Where the Magic Happens: Mathology

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Hi there!!
Welcome to week two of “The Diggin’ Into Series.” I am typing this post as I stay home with my little one who is sick. Boo-Hoo!! I cannot take it when my boys are sick.  So I had to pull my older one out of class and come home to a very happy puppy. Did I tell you that we recently adopted a little Chihuahua?   I left school early one day last week  and drove about 40 miles to the animal shelter. The boys were so excited, they could hardly stand it! Ladies and gentlemen let me introduce: Prancer Graham

     Honey Graham was not thrilled  fine with this idea… but as soon as they locked eyes, it was love at first sight. My Honey Graham is such a sweetie, I even caught him giving Prancer a kiss last Sunday during Game of Thrones.  Great times!
Moving On...


The way I do math in my little classroom!

Let me begin by saying that I place a big value on instructional time. Every minute counts. So I really work hard at differentiating my instruction and placing meaningful activities for my firsties to do independently.   This is how the boards and bins look like. You can get the BUILD labels in this TpT store. So basically the kids are in one station per day.

If they finish their assignments for the day, they can either do a different station, read math stories, or do any of the activities in the math dessert tubs. The activities in these dessert tubs are usually stations that my firsties have completed previously and they can do independently as well. Some of the Common Core concepts need to be presented in different ways, so many times for them to stick for life!

dessert tubs

I have an hour a day for math, this is how I currently structure it:

 I have one intervention group that I see every day, two on-level groups that I see three times a week, and a beyond-level group that I see twice a week. I determine how to group my students based on data from mCLASS math and county based assessments. I learned about BUILD  math stations in the holy grail of teaching ideas: Pinterest.  This organizational system allows me to differentiate, extend, reinforce, assess, and engage my students. You can learn more about BUILD stations here!!!

B Station:

Or Buddy Games. I place differentiated activities for kids to play in groups of 4 max. Any game counts: place value, geometry, addition, measurement… you name it!! They are differentiated as well.

U Station:

Or using manipulatives. In this bin I place activities that require students to use manipulatives in order to solve mathematical situations. In this picture, for example, they are measuring ocean animals using connecting cubes {non-standard units of measure}
u station

I Station:

Or independent work. Well, the kids actually work in groups of 4 {6 max.} at my instructional assistant’s table. I make these packets full of printables, and the kids totally dig them!!  I put about 20 pages in each packet, so the station is automatically differentiated because the kids go through different packets at a time according to their mastery and conceptual understanding.  The printables come from The Mailbox { I have an online account with them, completely worth it BTW!}  and TpT.  Check out this packetthis packet,  and this packet. They are made by teachers and they rock!!

i station
Don’t mind the mess on the back! Ha!

L Station:

Or learning about numbers. These activities allow the kids to develop number sense, numerical knowledge, addition and subtraction fluency as well as conceptual development. In most cases, I use iPads here. In this particular photo, I gave my students a cut and paste activity for better understanding of the equal sign. 
L station

D Station:

Or doing math. This is one of my favorites because my firsties are challenged by word problems!  I wrote about word problems in this post. Make sure to go check it out especially if you are in a Common Core state.

d station


Or computer games. Some of my favorite websites are:

What other helpful sites do you know??


My bottom  line: I aim to provide my firsties with a wide range of mathematical experiences.
What kind of structure do you use in your math block?


I really want to add a calendar section too!!! So I am thinking that maybe I can replace my last station with a whole group closure activity that involves calendar time. What do you think? How do you do calendar in your classroom??? Do you have a different “problem of the day” every day?? 
I also want to make my math block more “experiential”, yes! I want to add more real life situations to my BUILD stations and waaaay more cooperative learning games and activities.


Just in case you are interested I have these math products in my  little store:

I use these scoot games to assess some important concepts, they are great not only because you can clearly see  weaknesses and strengths, but also because they are so much fun and the kids don’t even know they are taking a test. #winwinsituation Click on the picture to check them out in my TpT store!


I am so proud of my word problem packets. I did a lot of research and translated them into Spanish for those dual language classrooms.  I tell you, it took me about two months to develop each grade level in both languages. Leave me a comment below telling me something about your math block and you might get one of these for free!!

And I also have seasonal math stations, I have translated some of them too!!  Click on the picture to check them out!

My Fellow Bloggers