Thursday, October 17, 2013

Regrouping Practice for Second Graders who Love to Wiggle!

And two weeks later, I'm back in my classroom teaching! Part of my wants to celebrate, and part of me just wants to curl up in a ball! As happy as I am to be back, I knew deep down in my heart that leaving my kids for two weeks would mean I would come back to a bit of chaos. Boy was I right! Somehow in the two weeks I was gone, my dear second graders forgot many of our procedures and expectations... imagine that! And they were wiggly! And talkative! 

These are the days where I dump the lesson plans and bust out an activity that gets us out of our seats and moving. In a pinch, I borrowed some fabric (and a fun activity) from my teaching partner. While sitting around our meeting area carpet, I had each student grab a handful of colored tiles and dump them on a large piece of fabric. 

Looking at all the colorful tiles, I had my students turn-and-talk and estimate how many tiles we had on the sheet. I then had my kiddos discuss how we should sort the tiles to make them easy to count. We discussed how counting the tiles in groups of ten would make them much easier to count than counting them one-by-one. 

I then took three other pieces of fabric and and labeled them with hundreds, tens, and ones. My kiddos stacked their tiles in groups of ten and placed each pile on the ones column

They quickly noticed that we could easily regroup each set of ten and move them to the tens column. When we counted 10-tens, it was fun seeing their faces light-up and the excitement to tell me that it was time to regroup these tens to the hundreds column

We kept this activity going until we ran out of groups of tens to move to the tens column or the hundreds column. After all of that regrouping, we ended up with one tile left over. As a class, we decided the best place for that tile to go was in the ones column. I was glad there was at least one tile left over for the ones column! 

We ended up sorting 311 tiles in all! When all was said and done, we turned back to our original partners and talked about how far off our estimates were. Some students were pretty close to the actual amount... and they were very excited to tell me so! 

Because of my knee, I decided to keep this activity indoors. But, my teaching partner did this activity outside with objects her students found in nature. How cool is that!?! When I'm feeling better, I'll be taking my students on a nature hunt so we can sort and regroup their findings. 

How do you practice regrouping in your classroom? 

I'd love to hear some new ideas to try! Regrouping is hard stuff!



  1. This is great, Lizz! It's getting me thinking about some things to do for 5th grade.

  2. Thanks, Faith! I miss our teaching conversations! So glad I got to chat with you today!


  3. Great idea!! I think I will use this with my 3rd graders to practice addition. They can do the standard algorithm, but don't seem to get the place value part. I think this will help. And hang in there with the routines and stuff- I just started with my kids after they'd had a string of subs before the school hired me and I know exactly what you mean! Good luck :)
    Chris Making Meaning

    1. Thank you for your kind words! Place value is hard for kids to grasp on to. I'm always on the lookout for more ways to make place value more hands-on!

  4. I absolutely love this! I have very wiggly third graders, many who are still struggling with place value and the third grade skill of rounding. This can easily be adapted to third grade to help with estimation, rounding, and reteaching place value and my kiddos would love going outside! Thank you! Glad you are feeling better and glad to have found your blog from your guest post on the Organized Classroom Blog!

    1. I'm glad you found me on the OC blog! I'm thankful to have such a great teaching partner who loves to share her great ideas for me to adapt and share on my blog :)


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