My first shock - A few years ago, I was walking around my classroom saying "25 BLUE. Everybody color number 25 blue. Did you get it? Ok, hurry up. Yes, you can use sky blue. Color 25 blue. Did you guys get it?" This was a fun mystery picture game. The kids liked doing it. I was getting frustrated thinking of all other things I could be doing with my time - grading papers, testing kids, writing a note back to a parent. I also wanted to make this more educational. What if instead of saying "25 blue" I could SHOW them 25? That is when lightening hit! I can make my computer do this for me! I spent about 4 hours making my first game. It was a jack-o-lantern that used tens blocks to represent numbers. AS SOON as I put it on for my kids, I was SHOCKED! My kids had never been so quiet! You could literally SEE them thinking! I knew this was magic! And that is how Watch, Think, Color games were born.
We played one a week for the rest of the year - all place value with tens blocks. My kids got faster and faster. They were able to see the groups of objects and visually recognize how many there were without counting. They got SO good at these games!
Then came my second shock - STATE TESTING! My kids, MY PLACE VALUE GENIUSES, bombed place value! We had spent SO much time looking at those tens blocks that they were confused by seeing baskets of strawberries or bags of carrots or groups of pencils. That is when I decided to make some games using non-standard units. My kids now play a Watch, Think, Color place value game to celebrate each holiday. This way, I make sure that we are reviewing this skill all year and I know that I can throw anything at them and have them interpret it as a number. If an egg is a one and a basket is a ten, what is this number? If a soldier is a one and a tank is a ten, what is this number?
These games are terrific because they keep the whole class busy and engaged the whole time. There are no early finishers. Nobody has time to fight over crayons because the game is timed to run itself. These are also a great way to tie a little math into a class party. I usually find myself using this quiet time to last minute prep a party game or craft project. I have put all of my holiday place value games in a bundle in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
I literally have HUNDREDS of these games in dozens of math skills. If you have not used Watch, Think, Color games before, try this place value game for free!