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Excel Math Blog

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Math Poems, Songs and Games

5 Little Monkeys Poem

5 Little Monkeys Poem
Click here to download

April is National Poetry Month!

Take a look at the celebrations and community events happening around the country.

The Academy of American Poets has put together a list of 30 ways to celebrate. Here are a few:

  • Attend a poetry reading.

  • Memorize a poem.

  • Recite a poem to family or friends.

  • Write a poem in chalk on your sidewalk.

  • Hang poems from a tree in your schoolyard or neighborhood park.

  • Sign up to receive a poem a day emailed to your inbox.

  • Give students a list of words and ask them to create a poem using words from that list. (Include a few mathematical words and phrases.)

Read more suggestions at

You can incorporate poems, rhymes and songs into your math class, too.

Ten Green and Speckled Frogs is a fun way to teach subtraction, one more, one less and base ten concepts.

Give each student a copy of the poem and let them cut out the ten frogs.

Then give them a ten frame and have them place one frog on each space.

Ask how many frogs they have. (10)

Say the first verse of the song together (or sing it) and have the students remove one frog from the ten frame.

Write on the board:

10 - 1 =

Ask the students to find the answer by looking at their ten frame. (9)

Explain that they can check the answer with addition:

9 + 1 = 10

Ten Green Frogs Poem

Ten Green & Speckled Frogs Poem
from Excel Math

Frog Ten Frame

Ten Frame from Excel Math

Say the second verse of the song together (or sing it) and have the students remove one more frog from the ten frame.

Write the corresponding equation and check it with addition.

Continue in this way until there are no more frogs on the ten frame.

If you have time, continue in this way with the song, "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed."

Once again use a ten frame and have the students check their answers with addition.

Even if you don't have time to celebrate with poetry all month long, take a day to help your students recognize April 24, 2014—Poem in Your Pocket Day.

Join thousands of people across the U.S. and carry a poem in your pocket that day.

Encourage your students to write a favorite poem on an index card a day or two beforehand and then carry it in their pocket on Thursday.


They can take out the poem and recite it to friends, family members and classmates throughout the day.

Share a few math-related poems and rhymes with your students throughout the month. See some examples below.

Let your students take a poll and create a tally chart to discover which poems are class favorites.

Each week, choose a student to read one of the favorites to the class.

Here's an excerpt from the poem "Arithmetic" by Carl Sandburg:

Arithmetic is where numbers fly like pigeons in and out of your head.

Arithmetic tells you how many you lose or win if you know how many you had before you lost or won.

Arithmetic is seven eleven all good children go to heaven or five six bundle of sticks.

Arithmetic is numbers you squeeze from your head to your hand to your pencil to your paper till you get the answer.

boy reading poetry

Excel Math Exhibit

Sample Button

Here are a few more math-related songs and poems you can share with your students:

There Were 10 in the Bed

As I Was Going to St. Ives

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

The Ants Go Marching One By One

One Bottle of Pop, Two Bottles of Pop

Excel Math provides lots of opportunities for hands-on learning.

Download a free sample math lesson from our website.

Excel Math lessons give teachers the resources they need to help every child succeed and achieve (at high levels) in elementary mathematics.

New to Excel Math?

Learn more by visiting our website: or give us a call at 1-866-866-7026.

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Let us know about your favorite Common Core or TEKS learning tools.

You might also like these articles:

Summer Common Core Teacher Edition

Excel Math Summer Common Core Teacher Edition
Click here for sample lessons

Excel math worksheet

Excel Math Student Lesson Sheet with CheckAnswers

Learn about Excel Math Summer School.

Do you need some proven math resources to help your students get ready for spring testing?

Try the Excel Math Summer School/Intersession 6-week program.

Some schools recommend that parents purchase this Intersession program for their students to bridge the achievement gap over the summer break.

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