Relief Teaching Ideas

Sharing ideas to help make relief teaching fun, enjoyable, and meaningful.

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Multiplication Houses


This Math Art activity is a creative way to help students practice their multiplication facts.

Students draw their house, cut out the windows & then glue onto another piece of paper. The answers are then written under the window flaps.

I used A4 paper for this example because that’s usually more readily available for a relief teacher. They are sturdier & look even better when made with A3 card!

To cut out the windows I slightly fold the paper, cut a small slit, unfold and then continue to cut the opening. Younger grades (years 3/4) may need your help with cutting the slits for the windows. There may be a few capable students who can also help their classmates out with this step.

Alternatively, and an easier option, is to cut out window shapes from another piece of paper and simply glue or tape the windows to the houses, so that they can still be lifted up to reveal the answers underneath.

After they finish making their houses, students can turn them into a game board!

– Place counters on each window.
– Students take turns choosing a multiplication question to answer.
– They can self check the answer by lifting the flap.
– If they are correct they can keep the counter. If not, they need to return the counter to the window & the next player takes a turn.

This idea is from a book I bought awhile ago called MathArt by Carolyn Ford Brunetto. It has so many great creative learning activities that link math with art.


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Number Placemats

math board

-One piece of paper (A3 or larger) between four students.
-Focus number in the centre of the page.
-Students sitting around the paper.

-1 student writes a story about the number.
– 1 student shows the number with hands on materials (counters, blocks, popsticks)
– 1 student draws a picture to show the number
– 1 student writes sums that equal the focus number

– groups can rotate around the room to add to each page if they have different focus numbers written on them
– share with the class at the endSee More

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Trash Can Numbers

trashcan numbers

This is a quick game that highlights the importance of place value. Great to play at the beginning or end of a lesson.

Only equipment needed is one die for the teacher and paper & pencils for students. You can use a 6-10 sided die.

1. Students draw dashes (you choose how big the number will be) & two trash cans.

2. Teacher rolls a die & calls out roll.

3. Students need to decide where to place that number – either on a dash or in a trash can, if they don’t wish to use that number. They can’t erase a number once it is written.

4. When all the spaces are filled the winner is whoever has the highest number*.

*You can change this to whoever has the lowest number for an added challenge!

For more quick classroom games that require little to no resources: