to the next test to begin studying again. Thankfully, students are beginning to move up in their levels but I’ve noticed them getting stuck on the same test for longer.  Thanks to a fellow co-worker who mentioned doing this with her class years ago, I decided I would try it. 

I know I just need to spit it out already!

I have added that for each test that each child passes, at our end of the year cookout, I will let the kids throw that many water balloons at ME.  Yep. I’m just going to stand there and take it.  Needless to say, they are beyond excited about this new incentive.

A few questions…
Do you do timed tests in your class and if yes, how many questions and how much time?
What crazy incentive have you offered your class to reach a goal? 


  1. It is very nice blog, especially i like your tips and suggestion to make different types of design.Its a very difficulty thats way i like very much. Baby BalloonsThanks a lot.

  2. What a darling design! I love it!

  3. Very nice! My firsties are gonna love some of the ideas I'm borrowing from you!

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  5. We do "Speed Math" but never gave anything lol

    I put a sticker on their page when they pass lol


    {BTW, I tagged you, check out my blog}

  6. I'm just following Miss Squirrels around. This is the fourth blog she's beat me to.

    Your giveaway is so wonderful! I'm your newest newest follower.

    Buzzing with Ms. B

  7. I love your blog design. It looks great.

    Queen with Class

  8. Love your cute blog!! I'm now following you. :)
    Conversations in Literacy

  9. I just started the Gumball Math tests too! I bought a real gumball machine on clearance and my class is super motivated to get gumballs out of it. I started giving my class only 3 minutes to complete each test but that didn't work. I now give them 5 minutes and most of them are successful. I think 5 minutes is reasonable for first graders to complete 50 problems. Unfortunately, I've had a parent complain about the timed tests. They don't think 5 minutes is long enough for their child. Have you had any parents complain?

  10. I just started blogging and came across your blog. I love it! I really like the idea of the gumball math tests. In Kg we have to fluently add and subtract up to 5. This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing.
    Check out my new blog:

  11. I told my class that I would run a 10k and everyone who passes 10 fact-tests before then will get to sign the shirt I'll wear in the run. This is a big deal because I've only done a few 5ks, never tried a 10!



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