Math Workshop

Themes & Holidays

My Classroom

Zero, My Hero!

This math unit is definitely one of my favorites to teach. We are at that point in the year where it all clicks in math!!! Our firsties are recognizing the correlation with addition and subtraction and they have a stronger conceptual understanding of place value... and more importantly the significance of my favorite number ZEROOOOOO. *He's my hero!*

This week in math workshop, we are working on all things number/hundreds grid. Our math tubs are filled with differentiated goodies from my tpt store. My kiddo's math abilities range from K-2 standards so I am always trying to find ways to differentiate to make sure I am meeting each student at their individual level. My 30 page No Prep Math Printables are aligned to K-2 CCSS standards. I plan to also use them over the summer for tutoring. :)

Here is an example of one of the many ways each printable is differentiated.
On Monday, I kicked off the unit with a math read aloud. Math literacy has a special place in my heart. Sigh. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the work of Joan Holub and Tom Litchenheld... Cloudette, Exclamation Point, I wish you more...? Well if not, you need to get yours hands on a few of theirs ASAP. Zero the Hero is a story about Zero, a big old nothing, is determined to show the other numbers his power. They story is told through math jokes, which just also happens to make great teaching points. Well, if you didn't guess it... Zero saves the day! Eventually all the other numbers realize they can't make any other numbers if it wasn't for *Zero*. 

 I have been telling my kiddos ever since the first day of school that zero is my favorite number and that at the end of the year they would learn why. They were so excited to finally learn why. Just another one of the many ways I show them how much I LOVE MATH! :)

Isn't he such a cutie?!?! Well... there is also a joke that goes along with this. During my student teaching, Mr. Mike was dying to come in and see me in action. I told him that if he came it... it would have to be for a purposed. Well let me tell you, I sure has some tricks up my sleeve. Lucky for me, Mr. Mike took this job very seriously. He came into school dressed up as Zero and came ZOOMing into my room. The principal and a handful of teachers came in to watch the kid's reactions while I read aloud the story and as he zoomed in. Welllllll it was a minor fail... they. didn't. move. Not even a flinch or a peep out of those kiddos!! Just 20 deers and headlights. But, by the end of the lesson they warmed up to Zero and even asked for his autograph. I died of cuteness a little inside when I heard that.  Zero forgot he was er... Zero... for a minute so he started to sign Mike and had to cross it out real quick. HA! Luckily they didn't catch it. A kiddo from another class saw him in the hall and even asked him if he could FLY! Ha!  When I started teaching and found out I might not be in first grade again, lets just say Mr. Mike was VERY angry. He thought he mind never be able to be Zero again...
Good thing that didn't happen. :) 
*Best boyfriend award*

Ever since, this lesson has been a hit! I follow it up with this cute Zero the Hero craftivity from Foxwell Forrest. I have been working with my kiddos on 10 more/less and 1 more/less so came up with super secret clues that had them practicing their number grid skills. Once they solved all the clues, they colored the super secret message on the hundreds grid. 


Then we worked together as a class to build a hundreds grid. Some of my favorite teacher moments are when I sit back and watch the kiddos interact. It can tell you so much about their little personalities. :) They were AH-mazing. A small group worked at the top of the hundreds grid and another group worked backwards until they met in the middle. Such a great strategy!!

This got our brain ready for Number Grid Puzzles. WOHOO! I took number grids, copied them on colored card stock and cut them up into puzzle pieces. They had SUCH a blast putting the pieces together like a puzzle. That is now a fun and simple early finisher center! Another center that has been a hit has been a hit are Number Grid Mysteries. I whited out some spaces on a number grid, copied it on colored paper and placed it in a sleeve protector. Now the kiddos have to fill in the blank spaces with an expo marker. No copy, no trash, reusable and user friendly! 

Yesterday we used the hundreds grid to add and subtract tens and today we will add and subtract double digit numbers... EKKKKKK! Were getting to be SO smart. 



  1. Your Zero the Hero lesson sounds awesome! I have the book and would love to use the craft and printable, but I noticed the original file you linked to asks students to highlight the tens row on the hundred chart. I really love the mystery picture version that your class did! Could you please tell me where to find it?

    Teaching in the Tropics

    1. Kristi, I apologize for the delay. Unfortunately I don't have a copy. :( I made this on a school computer during my student teaching and I no longer have access to that file. Those were pre-google docs days. If it's not to much of a hassle, I just made my own 1 more, 1 less, 10 more, 10 less variation to match the 100 colored in.

      I'm sorry! Good luck!