With just a few changes, you can boost students’ understanding and reduce transition times within your classroom. Here are a few of my favorite math hacks:
Math Toolkit: If you’re like me, you cringe every time you pull out the manipulatives. Those time eaters take up most of your math period and cause disruptions throughout the lesson. Assign a box to each student at the beginning of the year with every math manipulative he or she will need. (You may need two boxes to cover the entire year.)
- Number each box.
- Assign each student a number.
- Before each lesson, have students pick up their math toolkit and remove only the manipulatives for that lesson.
- Warning: Once students have removed the tools they need from the box, they must close it and put it under their desks.
Math Journal: These are perfect for teaching new concepts and reminding students of forgotten strategies. They also double as an at-home math tutor.
- Composition journals (Home Depot will cut in half).
- Record key vocabulary, strategies, and visuals.
- Solve multi-step word problems and write out solutions.
Evan-Moor’s Math Fundamentals pairs perfectly with student journals. Cut and paste visual math model pages into students’ journals. Download your free sample of the new Math Fundamentals series (grades 1–6.)
Math Wall: Most of us have the obligatory writing wall display in our classrooms, but what about math? With wall space at a premium, what we put on our walls is a reflection of what we consider important. Encourage students to embrace mathematics by displaying new math terminology, strategies, and student work.
- Include key vocabulary and strategies.
- Display anchor charts that support students’ reasoning.
- Incorporate student work into your display.
What are your favorite math hacks?
Heather Foudy is a certified elementary teacher with over 7 years’ experience as an educator and volunteer in the classroom. She enjoys creating lessons that are meaningful and creative for students. She is currently working for Evan-Moor’s marketing and communications team and enjoys building learning opportunities that are both meaningful and creative for students and teachers alike.