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Using Arrow Cards to Help Second Graders Read and Write Numbers to 1000
A big idea in the Common Core State Standards for second grade is being able to understand place value and read and write numbers up to 1000. Arrow cards can be an effective and fun way to accomplish this goal.
You will need arrow card blacklines. Print or copy them onto cardstock or, if you have a magnetic white board or other large magnetic surface, it can be really beneficial to print your arrow cards onto magnetic printer paper. You will see in many of my pictures I have magnetic arrow cards. They do need to be printed on an inkjet printer, not a laser one! The other benefit of using magnetic ones is that they stick to each other quite well. I have a set that is magnetic for use with whole group instruction and another set that is printed onto laminated cardstock that I use for small group or individual instruction. There are several different styles of arrow cards available for free online and the ones I linked to earlier in this post do not match the ones you will see in the pictures.
The Set Up and Routine
I start this routine lesson by placing each arrow card out one by one and having kids read them to me. This should be easy and fluent for kids before you begin combining the arrow cards. If reading these numbers is not yet fluent for your students. Practice them before moving on with these activities.
|Separate arrow cards that are about to be pushed together to form one number|
|This is what it looks like when the 40 and the 8 arrow cards are placed on top of each other. Arrows always go together.|
Again I start with two or more separate cards and have kids read them and then put them together and have them read it again.
As kids get more fluent with reading the numbers apart and then together, I might switch things up on them and show them a number that is put together and then pull it apart to "check" their thinking.
|For this one, I had kids close their eyes and I chose three number cards off the board. I had them open their eyes and whisper the number to a partner. I then pull the cards apart to check if they are right.|
|I go one step further and write the entire equation that we just said. Here we noticed that 268 was the same as (or equal to) 200 + 60 + 8|
After 1-2 whole group lessons on these ideas, kids really seem to get it. I often do 1-2 more small group or intervention lessons on kids who are still struggling and will sometimes pull the arrow cards out later in the year for a quick review. Kids have a lot of fun with these and are usually happy to use the cards again.
If you have computers in your room, this game and this game are great ways to let kids practice with arrow cards independently.
Adapting for older or younger children
I also use the arrow cards in Kindergarten, first, third and fourth grades. I just vary the range of numbers I use and the speed at which I go through the routine.
Here is what my set up might look like in K or first. In Kindergarten I might even restrict the numbers further but I never EVER start with the teen numbers. I always save them for last.
A third or fourth grade lesson set up might look like this
If you want to read more about using arrow cards in the classroom, check out this article from Education World or this resource from NZ maths.
Have you ever used arrow cards in your classroom? Are they something you are thinking about trying?