Saturday, November 5, 2011

Homework Bags

One of my goals in September was to get my students to master their multiplication facts (12's).  I taught third grade for 19 years and moved up to fourth this year.  Many third graders haven't mastered their facts and lose them over the summer.  I had some of the same students from last year and I had to come up with new ideas that would motivate them too.  I came up with the Homework Bag.  Every child gets the bag once a week.  The children have assigned nights and if it is forgotten at home, I have a back-up.  They have been very responsible.

I found the perfect sized canvas bag at the dollar tree.  I bought six bags and a set of flash cards for each.  I added a deck of Every Day math cards for the card games they have learned in class.  I added a couple of things every week to the bags focusing on a specific times table.  ex.  "I have/who has," memory cards, flip books, etc. I also added a few games that covered all the facts.  The bags started getting very full, so I emptied them out a few weeks ago and now let the children pick out what they want to work on.  I am now adding activities that cover other math standards and subject areas.   I found flip books at the Dollar Tree for states and capitols.

As of November 1st, I can proudly state that I have 14 out of 22 students who have passed their fact quizzes.  (I give 50 problems in 4 minutes)  They love getting their stars on their VIP passes(earlier post).  I also have a special award for the Extreme VIP's.  They have been working on multiplying 3 factors.  I have 3 students who have accomplished that feat. (I am not sure if I could do it)

Here is one of the kids favorite games in the HW Bags: Multiplication Boom
 *to play the children take turns drawing facts until someone gets a bomb

Start saving Crystal Light containers- Target had some round cans for their brand
Cover cans with red paper
Add labels and cover with contact paper...I used Packing Tape
Poke hole in cover and add a piece of jute
Print sheet of booms for each can
Print sheets of facts for each can. 

Click the images below for links to print:


Click on the image to for the link to site for flashcards:

Printable Multiplication Flashcards


  1. That was creative! My 4th grade class is seriously behind on knowing their facts. They'd much rather count on their fingers or do tally marks on paper than memorize. This idea is really on point. I haven't been successful in getting them excited about knowing the basics. Any ideas?

  2. I started with giving timed test daily for the first few weeks. I then switched to 2x a week. I used the multiplication VIP passes to get the kids motivated and they really wanted to earn the stickers. The kids put on their passes for good luck. I use on-line during the test (they have bombs, eggtimers, clocks, etc.) which the kids love. I also talked to parents at our curriculum night and told them to go to Dollar Tree and get flash cards. I send home the HW bags and I use many multiplication games in class. I will post our favorite next week. Thanks for leaving a comment and good luck!

  3. Thanks Kelli for letting me know...I fixed them. If they still don't work please let me know! I am still new to this and trying to figure it all out!

  4. The flashcards work but not the boom cards either set!
    You could email to me if you wanted to.

  5. I also couldn't get the links to work. Would you mind sharing with me also. Awesome ideas.

  6. Becky, I sent you an email with an attachment. I added a new link under the pictures on my blog. Will you try those and let me know if they work? Thanks!

  7. this sounds amazing...will def. try...