Before I get into the main point of the post, I wanted to post a picture of how my properties sort looked like when the kids did it. It went so well! The page I uploaded with scribd did not show up well with the formatting.

So now, on to the integers. Adding and subtractint positive and negative numbers is always so difficult for kids but so important to learn so that they can do all of the algebra they will see in the next few years. So I try to show them several different ways to solve the problems and hope that on way works for them.

I started with this Flip Flap Fringe activity from the AIMS book Positive vs Negative. Can’t stress how much I love these books! The kids can fold the positive and negative signs in to come up with the answers to the problems. I think this also helps to see how a positve and negative number match up and cancel out.

We then created a foldable about integers. I have the kids circle the number plus the sign before it. Then they can better see if they have numbers with the same signs or different signs, then know whether they add or subtract.

Then @jreulbach posted this video on twitter. We did this activity today and it went really well!

The students use stickers to represent positive and negative numbers. They can easily see if both numbers are the same sign or opposite signs. It also forced them to really think about the signs first because I hammered them hard about wasting the stickers. Also, the third sticker that focused on the sign of the answers added an extra bonus discussion about whether the answer to one of the problems- 13 + (-13) would result in a positive or negative number. Then a discussion of whether neither or both were the same thing- as i n “0 is both negative and positive or 0 is neither negative nor positive.”

Also, another awesome change this year has been moving my kids into groups. Before, I had the kids in rows, then I would move them into groups once or twice a week for group activities. This was not my favorite time. The kids were always much louder and off topic. But being in groups all of the time has accomplished a few things:

1. It has forced me to have the kids talking in groups multiple times during one class period.

2. The groups are not as loud and not as off topic because it isn’t something new to them. I also set forth very specific expectations for noise level and tasks to accomplish. Then when the kids meet them, I immediately praise and specifically talk about what went well- “Awesome! You guys are getting a point for several reasons- your noise level was perfect, I didn’t hear anyone off topic, but the best part was as soon as I said go, you guys immediately got started. I heard group 7 talking about _____, group 3 brought up ______, and group 1 had this question _______. ”

3. This has also changed the way I check homework. I have the kids take out their homework when they get into class and discuss the answers with their groups. They circle the answers that were different and they couldn’t agree on.

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Yeah! I’m glad you tried it and it worked for you. I’m so excited to try it! We don’t do signed numbers until chapter 2 though. 😦 I can’t wait!

Let me know how it goes! I really think it helped the kids to stop before they put down a sticker, so they really had to think about the signs.