Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Found my Sweet Tooth using Bubble Gum Math!

The New Year is in full swing and that means 3rd quarter begins addition and subtraction timed tests for my first graders.  This is definitely one of those challenging areas for me because the weekly tests I have given for the past 12 years have been pretty boring.  
I knew if I was to make it through another semester of weekly timed tests, I had to do something to JAZZ it up a bit.
Lucky for me, I have TWO incredible first grade experts (and friends) who have totally changed my opinion of managing these weekly assessments!

Let me introduce you to Bubble Gum Math.
Christy and Tammy over at Fluttering Through First Grade
have made my job so much easier this year!
 I was jumping for joy when I was printing these units out!
Then I got on Amazon and ordered a gumball machine!
Gordon Food Service has the gumballs for eight bucks!   
Next up:
Copying the timed tests.
I decided to color-code, so all addition tests are on blue and all subtraction tests are on red(hot pink).
Then, I made divider-tabs (in the corresponding color) to separate each level of tests.
Laminate for durability.

I made two separate folders for the Answer Keys.

Students will keep track of their gumballs earned and graph growth of weekly tests using their blue Bubble Gum Math folders.

I made color copies of the gumball machines.
One for addition and one for subtraction.
I walked the kids through the steps and process of picking up the correct test(s).  I want the kiddos to be as independent as possible!
Yesterday we took our first Addition +0 and +1 tests!
These eager-beavers were so stinkin excited!
One minute on the clock, and......

I gave the test in the morning, graded them (easy-peasy) during lunch, and returned the tests to the students in the afternoon.
Students get busy right away and graph their stamina for each test!

The timed tests are out of 15 problems.
If students earned 12 or higher,
I circled the level indicated at the top of the test and made a star above it.  That indicates a PASS score and students can pick up a gumball to add to their gumball machine. 

We are keeping the folders in our desks for now!
If a student does not reach their goal,
they can sign up to take the TEST B during recess the following day.  I will take the higher score of the two.

Here you see a student today signing up to retake subtraction tests during recess tomorrow.

I have set up our "cheetah table" with our Bubble Gum Math supplies.
Gumball Stickers and sharpies-
I keep track of the points earned on these tests using GradePro.
Then I print out a copy and keep it on my clipboard for check in's.
I also have a bag of pennies in there too!
Once students have passed 3 addition (levels), they earn an Award and penny to buy a gumball!
Needless to say, my students are EXTREMELY stoked about this new find! Bubble Gum Math has made taking timed tests
I have created some additional Bubble Gum materials for these units and I am happy to share them with all of my Bubble Gum math fans!  
Click here or on any image to download-

Bubble Gum Math was definitely a WOW find for me, so I have linked up with Em Hutchinson for her Wednesday WOW linky!

Special Thanks to Ideas by Jivey for letting me share this post with her weekly Wednesday Workshop Linky!



  1. Replies
    1. Teri,
      I am obssessing and starting to use words like Bubblicious! I am hooked!

  2. I am in total awe. Having taught for 40 years and retiring to currently running a tutoring business, I KNOW how much time and preparation this took. As much as I love being orgaized, I don't think I could ever have gotten this all put together like you have done. I am so impressed. Your students are so lucky to have such a caring, devoted teacher. I thank you for caring so much for your students.

    1. My dearest Cecile,
      I have read your comment at least a dozen times tonight.
      You have really tugged on my heartstrings and I can't thank you enough for your words of encouragement and inspiration. As a veteran teacher, you know EXACTLY how it feels to find a teaching resource that is highly engaging, highly motivating, and fun! That is how I feel about Christy and Tammy's Bubble Gum Math! This is definitely a teaching tool I will be using for years to come!
      Thank you again, for your kindness and thoughtful correspondence!

  3. I love the bubble gum idea!! I'll be doing that with my fourthsters on their multiplication facts next year! (We already finished our speed tests for those this year.) Thanks for linking up!

    1. Yay! Did you know that Christy and Tammy also have a Bubble Gum Multiplication unit? PS- I am their newest sales pitch gal!

  4. Wow! What a great post. You have one lucky class. This looks so engaging and motivating. My favorite part: the colored stickers! They are going to be so excited to see that machine fill up. Thanks for linking up. I am so excited that you did!

    1. My sweet Emily! Your Wednesday WOW linky is something I look forward to each week! Thank you for allowing me to share this Super-Sweet find!

  5. This is awesome! Great post - so detailed! I really want to start this like yesterday. My kids would LOVE it!

    First Grade Smiles

    1. Melissa! Your kiddos will be BUBBLING with excitement over Bubble Gum Math!

  6. This is genius! I LOVE it! My kiddos will think I'm the best teacher ever. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Jenny! You MUST try Bubble Gum Math! It has completely changed my attitude and perspective on timed tests this year!

  7. What a great idea, and you recorded with great pictures all of the steps. I'm a reading specialist for 4/5, so I can't use it (big sad sigh), but I have posted this on my FB page and shared with the first grade teachers at my school. Excellent idea...and you made it free...very kind!

    1. Carla, I am delighted to read your comments! Thank you!

  8. I use this same program with my kiddos! I love how much independence you give them, I need to work on that. One question I have for you, do you implement the flash cards in anyway?? Do your kids take the flash cards home? Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Brooke! So glad you asked! I sent the parent letter and a set of flash cards home with each student last week. I did not cut them individually. The parents can do that if they so choose. I simply ran the addition set on blue paper, and the subtraction set on red. Please keep in touch!

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  10. Oh my stars! Seriously the sweetest post ever Julie! You are just making up blush! Thank you so much for highlighting our program. We LOVE seeing it in action and the little things you did to make it your own. We are super impressed and so thrilled you are enjoying it!!!

    Thank you again sweet friend!
    ~Christy & Tammy
    Fluttering Through First Grade

  11. Your posts are always a favorite! Thank you for posting all the pictures! I definitely want this product!! What a fun way to practice math facts. You are such an amazing teacher. You must spend hours preparing for your days! You have some lucky students, that's for sure.
    Just wondering if you have any tips for those kiddos who struggle to pass. Do you modify for them? I always have a few who just can't pick up the pace? Do you have any ideas for how to speed them up?
    Sarah's First Grade Snippets

  12. Wow, Julie - this is amazing!!! And, I love the way you really kicked off the whole program with promoting independence for the kids. What a great way to give them ownership of their mastery. Love, love, love!! And, so super cute and organized, too! I just can't say enough... I would love to start this with my firsties :)

    First Grade Fairytales

  13. I just found your blog and you have some great stuff! EVEN cooler though -- you have the same last name as me! I've never met someone else with it :)

  14. I have been searching and searching for something like this for weeks now. THANK YOU for this post!!! :)

  15. Your post was the reason that I purchased both the Addition and Subtraction sets. Thank you for the inspiration and for the freebies! I will definitely make use of them! They are so cute!

  16. This is a lot like Rocket Math, but much more "little kid" friendly!

  17. I've had this Bubble Gum Math in my Wish List on TPT for some time. My timed tests are pretty boring right now, but seeing how you've implemented this has made me drop everything today, buy this, and get it ready to start this week! Thanks for sharing your ideas. ~Julie


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