Friday, August 10, 2012

Make math fun with a few innovative tools...our must have math manipulatives.

Organized and clever math centers really add up!  Gone are the days that math instruction comes straight from a book and is all independent work.  Math is a wonderful time of the day to introduce differentiated instruction through a math center.  A math center should not only offer activities to build and strengthen skills, but also have opportunities to problem solve and share ideas.  Whether you have the youngest of students or the oldest ones on the block, make sure to have a space that allows these mathematicians to shine!



 a. This colorful organizational cart is a must have for math manipulatives. Keep everything organized in these colorful bins (really good stuff)
b. colorful dry erase markers. I love using different colors to highlight math signs (+,-,=)
c. Small dry erase boards are great for having students work through problems and answer as a team or individually. Here is a teacher tip for you, small baby socks make great erasers for the boards and can be laundered when dirty. (Big Lots)
d. These Magnetic boards are also easy to use for math problems, long gone are the days of scratch paper, just slide the bar and reveal a clean writing space ready for a new problem to solve (Lakeshore Learning)
e. Kids these days are so tech savvy, make sure your instructional materials can keep up. Utilize IPads and educational apps for engaging activities for young learners....these rugged cases are a must have for the primary classroom (apple.com)
f. Make the craft store your go to place for math manipulatives, almost anything can be used as a counter or tool for math. keep learning fun and changing, be sure to switch your items out with the seasons. (Hobby Lobby)
g. Dice with numbers are good for young learners working on number recognition. I add these to a small Gladware container...no more dice rolling across the classroom floor. With two or three dice in a container the students can work on their basic addition facts.
h. Clear plastic folders can keep all of your student's papers in one organized place. Most math books these days are consumable which means a lot of ripping and stapling for us teachers. I keep an entire chapter together in their folders and send it home when its complete.
h.(oops there are two h's) Calendar math is my favorite math time for the primary classrooms, there are so many different real world activities you can incorporate. (Creative Teaching Press)
i. I love technology, SMART boards are becoming a classroom staple in our county. I just don't know what I would do without interactive games and software to make learning more engaging. (internet)
j.A math word wall will really help young learners with unfamiliar math vocabulary. (Lakeshore learning)
k. Setting up math games and centers helps to reinforce the skills being taught in the classroom. These fun magnetic numbers can be used on a baking sheet or on a magnetic desk or door. (Lakeshore learning)
l. Colorful labels to label manipulatives, folders etc are a helpful tool to keeping everything uniform and organized (Creative teaching press)






a.  Math manipulatives are still a big part of math instruction in the intermediate classroom.  Simple items like base ten blocks help students interact with a math problem. (Lakeshore Learning)
b.  Who doesn't love a good game.  Math can seem like a lot of book work at times.  Treat students to a math game like bingo, or one that uses problem solving strategies. Or they can get creative with their geometry skills using Geo Boards.  (Lakeshore Learning and Learning Resources)
c.  In our classroom math center there is always a supply of calculators.  Students are thrilled when I let them occasionally check their work or solve problems with the help of a calculator.  (Office Depot)
d.  Dry erase boards come in handy when students are working on math as a pair or in a group.  (Office Depot)
e.  Milk crates are inexpensive and hold a lot of odds and ends.  I store math center items neatly away on the back counter with the use of these crates.  When it is time to break into center work, students can easily tote it anywhere.  (Wal-mart)
f.  Shelving units like this one keep math activity sheets organized and easy to grab.  Having students that are working at varying levels in math, it helps to have anything from reteach to challenge activities at my fingertips.  (Target)
g.  A bucket of stopwatches is great for a math center.  Students can act as peer coaches as they cheer on their classmate to increase their multiplication fluency.  (Learning Resources)
h.  I picked up a bunch of foam hands at a bowl game years ago and have been using them in my math instruction ever since.  They are inexpensive to order online, and create a fun way for children or teams to show you when they have come up with an answer to share.  (foamhands.com)

We hope you have enjoyed our favorite picks for back to school. 
Hopefully you found a few new favorites for your classroom. 
With Back to school right around the corner we know that our teachers are working hard setting up their learning spaces. We would love to see the creative places you teach in everyday. Please send us a photo of your learning spaces. Just email to simplysprout@gmail.com. 
We would love to feature it in a later post.



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