This Can’t Be Math… I Like It

Sarah McAllister & Melissa McNenly

PITA Conference – Oct. 24, 2008
This Can’t be Math…I Like It!
a.k.a. Teaching Math Affectively – Presented by: Rick Wunderlich

  • Remember to think about what’s happening in students’ heads – it is likely not the same as yours
  • ALL students can learn math
    • As a teacher, it is your responsibility to believe in ALL students
  • Learning = risk taking
  • Steps to Creating a Positive Attitude in Learning:
    1. Create in the students’ mind the importance of the learning – they will only learn to value learning once they trust you. Believe in them.
    2. Give students meaningful opportunities to personalize the learning – they can then begin to take ownership of their learning.
    3. Allow students multiple scenarios to show their learning – many methods to answer, (ex. interviews)
  • There are more ways of testing a student than just with a test
  • Ensure that students know that it is okay to make mistakes and to be wrong.
  • The students that you are teaching are those that will change the world.
  • Often, a mathematician is not a good math teacher. They cannot explain how to get an answer in different ways.
  • Take your students from where they are, to the highest place you can.
  • Link math to global issues – make it meaningful to your students, (ex. climate change, poverty, hunger, disease)
  • Example of an Activities/Games:
    • Ask students what their favorite meal is – they can then create their own restaurant from scratch. This includes mapping out the area, the prices, the menus, purchasing product, etc. Use a space they know, such as the class room.
    • Yahtzee!
    • Crib
    • Monopoly
    • Tally the amount of hours spent on electronics
  • Good ‘lines’ to use with students:
    • “Something tells me you’re good at this..”
    • “You have to bear with me, you may not like this but..”
    • “You’re allowed to be wrong..”
    • “How would you begin..”
    • “Don’t cheat – I can’t help you then”
  • Using games for teaching math is very powerful as is working in groups. Students come to believe that they can do math, that math is important, and that math is all around them.
  • Assessment:
    • Assess less, mark better
      • self-assess
      • conversations
      • tests
    • Student’s do NOT mark another student’s work
    • Collect work, photocopy it, have students mark it
  • For Friday’s math class, do something fun!

The above notes were created by: Melissa McNenly – UBCO Student Teacher (
Edited by: Shannon Truesdell – UBCO Student Teacher (shantrues


Ann-Marie Hunter Math Resources

Building Math Confidence to Foster Success:

Workshop resources:

One of the difficulties that many students experience, a piece that is detrimental to developing Math confidence, is being unsure of how to read numbers and how to identify the value of specific digits in numbers. The resources below can help to address this basic understanding of number values.

Place value and numeration resources:
What’s Your Number is a class activity that builds opportunities to creatively talk about Math, using Math Vocabulary, examining the relationships between numbers.

VISUALIZING NumberS and comparing their placement on the number line:

Use these number lines to give a visual representation for numbers. You can make a classroom master number line (perhaps enlarged), with each column cut out and pasted above the previous column and point out to students that the vertical number line actually continues endlessly up and endlessly down – a good introduction to the term ‘infinity’.

It’s important to explain that the page of vertical numbers represents how we can visualize numbers increasing up and decreasing down. Also clarify that the vertical number line is in sections, each to right of the previous one, just to fit them all on one page.

The number lines can be used to help students ‘see’ relationships between numbers, allowing them to better understand and express inequalities.

Example: It is clear that 65 > 29 (since it is higher up on the number line). Students’ natural sense of higher being bigger is stronger than the idea of numbers to the right are larger (as is used on a horizontal number line). As well, the number lines can be used as an aid in rounding numbers, to the nearest 10, or the nearest 100 – they can actually see which 10 or 100 is closest to the number. As in, 38 ~ 40 (it is closer to 40 than it is to 30).

The same comparison and rounding skills with decimals can be made more clear using the Decimal Vertical Number Lines page.

Vertical Number Lines
Decimal Vertical Number Lines

Factors and Multiples Resources:

Building number knowledge is one of the most important aspects of Math literacy. Recognition of how each number is made up of other numbers can reduce anxiety about large numbers and leads to greater confidence with mathematical calculations.

Understanding the relationship between factors and multiples of numbers is a skill that transfers well into Algebra skills.

Helping Students with Timestables Knowledge.doc
Divisibility Rules.doc

Factors and Multiples theory and Prime Factorization

Using factoring to demystify numbers – strategies for teaching

Fantastic Factors Page 1.doc
Fantastic Factors Page 1 Key.doc
Fantastic Factors Page 2.doc

Fantastic Factors Page 2 Key.doc


Double double Digit with Decimals Grade 5.doc

Excellent Equivalents Cards.doc

Excellent Equivalents Games.doc

Excellent Equivalents Code Sheet.doc

Measurement & Geometry Resources:

2016 StartUP Measurement & Geometry HANDOUT

Buzz Words for Measurement & Geometry
Understanding Perimeter, Area and Volume
Types of Triangles and Polygon names
Labelling figures and Classifying Quadrilaterals
Geometric Solids
Nets for Geometric Solids, cube & rectangular solid
Quadrilateral Personalities
Quadrilateral Personalities Answers
Tessellation Examples.doc
Protractor use.doc
Find additional Geometry pages on

Geometry & Measurement Workshop GAMES


Metric Conversions:
Metric Conversion with a Visual Tool

Metric Conversions Game:
Game Rules: Collaborative Conversions Game Rules.doc
Game Sheet: Collaborative Conversions Game Sheet.doc
Game Coordinates: Collaborative Conversions Game Coordinates.doc
Game Numbers: Collaborative Conversions Game Numbers.doc

Graphing/Statistics Activity:


Hundreds Charts:

This chart is used as any Hundreds Chart, with the difference being that it is devised with numbers increasing upwards, rather than downwards.

Mastering the Basics Program (created by trevor calkins):

These pages accompany the Mastering the Basics program as outlined on  It is a program that offers an individualized plan for each student, and builds their confidence with acquisition of their basic skills. All needed materials can be found on the Power of Ten website, including Basic Facts sheets that students can use to identify which facts they still need to learn.

Reasons for using BSTs
Guidelines for using the Mastery of the Basics Program
BST – Report on Basic Skills Tests record sheet Grade 6

Mental Math:

Math Confidence grows when students have acquired knowledge of Math facts in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Knowing timestables (multiples of numbers) is an integral part of many Math skills.

Students who have quick recall of timestables are empowered to take part in Math and confident about their abilities; they do not need to use calculators for simple calculations, and can much more easily reduce fractions and simplify algebraic equations.

The following chart visually reduces the important multiplication facts to half as many facts as is usually presented – as each fact is presented only once, instead of twice. There is no need to memorize 3 X 4 as well as 4 X 3!

These tables can be used to engage students in identifying which questions they still need to work on, as well as offering encouragement to them when they’ve improved their timestables knowledge. Using Triangular Flash Cards to test themselves is also a successful activity. (Look online for samples of triangular flash cards for Addition/Subtraction, as well)

Helping Students with Timestables Knowledge.doc
Timestables Blank Spaced.doc
Timestables with Answers.doc

SAMPLE Triangular Flash Cards Multiplication

BLANK Triangle Flash Cards Multiplication

Use these I Have – Who Has cards to practise mental math. One card is given to each student. Begin with one student reading their card, and others look to see if their own card holds the solution to the question. They then read out their card, and so on.

It is recommended that you clarify the value of students helping each other. If no one volunteers their card with the answer, take the time to show how the answer to a question can be identified, talking through the process with the entire class and asking for ideas for solving.

(TIP: One way to ensure that you get back the entire set of cards, is to collect the cards from each student immediately after they have been read.)

Included on the page is a blank page to be used for new questions that the teacher (or interested students) can devise.

I have who has game

Slam Dunk Math Games:

Rock, Paper, Number
Cross Out, Salute
Fraction Kit Games

Excellent Equivalents Games
Excellent Equivalents Code Sheet
Excellent Equivalents Cards.
Excellent Equivalents Updated Extras

Four in a Row Game.
Target Add and Subtract
Digit Decide
Coordinate TicTacToe


Word Question ActivitIES: (Simple directions and vocabulary)

Teaching specific vocabulary that is associated with Word Questions helps students to approach solving them with more confidence.
Word Question Strategies.doc
Word Question Strategies-french.doc

Word Question Vocabulary
Word Question Vocabulary-fr.doc
Place Mat Activity.doc


The Appointment Clock can be used to pair up students for varied activities.

Appointment Clock Use Description
Appointment clock

An explanation of how to describe positive and negative numbers (Integers) to students:

Seeing How Integers Work.doc

These are instructional pages of simple Sudoku, helpful for teaching how Sudoku is played:
StartUPMath2010-Sudoku Page 1.doc
StartUPMath2010-Sudoku Page 2.doc
StartUPMath2010-Sudoku Page 3.doc
StartUPMath2010-Sudoku Page 4.doc

This method of recognizing the meaning of double digit multiplication can help students who have difficulty with completing multiplication with carrying and borrowing:
Practise Multiplying by Powers of Ten

Using Powers of Ten to Understand the Multiplication Algorithm
Mental Math Tricks (including Memory Wizard)

Memory Wizard Game sheet

Students can be shown the first few lines of the Math Patterns, and then challenged to insert (and verify) the following lines.   Cool Math Patterns

PICO, FERMI, BAGELS is an amazing game that builds reasoning skills: PICO, FERMI, BAGELS

Mobile Math shows how students can make mobiles in the classroom to demonstrate their understanding of factors of numbers:



Quick math blacklines for math

Use this page for math blacklines masters- be sure to describe the usage.

Algebra Tiles
Our school solved the problem by making a consumable….buying double
sided-two different coloured “poster paper” sheets and cutting them
up…photocopying a algebra tile template onto them. Assign negative to
one colour and positive to the other……We give the kids a sheet and
scissors….takes a few min to cut up….. sandwich baggies for storage.
( I keep the extra “ones” and use for game tiles and other counting chores)
Algebra Tiles.doc
Algebra Tile Pattern1.doc


Web resources (eg.worksheet generators)

Type in the content of your page here.

Worksheet generators: (please list those you have used in your class)
List by stream and grade if possible & remove if you find the link is dead- If you have a comment please do so.

Time: Clock face
Comment- simple clean easy

Grade 4, 5, 6, and 7 Vancouver Island Math Diagnostic Assessment tests
If you just print them the eat a lot of paper, so I’m trying to group the questions and use them as pre-tests when I begin a chapter.
They are helpful for me. I’ll post them as I do them when I get time. Ray.
End of Grade 3 – Beginning of Grade 4 WNCP.pdf

End of Grade 4 – Beginning of Grade 5 WNCP.pdf

End of Grade 5 – Beginning of Grade 6 WNCP.pdf
End of Grade 6 – Beginning of Grade 7 WNCP.pdf


Math Resources

Link to Ann-Marie Hunter’s Math Resource Page
Supporting Resources: Math Financial Literacy Mini-Projects, by Melissa Salter
Mini projects dec per frac.docx

Link to Carole Saundry-Fullerton’s page:

Mathematical Thinking by Carole Saundry-Fullerton (Math Resources for all grades)

Another great resource for helping students who are having specific problems is Karismath by Shad Moarif:

PITA Fall Conference 08 Workshop Notes:

This Can’t be Math…I Like It! a.k.a. Teaching Math Effectively

Sarah McAllister & Melissa McNenly

Physical Activity- Using Pedometers

Using Pedometers for Daily Activity, PE, Science and Math!

As part of the Science curriculum Life Sciences and the Human Body, my class
has been studying the structure and function of the circulatory system. One
of the resources I used was the Heart & Stroke Association’s “Heart Smart
Kids” binder. When we reached the section, Active Living, I thought the use
of pedometers would be a great hands on activity. They have loved it.

For one week the students have been monitoring the number of steps they have
taken each day and have recorded the information. The goal has been to
achieve 10,000 steps each day. The students’ response has been great. Each
morning as I let them into the classroom, they are eager to tell me how many
steps they walked the day before. The highest so far as been almost 20,000!
Throughout the day you will see the students checking their pedometer,
especially after recess and lunch. Students want to go for walks as part of
the DPA and are taking the long route home to increase their step count.
While waiting in line to change classes many of the students are walking on
the spot.

With the data I intend to teach averaging and graphing. We will learn how
to make a graph and also how to interpret the information (for example one
day the count of most students was down). Each student will graph their own
information and we will complete a class graph.

We will also be doing some reflective writing on the experience.

We have also discussed ways they can increase their level of fitness by
walking and what they can do to increase their walking. By being aware of
the numbers provided by the pedometers, it gives the students an observable

I am glad that we have used the pedometers, There are many potential
benefits to having our school purchase a class set to be used by students.

I hope you find this information useful.
Thanks to Pat from Burnaby for the use of this report, and Art who alerted us about it.



Primary Home Page:
We offered our first primary workshop in August 2015, and hope to grow our resources for primary.
Help us build this page and link to your favourite resource pages.
Use this page as a ‘Table of Contents’Metro North and South Start UP! Series.
For now, go to the startupyourclass Primary Discussion group to see power points etc. We will transfer them here later.

Start UP! Series 2015: Primary – led by Fiona Morrison
Workshop leader Fiona Morrison strongly recommended , for some great literacy resources for K/1-
Day 1
With Tamara Sengotta

Day 2
Supporting Social and Emotional Learning within Classrooms (AM Session)
With Harpreet Esmail and Shannon Bain
Start up literacy presentation19SeptPM.pptx
Sept 19 K-3 AMPresentation.pptx

Day 3
Series15K-3Day3Learning_Through_Play_surrey 1.pptx
Series15K-3Day3AMPlay Log.doc
Series15K-3Day3Math Games and Invitations.pptx
Series15K-3Math Log.doc


First Week of School

The 33pg. First Week of School booklet is revised to match the video. It is free with Ray’s compliments.
The First Week of School-9-17.pdf (Sept 2017)
‘The First Week of School‘ booklet by Ray Myrtle is the basis for the ‘Start UP! Your Class Successfully’ workshop & video.  At one time this Booklet was available through BCTF locals.

There is also an intro activity on YouTube – google raymyrtle YouTube.

Now you can watch the Start UP! Your Class workshop online for 3 months for $1. Here is a sample: Tuesday: Making a Good First Impression

Find out about workshops, videos and other info at

Here are the backline masters you need to use the activities with your own class:
Lets Get Acquainted Blackline #1.docGraph The Class-Prediction Blackline#2.docclass list template.docGraph The Class Blackline#3.docDraw and Predit Draft Revison.docSeating Plan Blackline#13.docAbstract Design Blackline#11.docClass list Number #8.docStart UP! Your Class Overview 2014.doc

Here is the French version of some blackline masters-contributed by Vincent. (immersion teachers- take one share one!):
Lets Get Acquainted Blackline #1-fr.docxGraph The Class-Prediction Blackline#2 – fr.docx
Graph The Class Blackline#3 – fr.docxDraw and Predit Draft Revison – fr.docx

Revised math assessments from the Vancouver Island Net (a group of math consultants and teachers from Vancouver Island).
Note: This has not been updated for the new revised curriculum:
If you can’t attend the Start UP! Series:
You can use the number skills page in the assessments below. It’s a quick assessment of those skills expected at the grade listed: eg. beginning of Grade 4. There is a key at the end, and you can have a student mark them. Keep them on file so you be able to see evidence of progress during the year.
End of Grade 3 – Beginning of Grade 4 WNCP.pdfEnd of Grade 4 – Beginning of Grade 5 WNCP.pdfEnd of Grade 5 – Beginning of Grade 6 WNCP.pdfEnd of Grade 6 – Beginning of Grade 7 WNCP.pdf

Ann-Marie and I suggest you use the Math Basics. The Math Basics program is available from Trevor Calkins at you can get a CD with each grade. It is a complete program that builds math confidence while reviewing concepts. I used it for about 15-20 min at the start of each math class right after lunch.

Link to the Math Home page for a lot more info on the Math Basics program (from Ann-Marie Hunter).
Link to Planning the Year Page (Yearly Planning etc).

PE Game- Eco Tag:
PE Lesson– Eco Tag.doc