Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Math Bags... I'm lovin them!

Hey there!  I know I've been MIA.  Things have been crazy at school and at home.  And honestly... I confess, I've been a little down on myself as a blogger.  On my drive home from work, I think about what I should tell you all and lately, I wondered if anyone would care about what I have to say.  So I've held back.  But then, I opened my email on Sunday to find the sweetest email from a reader named Ashley.  She wrote to me and told me that she found my ideas to be inspirational and asked me questions about some of the things I have shared on this blog.  It's as if she knew what I needed... So Ashley... if you're reading this, thanks for taking the time to send me that message!

So, I was listening to my favorite radio station on the way to school and they were talking about celebrity girl crushes.  I don't have to even think about it, mine is Scarlet Johansson.  But it got me thinking (and I hope this doesn't sound stalkerish- but I realize it does, LOL)... do you have a teacher blogger crush?  I have a few.  But lately, I'm loving the work of Tamra and Sarah of First Grade Buddies.  

This year, our district added 20 minutes of instructional time to our day this year and it is mandated that the first 20 minutes of the day is devoted to math instruction.  We are calling this "Morning Math."  (I know you are loving the very original name!)  Anyway, I had a vision of wanting to implement a time for intervention and math centers for this time.  I tried gathering various math centers and making tubs, but like my previous struggles with literacy centers, I couldn't make the pacing work.  Plus I was spending hours cutting and laminating, and I was spending a lot of moolah.  I needed a better system!!! 

And then I found Math Bags from First Grade Buddies.  (Can you hear the angels singing, I could!)  Click on the picture below to check them out in their TPT store.

You can read the post that sold me on this product by clicking here.  I love the simplicity of the directions and the kids are able to be SO independent after just a few days of using them.  Even my non-readers are able to look at the direction cards and figure out what to do and I'm free to work with individual students or small groups and provide intervention.  

Here is a look at one of the math bags.  I ran the direction sheet on blue so it would always be easy to find (as the Buddies suggested).  I put everything the kids would need in a gallon zipper bag with the direction sheet.  The activity in this particular bag has students practicing counting ten frames.  But the activities range all different skills.  Most are simple enough for students working in partners to be able to figure out independently.  I LOVE that!  Plus I didn't need to buy anything extra to have the students be able to complete the activities... bonus!

Each bag is labeled and is kept in a file box.  Students are able to find their bag and take it to another place in the room to work with their partner to complete the activity.  

I created this rotation board to match our jungle theme.  I'm using ten of the twelve bags.  The labels on the right say "Bag 1" "Bag 2," etc.   I rotate the cards on the right (with student names) daily so that they get a new bag every day.  I am planning on having students rotate through the bags 2-3 times before I switch to the next set.  It's going amazingly well.  So thanks a million to Tamra and Sarah for their hard work.  They have saved me time, money and a few (more) gray hairs.  

Thanks for stopping by!