Browsing Category

Math

Subtraction Math Strategies

Math
Blog header for Subtraction Math Strategies

Math has always been one of my favorite subjects to teach.  I think one of the main reasons why I enjoy teaching math so much is the variety of strategies that can be used to solve a math problem.  After reading this post you’ll learn four different subtraction math strategies that your students could use to help boost their understanding and math problem solving abilities.

Subtraction Math Strategies:

Below you will see four different subtraction math strategies that your students might use.  Each student will be in a different spot with their math strategies. For example, some students need the concrete/manipulatives and place value strategy will be best for them.  Other students might be really good at breaking numbers apart and using them in different ways – then break apart or expanded might be best for them.  With math strategies there is not a one size fits all type of mentality.  Students can use a variety of strategies and will move through them at different rates when they are ready.

Place Value Strategy:

Photo of place value strategy

Draw out how many there are to start with – 95  Then, take away or cross out how many are being taken away – 56.  Start by crossing out the 5 tens for 50.  Then, you have 5 ones and you can’t take away 6 from 5 so, take a ten and regroup it into 10 ones.  (Circle the ten and change it into the ten ones (dots)).  Now, you can take away the 6 ones.  Then, count what is left – 10, 20, 30, and 9 more so 39.

Empty Number Line Strategy:

Photo of empty number line subtraction math strategy

First, draw an empty number line.  Then, start at the number that you’re beginning with – 95.  95 will go on the right side of the empty number line because you are subtracting so your number will be getting smaller.  Then, 56 can be taken away a few different ways. In this example, they first took away 50 and got to 45. Then, took away 5 and got to 40 (friendly number) and one more and got to 39.  Students could also take away all 6 ones.  The 50 could also be broken down into – 20, 20, 10 – 10, 10, 10, 10, 10 – 30, 20 – 40, 10 – etc.

Break Apart Strategy:

Picture of break apart strategy

For break apart, leave the first number together since this is the number that you are starting with.  Then, break apart the number that you are taking away.  So, 56 would break into 50 and 6 (expanded notation).  Then, 95 – 50 = 45 and 45 – 6 = 39.  

Expanded Form Strategy:

Photo of expanded form strategy

First, change each number into expanded notation. 95 = 90 + 5 and 56 = 50 + 6.  Then, subtract the ones from the ones.  You can’t take away 6 from 5.  So, you take ten from the 90 to add to the ones.  When you take ten from the 90, the 90 turns into 80.  Then, add the ten you took to your ones 10 + 5 = 15.  Now, you can subtract.  15 – 6 = 9 and 80 – 50 = 30.  Then put the numbers back together 30 + 9 = 39.

Subtraction Practice:

Photo of subtraction word problem resource

If you’re looking for some subtraction practice pages for your students to practice these strategies – I have worksheets already created for you.  Best part is – they are differentiated into 3 levels! These Subtraction Word Problem Printables are great for independent practice, homework, formative assessments, and more. Check them out here >>> Subtraction Differentiated Word Problem Worksheets.

If you are interested in learning about Addition Math Strategies, check out my blog post>>>HERE.

Pinterest Image for Subtraction Math Strategies

Addition Math Strategies

Math
Blog header with photo of addition math strategy.

Math has always been one of my favorite subjects to teach.  I think one of the main reasons why I enjoy teaching math so much is the variety of strategies that can be used to solve a math problem.  After reading this post you’ll learn four different addition math strategies that your students could use to help boost their understanding and math problem solving abilities.

Variety of Math Strategies:

While in math there is typically one right answer – there are many different ways you can get there. When I was in school I was good at math and got the right answer, but had no idea how or why.  For addition, my teacher taught me one way – with carrying over and I did and I got the answer. But, I didn’t really understand the “why” behind the math. What I love about teaching math now is we let kids figure it out for themselves.  We give kids a chance to explore multiple strategies and find the right one for them. There is no more one size fits all.  I wish I had learned math this way when I was younger (and please know I’m not faulting my past teachers – this is just the way it was taught then).

Addition Math Strategies:

Below you will see four different addition math strategies that your students might use.  Each student will be in a different spot with their math strategies. For example, some students need the concrete/manipulatives and place value strategy will be best for them.  Other students might be really good at breaking numbers apart and using them in different ways – then break apart or expanded might be best for them.  

Students can also move through the strategies.  One student might start with place value strategy, but as they become more comfortable in math they then move on to empty number line or one of the others. Students aren’t pigeon holed into their strategy. Think of it almost like a buffet where they can try the different strategies and see which one works best for them.

Place Value Strategy:

Example of place value addition math strategy. Students use base-10 blocks to solve the problem.

Start by drawing out the place value model using base 10 blocks for each number.  Students would draw 3 tens sticks and 9 ones dots to represent 39 and then below 2 tens sticks and 8 ones dots to represent 28.  Then, count the ones.  There are 17 ones.  Since there are more than 10, you would regroup.  Circle the ten ones and draw an arrow to the new ten that you made over in the tens area.  Then count up your tens (10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60) and 7 ones and your answer will be 67.

Empty Number Line Strategy:

Photo of empty number line strategy.

For empty number line strategy you start with an empty line.  Students have a choice and can either start at 39 or 28.  This is a great learning opportunity to talk about what is more efficient.  It would be easier to count up 28 then 39.  So on the left side of the number line, place the number 39.  Then, for counting there are multiple options.  We want to avoid students counting all 28 by ones so they can break it into tens and ones. Some students might start at 39 and jump 10 to 49 and 10 to 59 and then count up 8 ones to get to 67. Some students might start at 39 and jump 20 to 59 and then 8 ones to get to 67. There are multiple ways students can use the number line to help them solve the problem.

Break Apart Strategy:

Photo of break apart addition math strategy.

For the break apart strategy it is just what it sounds like – students are going to break the numbers apart into tens and ones. 39 breaks into 30 and 9. 28 breaks into 20 and 8.  Students will then add 30 and 20 and get 50. Then, add 9 and 8 and get 17. Then they’ll add 50 and 17 to get 67.

Expanded Form Strategy:

Photo of expanded form addition math strategy.

This is one of my favorite strategies and it is very similar to the break apart strategy.  Students will start by writing both numbers in expanded form.  39 expands to 30 + 9 and 28 expands to 20 + 8. These numbers will be written vertically on top of each other (ones on top of ones, tens on top of tens).  Then students add straight down.  9 + 8 = 17. The student will write down 7 in the ones spot and then move the 10 up to the 10s spot.  Then add 10 + 30 + 20 = 60.  Then, put the numbers back together 60 + 7 = 67.

Addition Practice:

Photo of 3 addition word problem worksheets.

If you’re looking for some addition practice pages for your students to practice these strategies – I have worksheets already created for you.  Best part is – they are differentiated into 3 levels! These Addition Word Problem Printables are great for independent practice, homework, formative assessments, and more. Check them out here >>> Addition Differentiated Word Problem Worksheets.

Pin Image for Addition Math Strategies blog post.

8 Ideas for Teaching Place Value

Math, Math Stations
Blog header for 8 Ideas for Teaching Place Value

This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience.

Place value is an important foundation skill for all students to master. It sets them up for success as they continue their journey through mathematics. After reading this post, you’ll have 8 ideas for teaching place value.

#1 – Place Value Books

I love using books to introduce new math topics! Here are a few of my favorites books to use when teaching place value.

Place Value by David A. Adler

Picture of Place Value book cover. Monkeys holding numbers above their head.

A Place for Zero by Angeline Sparagna LoPresti

Picture of book cover for A Place for Zero.

Earth Day – Hooray by Stuart Murphy

Picture of book cover for Earth Day Hooray

How Much is a Million by David M. Schwartz

Picture of book cover for How Much is a Million

#2 – Manipulatives

Manipulatives are so important for students to use when building math skills. Place value is no exception! I always have base-10 blocks on hand for my students to use when we are working on place value and other math skills. The blocks are very popular and some people also like using the place value discs to model different numbers.

Picture of base 10 blocks

#3 – Shorthand Base-10 Trick

In addition to using manipulatives, I like to have my students draw out their base-10 or place value model for numbers.  But, I don’t like them to spend hours trying to draw the ones, tens, hundreds, etc. Many of them like to try to draw each teeny tiny square within the hundreds block – we don’t have time for that lol.  So below in the picture you’ll see the short hand I teach them. This is much more efficient. Students draw a dot for ones, a stick for tens, a square for hundreds, and a square with a “th” in the middle for thousands.

Photo of short hand for place value blocks.

#4 – Food

Who doesn’t love food? We all know students are more engaged when food is involved. Base-10 blocks and drawings are great, but you can also incorporate food into the mix.  Students can represent numbers using Saltine crackers for the hundreds, pretzel sticks for the tens, and M&Ms or some kind of round candy for the ones.  And of course when they are done they can have a taste of their work!

Picture of saltine cracker, pretzel stick, and M&Ms.

#5 – Teaching Place Value Anchor Charts

I use anchor charts for all math topics including place value.  I like to create my anchor charts with my students so they are more engaged and part of the creation process which makes them more likely to refer back to it later.  After we create our charts, I hang them where they can see them so they can refer back to them as needed. Here are a few examples of ones I’ve created…

#6 – Differentiate Practice and Homework + FREEBIE

Students will need opportunities to practice and demonstrate their understanding of place value. I like to use these differentiated worksheets for independent practice, homework, and formative assessments!  My classes typically have multiple levels of students and these worksheets are differentiated into 3 levels so I can meet the needs of all of my students!  These worksheets are available in my TPT store>>> HERE.

Picture of place value worksheets.

You can also check out a FREE sample >>> HERE.

Picture of place value worksheets FREEBIE.

#7 – Place Value Activities + FREE Game

I love using a variety of place value activities during my math rotations or stations.  These activities are still focused on the standards, but provide opportunities for kids to move around and work with a partner.  

Here are a few options:

Great for Around the Room or Scoot – 

Expand It – Practice using expanded notation

Write It – Practice writing numbers in standard form from word form

Place Value Around the Room Task Cards – great review of a variety of place value skills

Partner Opportunities:

Read It – Students can practice reading the numbers to each other – this could also be done chorally whole group

Show Me the  Number – This activity is great for kids to use the base-10 blocks to build the numbers.  2- and 3-Digit Numbers

3- and 4-Digit Numbers

Picture of Reading Numbers Activity

FREE GAME:

Roll and Compare – Students can practice comparing 2-, 3-, or 4-digit numbers using comparison symbols. This game is great to play during rotations or stations.

Picture of comparing game.

You could also save 20% by grabbing all of the Place Value Activities in my Place Value Bundle.

#8 – Digit Place

This is one of my favorite games to play with my students when I am teaching place value. This game can be played whole group – it’s great for a math warm-up or a Morning Meeting Activity and could eventually be played with partners once students get the hang of it.  

Here’s how you play:

  1. You make 3 columns on the white board – Guess | Digits | Place
  2. I also put up numbers 0-9 so we can cross off numbers after we eliminate them – there is a lot of strategy in this game too.
  3. You think of a secret number that the kids will have to figure out – this can be 2-digit, 3-digit, 4-digit, etc – depending on your class’s needs.
  4. Your students will guess a number. *Let’s say my secret number is 352.  They guess 201.  I will then write their guess in the guess column and write a 1 in the digits and a 0 in the place because they got one of the digits correct (2), but that digit was not in the correct place.
  5. We keep going until we get to the correct number

*This game has some strategy to it too.  I will often have students figure out if the guess all of one number it can help us quickly figure out what the 3 digits are. For example, if they guess 999 and I say 0 numbers are correct – then we know 9 isn’t one of the numbers.

Photo of Digit Place Game for Teaching Place Value Ideas
Pin image for 8 Ideas for Teaching Place Value

Math Rotations Round-Up

Math
Blog header for Math Rotations Round-Up showing management board.

Math Rotations have easily become my favorite way to teach math! With rotations I am better able to meet the needs of all of my learners, provide practice and review, and continue to teach the same standards in differentiated ways.

I have written multiple blog posts on this topic over the years and wanted to share them with you in one spot so everything will be easy to find.

Math Rotations Blog Posts

  • The Why Behind Math Rotations – Great background information to see the various benefits of using rotations in your classroom.
  • Math Rotation Groups – Tips for how to create your groups so that your math block will run smoothly. Includes how I group the students, the number of groups I use, and how I keep the groups flexible to meet my students needs.
  • Initial Set-Up – In this post, you’ll learn how I set-up, plan, and start Math Rotations in the classroom.
  • Mini-Lessons – Ideas and tips for mini-lessons to use at the beginning of your math session.
  • Management Tips – Tips and ideas for how to make sure your rotations run smoothly so you are able to focus on your small groups.
  • Teacher Time Ideas – In this post, you’ll see a variety of ideas for what you can do with your students when they come to you for the teacher/small group instruction part of the math rotation.
  • Seat Work Ideas – Ideas for what your students can work on independently during the rotations while you are pulling small groups and students are completing the other parts of the rotation.
  • Tech Time Ideas – Different apps and websites that you can use during your math time.
  • Game/Activity Ideas – Engaging activities and games for students to work on individually, with a partner, or with a small group during one of the rotations.
  • Math Rotations Wrap-Up – A few last minute tips and ideas for resources that can be used during your rotations.

FREE Math Rotations Planner

Photo of Math Rotation Planning Page for teachers to use to plan out their math block.

Math Rotations can seem a little overwhelming at first especially when you are trying to differentiated to meet the needs of all of your students. To help make this easier, I’ve created this digital or printable planning sheet that you can use to plan out your whole rotation for the day – standards, mini-lesson, rotation activities, and differentiated small group activities. This is a FREEBIE that you can sign up for HERE. Happy math planning!

Pin image for Math Rotations Round-Up showing management board.

Fun Review Games for the Classroom

Language, Math, Reading
Blog header for Fun Review Games for the Classroom

Reviewing content does not have to be boring! Reviewing is necessary and to make it more meaningful we need to make it engaging and fun! Check out five ideas below for fun review games you could use in your classroom. (These games are mainly math focused, but you could use them for any subject matter).

Connect 4 Review Game

Connect 4 review questions and board

I got this idea from Candance (@themeaningfulmiddle on IG).  Connect 4 is always a fun game and it can be used to review any type of content! I’ve used it in math and to review classroom expectations.  This game can get very competitive and it’s fun to see the different strategies the teams use to win.

To play…

  • Divide your students up into teams.  I typically put 4-5 students on each team.
  • Each team gets a different color pad of sticky notes.  This is where they write their answers.
  • Create any type of questions (Math, ELA, Grammar. Social Studies, Science, etc). I project these on my Smart Board.  This photo is an example from a first grade math review.  (This is done ahead a time).  
  • Students will work with their team to answer the question and place their sticky note on the board.  The goal is to try to connect 4 horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.  Students may also place their sticky note in a way that blocks others from connecting 4.
  • Once a team has connected 4, I draw a line through the four and give the team a point.  The team with the most points at the end wins!

This game may get a little rowdy, but they have tons of fun and they are reviewing content all at the same time!

Connect 4 board with post-it notes

Crack the Code

Crack the Code review questions and sample code

I created Crack the Code last year as a way to review math content. This game works well with math because the hidden message is uncovered through numbers.  You could always use this with different content areas too.

To play…

Create your hidden message. I often make it a fun reward like (YOU GET EXTRA TIME AT RECESS) or something with a special treat.  

Then, you create the questions.  I typically create around 20.  You just want to make sure you have enough to cover all of the letters.  

The hidden message is put up on a white board (as seen in the first picture) and I normally show the actual content questions on my Smart Board.

The questions then align to the numbers which help them crack the code. For example, the problem 8 + 7 = ___.  Students will get 15 as their answer which corresponds to A.  You then fill in the letter A in the 15 number spot of the hidden message.

For students, I have them use white boards for this game. This way each child is engaged and participating.  Students will respond on their white boards and then show their answers.  We will then discuss, put the letter in the correct spot, and move on to the next question.

Once all of the questions are answered, the hidden message is complete and the kids will find out what it says. 

Basketball Review Game

Basketball room transformation. The basketball hoop baskets on the tables are used for the game.

This review game came to be because it tied in perfectly with my basketball room transformation during March Madness!

To play…

  • Divide your students up into teams.  I typically put 3-4 students on each team.
  • Each team gets a white board to respond to the questions.
  • Create any type of questions (Math, ELA, Grammar. Social Studies, Science, etc). I project these on my Smart Board.   (This is done ahead a time).  
  • Students will work with their team to answer the question. Once each group has answered any team who has the correct answer gets a chance to shoot a basket. (I gave a clear rotation for this so students knew the order and everyone got equal turns).
  • The basketball shooter would come up to the carpet with one of my tiny basketballs (foam or small ones) and would shoot it into the basketball Easter basket (you can see these on the students tables). If they got the ball in the basket, then their team earned a point. The team with the most points at the end – wins!
  • I didn’t get very clear pictures of this game, but you can see the basketball hoops used in the photo above!

Horseshoes Review Game

Horseshoe game

This review game came to be because it tied in perfectly with our Rodeo Day in February and my rodeo room transformation!

To play…

  • Divide your students up into teams.  I divided the class up into two teams.
  • Each team gets a white board to respond to the questions.
  • Create any type of questions (Math, ELA, Grammar. Social Studies, Science, etc). I project these on my Smart Board.   (This is done ahead a time).  You can see an example at the bottom of this paragraph.
  • Students will work with their team to answer the question. Once each group has answered any team who has the correct answer gets a chance to toss the horseshoe. (I gave a clear rotation for this so students knew the order and everyone got equal turns).
  • The student would come up to the carpet to throw the horseshoe. If they got it around the pole then their team earned a point (see picture above). The team with the most points at the end – wins! I got my horseshoe game at Amazon.
Review questions for finding the rule and the missing numbers.

Saran Wrap Game

Saran Wrap Ball Game

I know this game is often played as a holiday game at Christmas time, but it also works well as a review game!

To play:

  • Teacher sets up the saran wrap ball ahead of time. I included 16 review questions so I had 4 different colors and a total of 16 unifix cubes. I used blue, yellow, green, and orange and had paper that color coordinated.
  • Then, set up the review problems. I used a simple table and made sure the paper color coordinated to the colors in the saran wrap ball.
  • Students are each given their own review packet and each group is given a saran wrap ball. I had my students work in groups of 3-4.
  • One student unravels the saran wrap ball until a cube pops out. If it’s a yellow cube then everyone solves one problem on the yellow page.
  • This continues until all of the cubes are unwrapped and all of the problems are solved.
  • During the activity, I would go around to check for understanding and assist as needed while the students were solving the problems.

I hope this ideas are helpful and can make your review time more engaging. I know my students and I both enjoy these games and they definitely are more fun than a boring review packet.

Long Pin for Fun Review Games for the Classroom

Math Rotations – Wrap Up

Math

Today is my last blog post for my Math Rotations blog series!  I’ve had so much fun sharing how I implement Math Rotations with you and hope you have found it helpful.  Below I’m sharing a few more tips and a few resources from my TPT Store that I enjoy using with Math Rotations.

Tips:

  • Plan – Math Rotations move quickly. The more you plan and prepare ahead of time the more successful Math Rotations will be.
  • Model, Model, Model – I know I’ve said this in other blog posts, but modeling is key. Students need to know what to do and modeling is the best way to do that!
  • Differentiate – One of the biggest reasons why I love Math Rotations is it has made differentiation so much easier for me to do each day for each child.  Make sure you include this key part in your Math Rotation plans so you are tailoring your instruction to the needs of your students.

Resource Suggestions:

  • Themed Math Word Problems – I love using these as a part of my Seat Work Rotation. This Bundle includes 9 different sets of story problems geared towards second and third grade. Great way to practice math skills and word problems. You can also buy these story problems individually in my TPT store.
  • Learning About Line Plots – Includes practice pages and a hands-on activity where students are practicing their measuring and line plot skills. Great for Seat Work and Activity Rotation.
  • Patterns Task Cards – These task cards go great at the Seat Work Rotation. Includes practice building and answering questions about repeating patterns.
  • Subtraction Memory – Great game for Game Rotation. Subtraction Memory includes two different sets to help differentiate!

If you missed my past posts from my Math Rotations Blog Series, click below…

FREE Math Rotations Planner

Photo of Math Rotation Planning Page for teachers to use to plan out their math block.

Math Rotations can seem a little overwhelming at first especially when you are trying to differentiated to meet the needs of all of your students. To help make this easier, I’ve created this digital or printable planning sheet that you can use to plan out your whole rotation for the day – standards, mini-lesson, rotation activities, and differentiated small group activities. This is a FREEBIE that you can sign up for HERE. Happy math planning!

Math Rotations – Game/Activity Ideas

Math

The four components of my Math Rotations are Teacher Time, Seat Work, Tech Time, and Game. Today’s post will focus on ideas for the Game and Activity Rotation.  This rotation is important because it provides a chance for students to practice the skill, it is often a hands-on type of activity or game, and gives students a chance to work with a partner or group.

Math Skills Games:

On TPT, many websites, and math resource books you will find all kinds of games that you can use to help students practice and review math skills.  I like to use games that are easy for students to play (so they’ll be able to do it independently) and fun!  Here are a few examples:

Math Curriculum Games:

Most math curriculum resources also have their own games or center activities as a part of the program.  I have used enVisions, Investigations, and Every Day Math programs and all have games that you can use during this time.

Compare, Double Compare, and Triple Compare are all great adding and number sense games that you can play with a deck of cards.

Other Hands-On Activities: 

I also like to throw in other hands-on activities during this rotation.  One of my favorites is the Skittles Graphing Activity.  Students each get a bag of Skittles and have to create a bar graph based on the colors of the Skittles. After creating their graph they answer questions about their data.

I also love this activity when teaching area. I got this activity from Blair Turner and it’s her Dream House Activity.  Students get to create their own Dream House with their own rooms.  They love being creative on this one! Then, after creating their rooms they have to find the area of each room and the total area of their house.

Dream House Area Activity

Another great activity that my students have enjoyed is building 2D and 3D shapes with this kit. I got this kit from Scholastic in the teacher area a few years ago with bonus points and they love creating different shapes with it!

Games/Activities Tips:

  • Model – It is so important to make sure you model and show them how to do the game or activity.  This will make it easier for them to play it independently so that they are not interrupting your group with questions.
  • Directions – Leave simple and easy to read directions with the game.  This is helpful so that if they have a question or forgot how to play, they’ll be able to figure it out on their own.
  • Partner Skills – Prior to having students start rotations I would have a class discussion about how partners should work together.  We would talk about what it would look like and sound like and create an anchor chart so the expectations are clear. 

If you missed my past posts from my Math Rotations Blog Series, click below…

FREE Math Rotations Planner

Photo of Math Rotation Planning Page for teachers to use to plan out their math block.

Math Rotations can seem a little overwhelming at first especially when you are trying to differentiated to meet the needs of all of your students. To help make this easier, I’ve created this digital or printable planning sheet that you can use to plan out your whole rotation for the day – standards, mini-lesson, rotation activities, and differentiated small group activities. This is a FREEBIE that you can sign up for HERE. Happy math planning!

Math Rotations – Tech Time Ideas

Math

The four components of my Math Rotations are Teacher Time, Seat Work, Tech Time, and Game. Today’s post is brief and will share a few ideas for Tech apps you could use during Tech Time rotation. 

Tech Time Set-Up

The Tech Time rotation is easy to set up and can use apps or math websites you already know about.  You do not have to be a 1-to-1 classroom to do this rotation. Since you have a small group at this station you’ll only need enough iPads, laptops, computers, or Chrome Books for your group size.

App/Website Ideas

Below are a few apps that I have seen used before during rotations. Many of these also have websites. I’m not going to go in to great detail, but wanted to give a few suggestions.  These obviously depend on your grade level, but there are many great math websites out there.

  • IXL – This app is my favorite since you can tailor specific assignments to what you are teaching and can see real time on your computer how kids are doing.  But, it does cost a pretty penny!
  • MobyMax – This has a free and a paid component.  Students will take a math test and then instruction will be differentiated for them based on their results – this can happen in the free version!
  • Math Curriculum Site or App – Students can work on the website or app that goes with the math resource your school has.  Many curriculum resources have computer programs with games or practice for students.
  • Xtra Math – This is free and a great way to build fact fluency skills.
  • Khan Academy – I do not know as much about this one,   but I know some people absolutely love it!

If you missed my past posts from my Math Rotations Blog Series, click below…

FREE Math Rotations Planner

Photo of Math Rotation Planning Page for teachers to use to plan out their math block.

Math Rotations can seem a little overwhelming at first especially when you are trying to differentiated to meet the needs of all of your students. To help make this easier, I’ve created this digital or printable planning sheet that you can use to plan out your whole rotation for the day – standards, mini-lesson, rotation activities, and differentiated small group activities. This is a FREEBIE that you can sign up for HERE. Happy math planning!

Math Rotations – Seat Work Ideas

Math

The four components of my Math Rotations are Teacher Time, Seat Work, Tech Time, and Game. Today’s post will share some ideas with you for activities and things I have my students do during the Seat Work portion of rotations.  The biggest key thing for me to stress is that seat work needs to be something that students can work on independently so that you are kept free to work with the small groups.  Below are a few ideas for activities I like to include as my options for seat work. I do not use each of these things every day, but pick activities based on the skill we’re currently covering and try to give some variety. 

Task Cards:

I love using task cards at the seat work station.  I try to make sure I have differentiated sets of task cards so that I am able to meet the different needs of my students when they are at this rotation.  Task cards are great because they can cover the current skill or be review for a past skill.  Students are held accountable because they fill out the recording sheet as they answer the questions.  After math rotations I look over the recording sheets and I’m able to see how they are doing with the skill.

Spiral Review Pages:

Constant review of past skills is important to do and spiral review pages help with that. I created the page you see below to fit the skills that we taught and needed to spiral and practice at my school.  Students would complete these problems during the seat work time and turn it in. Then, I would check them and give feedback on their page.

Story Problems:

As I mentioned in my past few blog posts I love story problems. They are a wonderful way to practice math skills and provide context for students.  I will often put story problem task cards at the Seat Work rotation. Students work on the story problems and turn them in each day for feedback.  These often take a few days to finish so I make sure to give feedback each day so students can go back to correct problems as needed.  Story problems can be themed and can also be differentiated for your students. 

Practice Pages:

Seat Work can also be a time to use practice pages from your math curriculum or other practice pages that focus on the current skill or reviewing past skills.

Seat Work Tips:

  • Seat work needs to be able to be completed independently.
  • Put seat work after teacher time in math rotations. Students will practice the skill with you in teacher time and then go off to seat work to practice it independently.
  • Start your highest group in seat work first.  They will either know the skill from prior knowledge or will pick it up quickly with the mini-lesson.  You do not want to start your struggling kiddos off at seat work.

If you missed my past posts from my Math Rotations Blog Series, click below…

FREE Math Rotations Planner

Photo of Math Rotation Planning Page for teachers to use to plan out their math block.

Math Rotations can seem a little overwhelming at first especially when you are trying to differentiated to meet the needs of all of your students. To help make this easier, I’ve created this digital or printable planning sheet that you can use to plan out your whole rotation for the day – standards, mini-lesson, rotation activities, and differentiated small group activities. This is a FREEBIE that you can sign up for HERE. Happy math planning!

Math Rotations – Teacher Time Ideas

Math

The four components of my Math Rotations are Teacher Time, Seat Work, Tech Time, and Game. Today’s post will share some ideas with you for activities and things I do with my students during the small group teacher time portion of Math Rotations. I do not do each of these activities listed below every day.  I do what fits the skill and standard I’m teaching, what fits the level of the group I am working with, and try to give teacher time variety so we’re not doing the exact same thing each day. The main goal of Teacher Time is to teach that day’s skill to each group with differentiated instruction at their level.

Before I get into my ideas I have to tell you that I love teacher time.  This is one of my favorite times of the school day. I love being able to work with a small group and have great math discussions with them.  I also love how I can modify the lesson as I’m teaching it to them to fit their needs.

Story Problems:

I love using story problems in general and have done many blog posts about my love for them and tips for using them. I also like to use them during teacher time.  Story problems can apply to so many different math skills and it helps give context to the skill.  I will often use story problems during small group for students to solve. Students will solve it on the white board or a white board table and then share their strategy with the group. This works well because it not only gives kids practice working on the math skill, but also communicating their thinking and strategies to others.  I will often use story problems with each group, but will differentiate the numbers to fit the needs of the group. 

CGI/Number Talks:

As I mentioned in my Mini-Lesson post CGI and Number Talks are a great way to practice math skills and get kids talking about math. I will sometimes do a Number Talk with my small group. I will follow the same steps as a whole group Number Talk, but the nice thing is each child in the group will be able to share their strategy (since there are only a few kids in a group as a opposed to the whole class in a whole group lesson).  Number Talks can also lead to great discussions about noticing similarities and differences with strategies.  It can also be a time to go over and discuss math misconceptions too.

Special Projects:

Special projects are always fun and math special projects are no exception. I would use these as a challenge for my students who were ready to be pushed and could work on it with me, but also were able to work on it a little bit independently.  I have found some great enrichment projects on TPT that the kids loved working on.  We would meet and go over it and then they would work on it with their group during Seat Work time. Then, the following day we would review their work and discuss.

If you missed my past posts from my Math Rotations Blog Series, click below…

FREE Math Rotations Planner

Photo of Math Rotation Planning Page for teachers to use to plan out their math block.

Math Rotations can seem a little overwhelming at first especially when you are trying to differentiated to meet the needs of all of your students. To help make this easier, I’ve created this digital or printable planning sheet that you can use to plan out your whole rotation for the day – standards, mini-lesson, rotation activities, and differentiated small group activities. This is a FREEBIE that you can sign up for HERE. Happy math planning!