Math Madness Wednesday: Tens Frames–what are they?

 I can’t believe August is almost over!! Where has the time gone? We went to the beach this past weekend to have a bonfire and kind of say goodbye to summer. It was beautiful, yet sad!
This week’s topic is Tens Frames. Since it is the beginning of the year, I know many of you are using tens frames to introduce number identification and subitizing (if you are like me and had no idea what this term meant until recently, subitizing is instantly seeing how many. So, when a picture or series of dots is shown to a child, they can instantly know how many pictures or dots are there).
Tens frames are also used to help with combinations that make 10, begin to understand place value, and even track their counting. It is a very versatile and useful tool!
So, how are they used? Traditionally, they are filled in from left to right, filling in the top row first. However, they can really be filled in anyway you see fit. You may want to introduce them one way and allow the kids to get pretty strong with that before you move on to another way.  {Here} is a YouTube video that is a great introduction to tens frames!
When using a tens frame for counting, it is important for students to understand 1:1 correspondence. Therefore, having tens frames or mats available for students at a math center or at their desk is essential. They can use buttons, cotton balls, Legos, unifix cubes, or any other type of counters for this. One fun way to practice this is to use play-dough! Set out mats with numbers to practice. The kids can roll play dough balls to practice counting and even turn the play dough into the number itself!
To do this, we made some of our play dough! I looked around at various recipes and combined some of them to make my own. I may be slightly obsessed with fall foods and smells. So, I decided to make mine orange and added some pumpkin pie spice to make it smell good too!
For number identification, students should practice being able to instantly identifying how many dots are in a tens frame (again, this would be subitizing!).

Students can use these puzzles to practice.  They include puzzles in 2, 3, and 4 pieces per number so you can differentiate in your class, or they can grow with your child.

And, of course, I had to create some games to help practice! Here is one of my tens frames games with a fall owl theme. Students use a spinner to decide how many orange owls to add to the tens frames. Then, they spin the green spinner to determine how many green owls to add to the tens frame. Now they can add the owls and write a number sentence (2 choices of recording sheets are included).
And, I made a Tens Frames version of my BAM! game (played like War).
My kids had fun playing this quick paced game! And, my son lost and did NOT throw a fit! (If you are a regular reader, you know how big of a deal this is!!).
This week, you can get all 5 products for only $5! That is half off their normal price and ends up being only $1 each. You can learn more about these by heading to Educents {HERE}.
 So, how do YOU use tens frames in your classroom? I would love to hear from you!