Tag Archives: cuisenaire rods

Announcing…. New Cuisenaire Rod Resources for Grades K-3 and 4-7!

Cuisenaire rods in a pileI’ve said it before…  Cuisenaire rods rock. I was first introduced to Cuisenaire rods in 2006 by my dear friend and mentor John Van de Walle. In February of that year I was invited to join him in Spokane, Washington and to observe as he did demonstration lessons in primary and intermediate classrooms.  His problem-based lessons featured Cuisenaire rods, and while I watched the students responding to the openness of the tasks and the richness of the manipulatives I knew I was witnessing something powerful. The proportional relationships between the pieces and the colour wheel connections make Cuisenaire rods both aesthetically pleasing and mathematically significant. I was hooked. It took some time and experimentation to figure out how to best introduce the materials and to sort out what tasks and questions would promote thinking across the grades. But in the end, I’ve managed to compile a series of open-ended tasks, games, lessons and practice opportunities that are developmentally sequenced and laid out from Kindergarten to grade 7.  I’ve compiled these lessons in 2 full-colour volumes – a primary resource (grades K-3) and an intermediate resource (grades 4-7).  All of the tasks have been tested and refined to ensure they are classroom-ready and engaging for all! So it is with great humility (and no small sense of accomplishment!) that I announce the release of my latest resources – Remarkable Cuisenaire Rods: Mathematical Tasks for Primary Classrooms and Cuisenaire Rods Rock: Exploring Multiplication and Proportionality in Grades 4-7. These resources would not exist if it weren’t for the mentorship of John Van de Walle.  He shaped my mathematical practice more than he knew in his all-too-short lifetime. And so I dedicate my student-centered and pedagogically grounded efforts to his memory. Cuisenaire Rods K-3I hope you will enjoy the tasks and games, the investigations and the open-ended problems posed in these resources. They are intended to promote big thinking in elementary – from addition and subtraction to skip counting and multiplication, from fractions to division and more…  The full colour primary resource, Remarkable Cuisenaire Rods: Mathematical Tasks for Primary Classrooms is intended for Kindergarten through Grade 3 can be ordered by clicking here or on the image on the left.  The resource is $40 plus shipping. Click on the link below to preview lesson titles and the intended grade levels for the tasks. Cuisenaire Rod Resource K-3 Table of Contents Cuisenaire Rods 4-7 The full colour intermediate resource, Cuisenaire Rods Rock! Exploring Multiplication and Proportionality in Grades 4-7 is designed for intermediate students and can be ordered by clicking here or on the image at the right. This resource is $50 plus shipping. Click on the link below to preview lesson titles and the intended grade levels for the tasks. Cuisenaire Rod Resource 4-7 Table of Contents As always, thank you for your support! Carole

Print Resources for Teaching Number Sense

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 9.29.32 PMFor those of you who have been looking for some of the teacher resources and student materials that I have used in my demonstration lessons, I’ve opted to try and put a collection of them all in one post…  This collection of materials are intended for teaching place value, for use in lessons involving partitioning (addition, subtraction and multiplication), for comparing and ordering whole numbers as well as decimals, and for the teaching of fractions.  As you’ve seen modelled in the lessons I’ve taught, these materials work best in concert with visuals (ten frames, base ten blocks, etc) and with plenty of opportunities for students to write equations, describe their thinking orally, build with models and create real-world situations to match.

The money and Cuisenaire Rods are best printed in colour, of course. I’d recommend sending the pdf’s to Staples.ca for printing. You can specify the weight of the paper (I like 80lb gloss cover) – and they’ll have the materials ready quickly for a reasonable price.

Consider putting magnetic tape on the back of these materials to allow them to be displayed on the white board. Check out the dispenser of magnetic tape available from Poster Pals.   It’s great stuff!

I hope these prove helpful.

Happy teaching!


Giant Cuisenaire

decimal tents line master

Place Value Tents – 100’s 10’s 1’s

Canadian 100 dollar bills large

Canadian 10 dollar bills large

Canadian loonies in ten frames

Canadian coins for decimal tasks

partial ten frame cards

full ten frame cards

New Resource! Mastering the Facts – Subtraction

You know, some people holiday over the summer.  Me, I seem to write teacher resources.  :o)

I am very pleased to announce the release of my newest resource called Mastering the Facts – Subtraction: Lessons for Making Sense of Subtraction for grades 1 to 3. This teacher book includes 17 complete lessons aimed at supporting primary aged students in mastering the subtraction facts to 20. Each strategy-based lesson features:

  • a 3-part direct instruction lesson
  • a task for guided practice
  • games and worksheets for independent practice
  • open-ended story problems
  • targeted fluency building opportunities
  • an assessment task customized to match the facts learned

All the lines masters for games, written practice, flash cards, teacher materials and other instructional support are included in this 185 page resource. Organized by strategy, these lessons are designed to promote mastery of the facts, not just memorization!  Teacher tips for using and organizing manipulatives, for supporting students who struggle and for working in a combined grades setting are also included.

Matched to the WNCP and BC math curricula, this book is designed for classroom teachers of grades 1 to 3 and primary resource teachers. Select lessons are suitable for kindergarten students as well.

Cost for the resource is $40 plus shipping.

If you’re interested in getting your hands on a copy, click here to order online.

Thanks for your ongoing support. I hope the book proves helpful.


PS – Please click below to download select colour line masters drawn from the resource.  All other line masters are included and are to be copied onto black and white, but these ones deserved a little colour…!

rocket ship

Houses for number lines extra large

Cuisenaire rods ROCK.

Here are some of my favourite Cuisenaire rod tasks for elementary.  There are so many cool things to be done with these materials, I can’t begin to delve into it all here, but start with some of these ideas and see what kinds of thinking your students come up with.  Remember it’s critical to record the numbers to accompany with your students’ constructions – modelling for them how a mathematician would record their reasoning is so very important.  It allows students to formalize their learning and make connections to the “naked math”…  (A phrase a dear friend of mine used to use often.  Attention-getting, no??)

As well, I’ve uploaded are some Cuisenaire provocations — images to inspire creativity that your younger students may enjoy.  To keep the play moving mathematically, try placing one or more of these pictures at the table where students are exploring the materials.  You can suggest they might like to try making something like the image, but it’s much more interesting to simply place the image on the table and walk away.  Your students will no doubt do something with the picture – and it’s oh-so-fun to observe them in action!

Look around your school for Cuisenaire rods – it’s not unusual to find them stashed away in a cupboard somewhere, forgotten.  They are a classic manipulative and one with great possibilities.  If you find them and want to figure out ways to use them, don’t hesitate to contact me.  I’d be happy to provide a workshop for your school staff, or to do a series of demonstration lessons with students across the grades with these versatile materials.

My favourite place to order Cuisenaire rods is through Spectrum Educational.  Be sure to get the wooden materials only – they truly demonstrate the relationships in the most compelling way.  Here’s a link to a class set of wooden materials from their on-line catalogue. For those of you in the lower mainland of BC, be sure to call Collins Educational — or drop by to pick some up.  They’re always happy to help.

Enjoy a lovely weekend.