Memorizing addition and subtraction facts is universal and math is often an area where EAL kiddos thrive. (Because in the words of my sister when she was 7 years old and a fresh immigrant to Sweden, “At least the numbers don’t change. They might call them something else but I still know what’s going on.”) As a teacher I want to give them strategies to group their number facts (make a ten, +1, doubles) and as a mom I want to see my daughter not have to continually use her fingers. This is a game that I use mostly to reinforce the idea of “counting on” – the idea that you start with the bigger number and add the second number by counting it out. (5+3 becomes 5+ 6,7,8)
I created this game for my kiddos at home to practice addition, They are obsessed with cake and if I could combine cake and math we would have a winner. I then discovered that it was such a hit at home that I should try it in the classroom. My own kids being EAL made me pretty sure that all of my students, including my special needs and EAL students would benefit,
It was In the classroom that I discovered that we could explore probability. It also naturally led itself to an investigation about all of the addition facts that can make up a sum. So I created a journal for them to write down their findings and an experimental probability tally chart so they could gather data. They were able to practice basic addition skills and explore more advanced probability. Oh, and they loved the game as much as my own kids. I’m marking this one down in the win column.