Saturday, October 25, 2014

Math Tool Kits: Huge Timesaver!

If you teach primary math students, you know just how many manipulatives your students need/use.  How many times have you passed out counters?  Too many, I'm sure.  Cubes?  Don't get me started! 

Sometimes I felt like I was spending more time gathering and handing materials out than I was teaching the actual lesson.  I would spend a good chunk of my lunch hour sorting, bagging, distributing.  One colleague suggested that I have the kids get them.  But when I did, it took even longer and I felt it wasted too much precious instructional time.  My solution?  Math Tool Kits!

I used media bags that I had: lucky break there!  I decided to reinforce the sides with some Duct Tape.  The bags are sturdy and fit nicely inside their desks.
What's inside at the moment? (most in individual baggies or small craft bags)
*Wipe-Off Tens Frame (reverses to two of them with room to write equations)
*Dry Erase Marker and Eraser
*20 Unifix Cubes (2 different colors)
*2 dot dice, one number die, and one 7-12 die 
*twenty counters
*Number Cards
*Greater than/Less than symbols to use
*Twenty Pennies
*Ten Frame War Game
Number Line and Hundreds Chart (even though on desks, this is helpful sine they are on carpet area a lot.)
What WILL go in there?  Clock, more money, deck of cards, etc.  Whatever the kids need and will use often. Some will come out, too.  For example, I need the cubes for games this unit but some of my kids will never need to use them for counters again.  So, eventually, tool kits will all look a bit differently. 
Of course I still need to pass out some tools from time to time but knowing that they have the basics they need and use often really has helped with my time management while giving my students access to the tools they need all day long.
If you're considering them, go for it!  You won't regret it!

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