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Teach Math Using Stories?

The Kinderhearted Classroom teaching math

You guys - something magical happens when you open a read aloud.  The students sit up a little straighter, their ears perk up and their attention span seems to increase exponentially.  There is power in stories.  So why not use the power that comes from a simple storybook and harness it for deeper learning.

That is the thought behind Storybook Math!  Engage students in more abstract concepts using the power of literature. Now I'm not just some crazy teacher that loves read alouds (although I do), but there is research based evidence to show that this works.  You can read more about it here!

It was based on this idea that my teacher friend Michelle, from Smitten with First, and I teamed up to create some story based math lessons that would engage learners and help them master foundational math skills and concepts.  How awesome would it be to have an entire year of math activities based on some amazing picture books?  I know - right!  Awesome!!!!

Storybook Math is born!


We are so excited to share Storybook Math First Grade Edition with you.  (Don't worry - if you are a kindergarten teacher we haven't forgotten you!  You can find Storybook Math Kindergarten Edition here!) 

In each Storybook Math unit we tackle one math concept using four different picture books.  Check out these great books for teaching subtraction!


Michelle and I have done the background work so that you can focus on the teaching.  Within each unit, you will find:
  • practice activities that relate to 4 different storybooks
  • coordinating math center activities and printables
  • a culminating craftivity that incorporates language arts and math skills
  • differentiated response sheets and more!

Let's Take a Look!

Here's a more detailed look at Unit 5 - Subtraction to 20.  What do carrots, ice cream and fish scales have in common?  No - it has nothing to do with a delectable meal.  They are all engaging points for learning subtraction.  Just look at some of the printable, centers and crafts you get.

The Kinderhearted Classroom teaching math

The Kinderhearted Classroom teaching math

The Kinderhearted Classroom teaching math

The Kinderhearted Classroom teaching math

When I say activity packed units, I really mean it.  There's enough activities here to keep your students focused and learning for days. 

How I use it my classroom

In my classroom we start with a story.  I preview all the books to decide which I think is the best for introducing the math concept.  Based on my students and the class, this intro book could be different from year to year.  When it's time to begin, I jump right into reading.  I fight the urge to introduce the book or pre-teach the math skill.  Instead, I've found that by jumping right in it leads to greater opportunities for the students to do the connecting later.  

As we are reading, I make sure we stop and chat about math vocabulary and connections to past learning.  I also do lots of questioning to get the students thinking about the math concept without knowing that is what they are doing.  It's also a great way to practice those reading skills of predicting and connecting!  Can you say cross-curricular lessons!  Your principal will love it.

After reading the story we move into the discussion about the math concept.  By always connecting back to the story, I know that my students have a common experience for their learning.  I always like to do lots of group practice as we begin learning a skill.  There are so many activities in the unit that you will have no problem finding ways to practice together. Then you are ready to set them loose and practice on their own.  There are a variety of printables and centers you can put into action as your students practice each skill.

But, a favorite activity is always the craft.  The students love applying what they have learned through the crafts.  Each craft is directly related to the book and allows the students to apply their learning by creating, writing, solving and illustrating a math problem.  It's that analysis of the concept and application that makes this a great culminating activity.  These crafts make super cute bulletin boards too!

After a day or two I pull out the next book and we begin the routine again. The students love making the connections from the books to math and from one book to another!  Not only are my students more engaged I have seen them grasping hold of those abstract concepts like never before.

Give it a Try!

I'm excited to share with you a sample from the Storybook Math Unit 5 - Subtraction to 20 unit.  Best of all it's FREE!  A teacher's favorite 4 letter word.  😍  All you have to do is click the picture below to download it and give it a try!

Storybook Math Units

You can find Storybook Math on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Here's a direct link to each unit that is currently available and the coordinating books!  I ordered all my books from Amazon because, well, you just can't beat the price and front door delivery. 😉 I've provided links for each book too!

Storybook Math Unit 5 - Subtraction to 20

The Kinderhearted Classroom teaching math

Books for  Unit 5:

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