Many years ago I went through a Math Their Way week of training. One of the tips I learned from this workshop was students need free exploration with math manipulatives before you use them for direct instruction. I had been guilty of beginning the school year with students having access to some of the manipulatives, but not necessarily the ones I planned to use with my lessons. After implementing this, I found my students were much more engaged with my lesson because the novelty was out of their system.
Do you have to stop lesson because your students are "playing" rather than using the manipulatives the way you intend for them to be used? For your next math unit, let your students have free exploration with the manipulatives you plan to use the week before you need them.
Organize treasure boxes or junk boxes as Math Their Way calls them, for your math stations, math rotations, or math centers. Treasure boxes can be organized however you want. I used different sizes of ziploc boxes. The different colored lids can be part of how you manage who gets to use them on assigned days. See the first picture. You can decide what goes in the boxes. Suggestions:
- bottle caps
- bread tags
Recycled wine cork is an Earth friendly thing and a useful thing to add to treasure boxes. Students can stack the cork to make patterns by height. I found the plastic fruit which is supposed to be frozen and used as ice cubes at Dollar Tree.
Spell 2 words from word wall, math vocabulary words, seasonal words, spelling words, sight words, or other words that you decide.
Students add the value of each word.
Use the alligator to decide which word's value (add the numbers) is greater than or less than
Sort letters into 2 groups: odd numbers, even numbers
BOTTOM PICTURE: Sort letters by characteristic: straight lines, circles, etc.
graphing. I made a bunch of templates that students use based on how many different types of objects are in the box. This is an easy way to integrate language arts and science with math.
graph to keep track of what they read. The graph works as their reading log.
I have found the more hands on and the more integrated I make my lessons, the more engaged my students are and the less discipline problems I have. Happy kids = happy teacher!
What do you use with your math stations?
I am joining Deedee's @ Mrs. Wills Kindergarten linky party to share ideas for hands on math ideas. Join the fun!
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