Thursday, October 20, 2016

Math Essentials for Every Primary Classroom

When I was in undergrad, I was soooo nervous about teaching math. My oh my, how that’s changed. I would teach primary math all day if I could now. I absolutely LOVE it. There are a handful of tools that I’ve found super helpful when teaching math, so today I thought I’d share with you a few of my favorite MATH ESSENTIALS!


#1 – Magnetic Base Ten Pieces from Learning Resources
Before I had these magnetic base ten pieces, I used to hot glue magnets to the back of my foam base ten blocks and it was a disaster. The day I got these it was like Christmas! I’ve used them a few different ways. One year, my calendar area was housed on a dry erase board, so I used these for counting the number of days in school during calendar time.
#2 – Number Line, Tens Frames, and Hundreds Chart Dry Erase Boards
I never knew I was missing out until I got these dry erase boards from Education by Oriental Trading. Each board is two-sided, and the part I love the most is the number line! I’ve tried to have my students draw their own number lines on blank dry erase boards and it's very difficult for them. They make them so tiny and then the fat dry erase markers make it hard to read. That's why these dry erase boards are the PERFECT size for my little learners. If you don’t want to splurge on the dry erase boards, you could always make your own math with tens frames and just slide them in sheet protectors to make them dry erase!

#3 – Math Apps from The Math Learning Center
This year my district adopted Bridges as our math curriculum, and I really love it. When I was at a PD over the summer, they shared with us all of the free apps they have. You all... OH MY WORD. They're amazing! I wish I would've known these existed even for the years when we weren't using Bridges! 
We practiced number combinations to 10 with the Number Rack app! We also earned stickers for hard work!
#4 Dice, Dice, and even more DICE!
I have to confess... I am dice obsessed! I feel like you can NEVER have too many dice! There are so many great ways to use them because they are the perfect tool for differentiation. Students can use the double dice and triple dice to roll and make numbers. One of my favorite games is Rock & Roll Place Value, where students roll two or three dice, make the largest number possible, and compare them. You find the free directions to the game here.
This is only one of my dice organizers... The obsession is real!
#5 Math Talk Sentence Starters
Obviously this is not a tangible manipulative or math tool; however, teaching your students to have productive conversations about math is essential! Our students can learn SO much from listening to and learning from their peers. During math number talks, when a student shares a strategy for solving a problem, I'll call on another student to repeat that strategy. Then they must ask the initial student who shared, "Is that how you solved it?" This practice helps remind students to listen and learn from how their classmates are solving problems. After modeling and practicing frequently during whole group, I pair up students to solve a few problems and teach each other how they solved the problems.
Click on the image above to grab a free copy!
If you haven't read the book Number Talks by Sherry Parrish, you must add it to your list. You will learn so much about different strategies students can use to solve math problems mentally and fluently. Here are some sentence starters I use in my classroom to help foster math conversations. You can get a copy for yourself by clicking the image.
Display this free poster to help your students talk about math!
While these are only some of my favorite math essentials, there are so many more amazing tools out there. Share YOUR must-have math tools in the comments below!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this! I saw it on Instagram and it was perfect timing. I am a reading interventionist but was asked to model a Kindergarten math lesson because our "math people" are all much more comfortable with intermediate students. (And I think K students remind them of the kindergarteners from the cartoon "Recess", but that's just between us.)

    I am going to refer the classroom teacher to this post and definitely use your Math Talk poster during my model lesson. We will start with the I know...because... and I agree/disagree because...

    Side question: Which font did you use for the Math Talk title? I LOVE it!

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