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  • Shanna Anderson

Playful Math Practice (at Home)

We play many different roles throughout our day - spouse, parent, employee, friend. Each of our roles are generally defined by our location - home, work, community. Yet, right now we have one place for all these roles - our home. On top of this mixing of our safest space, many of us have accepted the challenge of a new role - the face-to-face teacher for our children. While we continue to work, care for others, and care for ourselves all in this one space, we also feel the pressure of teaching our own children. Pressure, although it can create beautiful diamonds, can also break rocks. Thus, during these unprecedented times, I wonder how we can help manage our pressures to create a beautiful diamond?

Well, the first thing that came to mind is adjusting how we practice our learnings. As a math teacher, I know the importance of engaging my students in meaningful math practice. I also know that my own children need to enjoy the practice in order to want to do it, to work through the task, and to complete it with minimal support. So, I started to think of all the joyful ways that students (and my own children) could engage in math practice that supports number sense and overall math thinking.

Here are some playful activities that encourage the practice of math skills beyond the worksheet. These activities require minimal prep (print outs or basic items). In addition to these ideas, consider family game time with board games, card games, chess or even specific math games like shut the box.



Counting Sequence

1-1 Correspondence

Decomposing Numbers




Hopefully you enjoyed this rough list. I also started a document of activities that I can add to as I keep thinking of (or finding) more. I have office hours on Friday, March 27th and would love to get a discussion going about ways we can engage our students in math thinking routines virtually!

A final Thought - Beyond Math.

Although we are physically apart we have a whole network of educators ready and able to help! Seek out support, see the joy in each day, be ok with less, and learn alongside our students and children so that we can emerge from this a strong diamond.

“Let's not forget these early days

Remember we begin the same

We lose our way in fear and pain

Oh joy begin…”

-Dave Matthews Band

Shanna can be reached at

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