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Hello <<First Name>>,

Is your family is eager to launch into a new year? At our house, we shared a round of flu for the holidays :( but now that we're almost all recovered, I'm ready to start up our new homeschool semester.

This is my first "Let's Play Math!" blog newsletter, and I think I've found some yummy math bits to share. I hope you and your children enjoy them.

Best wishes!
Denise

Math Snack: Calendar Patterns

Playful, no-preparation math activities for all ages

A new year is a great time to investigate patterns on the calendar. If you don't have a printable planner, then download your favorite calendar style. Let's play...

Young children can use the calendar as a number line to do addition and subtraction beyond what they might normally handle. Look for addition and subtraction patterns. 3+5=? Now go to 13+5, and 23+5. What do you notice? What do 11-7, 21-7, and 31-7 have in common? Take turns finding and describing patterns.

Older children can practice their times tables. Mark the numbers you hit when you count by 2. What pattern do they make? Make the counting-by-3 pattern, or mark the 7s, etc. Which counting-by patterns are your favorites? What happens if you start at a weird number, like counting by 6s but starting at 5?

Try some of Cynthia Lanius's algebra calendar puzzles. Can you explain why they work? What other patterns can you discover?

Join the 2015 Year Game

Use the digits in the year 2015 to write mathematical expressions for the counting numbers 1 through 100.

The goal is adjustable: Young children can start with looking for 1-10, middle grades with 1-25.

Share your progress in the comments at Let's Play Math blog.

More Tasty Tidbits

A few of my favorite recent (or new-to-me) posts about math and teaching

Jeromie Heath shared a great set of questions to probe student thinking. Print it out and keep a copy handy.

Mike Lawler's blog is always worth reading. I loved his retrospective, 10 fun math things from 2014.

Meg stirs up her fourth grade students to some deep thinking about fractions in The Power of NOT Giving the Answer.

Michael Fenton shares a game-like graphing challenge for prealgebra or algebra students: Point, Point, Slope.

From Sarah Dees: This last one may not seem like math, but it does involve triangles. Every kid should have a chance to play with Popsicle Stick Bombs. What fun!

Have fun at the math carnival

Number sense, measurement, place value, functions, calculus for kids, math art, and much more — check out the December math education blog carnival:

Math Teachers at Play (MTaP) Blog Carnival #81

Blog and Book Updates

A quick peek at what I'm working on

I started a blog series called Roadmap to Mathematics, with brief outlines for each grade level and playful ways to approach each topic. So far we've covered:

Looks like I need to get back and finish the upper elementary levels soon...

I've gotten some fantastic comments back from my beta readers on the Math You Can Play number games series, so I'm working those into the text now. One result has been to turn the books around: what I thought was the introduction turned out to belong at the end, and what I thought was the conclusion got moved to the start. We're still on track for spring 2015 with the first two books of the series. Next stop: find a professional editor.

Recrafting the Let's Play Math ebook as a paperback has turned into the project that never ends. I've added a new Frequently Asked Questions chapter and a section about what it really means to understand math. I've got a whole folder full of notes, tweaks, and other things to add before sending this back to my beta readers for approval. Target publication date: Fall 2015, if all goes well.

[For those of you who already have the ebook -- don't worry, I'll update those files at the same time. I think most vendors send updates automatically, and for the rest, you should be able to contact Customer Service for the new file. I'll let you know when.]

And that's all I have for now. I hope you found something interesting or useful. See you next month!
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