A teacher’s time in the classroom is so limited nowadays. It is becoming more and more important to find resources that fill more than just one need. When I originally made I CAN math games, I knew I wanted a multi-purpose resource that could be used in centers, as independent work, as a whole class, and even to help me with progress monitoring. Oh, and I wanted my students to actually enjoy it!
Well, I CAN math games do all of that and more! 🙂 In this post, I am going to share with you ALL the ways I have used these games in my own classroom. Plus, I’ll give you some tips on how to put them together so that you can easily implement these games in your classroom too! Don’t miss the freebies at the end of this post.
NOTE: These games are currently available for grades K-9. I have mainly pictured the first grade games because that is what I am currently using for homeschooling my daughter.
What in the world is an I CAN math game?
Great question! 😉 An I CAN math game is literally a math game in a can. Yep, a can. I’ll get more into that later. Basically, I created 40 test-like questions that closely align with the common core standards for each skill. There is a separate game for each skill/concept. The questions vary greatly; computation, process questions, models, extended response questions, etc. Each question is on its own strip of paper and is placed in the can. Students can play this game by pulling a question from the can, and working out the answer. If they get the question correct, they keep the card. If they get the question wrong, another student can try to solve it correctly and steal the card. The student with the most cards at the end, WINS!
One important component to these games is that they are easy to differentiate. Each of the 40 questions comes in 2 formats: multiple choice and short answer. They also come with and without QR codes. QR codes are used in place of the answer sheet so students can check their answers using technology. I’m currently using these games to homeschool my daughter. I chose to use the short answer format, with the QR codes. She LOVES the QR codes!!!
Putting these games together (4 options)
1. Use a CAN – my favorite way to use these games is with a can. All you have to do is find a can that works for you. I love tennis ball cans, but you could also use Pringle Chip cans, Lysol wipe cans, Crystal Light cans, or anything that shape. I always suggest emailing the staff at your school and asking for donations. That is how I have always collected the cans. Each grade level comes with 10 games, so you will need 10 cans if you are going to go this route.
Once you have your cans, just wrap a pre-made label around the can, cut the questions into strips, stick them inside, and BOOM…done. 🙂
2. Folders – If you aren’t into the “can” thing, you can easily organize these games into folders. I just glued the cover on the front, and included answer sheets, recording sheets, and questions inside.
3. Binder – If you are looking for a SUPER simple way to keep all of your games together, use a binder. I keep each game in its own sheet protector. Now all I have to do is find the skill I’m working on, and everything is right there for me.
4. Binder Ring – If you don’t have a lot of room, or plan to use these more like task cards, it is great to put these questions on a ring. Students can access them easily, and they will always stay together. Simple!
10 Different ways to use I CAN math games in the classroom.
1. Math Centers (2+ students) – This is my favorite way to use these games. The description for this game is already explained above, so I won’t go through it again. It is very simple, and once you teach your students the process, they know how to play in the future.
2. Independent Practice – students can work through these questions one at a time, and self-check as they go. I like to have some kind of incentive for finishing all 40 questions with at least 80% accuracy.
3. Progress Monitoring – I have students complete the questions with me, or on their own (depending on the student). I then use the progress monitoring checklist included in each game to see which standards they are still struggling with. This helps guide my instruction for future small group lessons. It also comes in handy during parent conferences, and EIP meetings.
4. Test-Prep – These questions are perfect for test-prep time! Students can have fun while reviewing all the standards. Although, if you use these all year long, you won’t need to stress so much before the BIG test!
5. Whole Group Games – Because there are so many questions in each game, you can use these as whole group practice. I love to split my class into groups and project these questions on the board. The teams then take turns answering the questions as a group, earning team points as they go.
6. Task Cards – If you aren’t into playing tons of games, you can easily use these as task cards. I like to organize the questions on a ring. Now I have a simple activity for “any time” use.
7. End of Unit Review – I love using these at the end of a unit. You can use them any of the ways described above. Once students have learned the skills needed for the game, they are much more successful in using the resource. Also, it is a perfect review before a unit test!
8. Exit Slips – At the end of a math lesson, I pass out one question to each student. They then have to complete the question and turn it in before they can move to the next activity. You can give a different question to each student, or just print multiple copies of one question.
9. Early Finishers – I have always had students who finish early and don’t know what to do. These games solve that problem perfectly!
10. Math Around the Room – At different points throughout the year, I loved playing Math Around the Room. I would tape up these questions all around the room. My students would move through the room with a clipboard and pencil, and solve each of the problems, rotating to the next question when given the signal. Just the idea of moving around, made this activity a total success for my students!
You can learn more about these games for your classroom by clicking on your grade level below.