Friday, May 2, 2014

Saving Math Class (and a great TPT product to share)

Hey everyone!

I'm dropping back in today to tell you about something great.  (At this busy point in the year, dropping in from time to time is all I can manage.)  This year, my class is diverse in more ways than one.  I love having a diverse class, but this year, my class is particularly academically diverse, which does present some challenges.  It is so hard to give everybody what they need at their just right level, particularly when I find myself using a curriculum that is designed with the whole-group approach in mind.  In no subject is this more difficult than in math.

Some of you may have read my previous posts and might be aware that I have begun to move more toward a workshop model so that I can teach math at a variety of levels.  This has been accomplished largely with the help of many of you and your wonderful TPT products.

Today, I want to share a WONDERFUL product with you that has greatly helped me to transform my math class.  That product is her Take Home Math Kits by the wonderful Casey over at Second Grade Math Maniac.  This bundle of 30 activities is an absolute STEAL at $16.00.  Once you click on the link, you should probably just check out and purchase her entire TPT store.  :-)  Go check out her blog.  Her posts alone are full of ideas that will save your mathematical LIFE.

Second Grade Math Maniac

Okay, back to her product and how parts of it have been used in my classroom.  First, I used it with one of my second graders who I'm tutoring.  This was so easy for me to prepare, and it really built my student's confidence with money.  With a variety of amounts under $1.00, there are amounts from 6 cents to almost a dollar, giving students the opportunity to start small and build their confidence.  I liked how easy all of the activities were to prepare-super easy for a busy teacher to throw together during a conference period so that it's ready for after school tutoring. (Note, I also sent home a doubles activity from this pack with my student, but I just didn't manage to get a picture taken of it.  Tutoring is a busy time, as I'm sure you all understand.  What part of our day isn't busy, really?!)    

After seeing the success of this product, I chose several other activities from this kit to let my whole class try out.  We worked in groups of 3, and each tried a couple of the activities.  These activities are great for review, remediation (for some), and previewing.  One of the activities we used focused on odd and even, which we have covered before, but are about to revisit as our curriculum tends to spiral.  The game provided a fun way to practice this skill and introduce the new unit, while at the same time giving me some formative assessment data.  Since I have used these activities to supplement my district's existing math curriculum, the only thing I feel that this pack is missing (since we just studied it) is fractions.  I LOVE this pack and think it's fabulous, but the inclusion of fractions would really push it over the top.  

Odd or Even Sorting
Spin to 100.  

Teddy Bear Arrays

Ordering Numbers

Time to the 5 Minutes
Anyway, these are just a few of the many activities included in this pack.  Hopefully, you can see that it covers a multitude of skills.  My students and I both enjoyed using the activities in this resource, and I can't wait to try out the rest of them.  Here are a few parting thoughts about this terrific pack.

1) The activities are very appropriate for 2nd grade students, as well as strong 1st grade students.  My students' comments about the activities ranged from "a little difficult," to "just right," to "a little too easy," which shows me that the activities' level of difficulty is on target for 2nd grade (remember, my class has very diverse math abilities, so this makes sense.

2) I LOVED how easy these were to prepare.  They also require very little in the way of materials.  I put some coins with the money game, and I used a paper clip for the spinner, but that was really it.  Most of her other games don't require much other than some dice.

3) These activities are great for tutoring and math class alike.  While I have only sent them home with one student that I tutor this year, I plan to implement these early on next year and send them home to families.  Bottom line, the activities made math fun and different for my students, so that's a win!

4) This is just a small sample of the activities included in the Take Home Math Kits.  There's so much more, including measurement, skip counting, etc.  

5) Finally, I must apologize for any blurry pictures in this post.  I took them on my phone while the students were working.  Since spring fever has set in, my 2nd graders are always on the go and don't stop for much.  :-)  

Hopefully, I've managed to convince you that this is truly a wonderful resource, that is worth your time and money.  I know it was certainly worth mine.  Head on over to Casey's TPT store and purchase this invaluable resource for yourself.  

Thanks for reading!    


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