Friday, August 29, 2014

Doing Math the Routty Way: Engaging Activities from A to Z (Day 4)

Easy Button Math Problems- Ever seen the Staples Easy button? They can be found at any Staples store or online and provide great motivation in the classroom. After a student shares his or her work with the class, i.e. homework or classwork, allow him or her to push the Easy button. The students love getting to press the button and hearing, "That was easy!" With the Easy button, you’ll never need to ask for volunteers to share their work again!


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Doing Math the Routty Way: Engaging Activities from A to Z (Day 3)

Daily Station Rotation- Stations are a great way to add some engagement to the classroom! Whether you are trying Math Workshop or the station model, use this time to get your students engaged. There is no set way to do stations. You have to find a groove that works for you. There are many ideas floating around out there. Check out my Pinterest board to get started.
I found the most success by setting up the stations at the beginning of the week and completing one station each day. The stations were designed to be 15 – 20 minutes and followed the MATH structure (see the picture below).
  • M stands for “Math Facts and Computations” and typically includes fact practice on the computer or computational work. My favorite resource for this is VersaTiles from ETA Hand2Mind. It is a self-checking hands-on activity that the students love!
  • A stands for “At Your Seat.” This can be any number of things, from individual computer games to problem solving practice to independent work, such as menus and skill practice.
  • T stands for “Teacher’s Choice” and is the students’ time with me. I generally create need-based groups and gear this time toward a shared need. At other times, I may choose a skill for the entire class and teach a small group mini-lesson on it. Practical Math to AIRR Out Your Curriculum has some great small group lesson ideas.
  • H stands for “Hands-on” and is the fun station! This station always includes a game or group task of sorts. Some of my favorite resources come from Box Cars and One-Eyed Jacks and Kamico.

Honestly, the hardest part about implementing stations is the prep work. Start small. Use what you already have on hand. You can easily assign an Internet game, a dice or card game, and a problem solving task or practice sheet from your last unit of study as your activities for the week. As time goes on and you find more and more materials to use, your station materials will become more diverse.

I will be introducing new activities each week at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store—many of which can be used as station activities. Check back or follow me for updates.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Doing Math the Routty Way: Engaging Activities from A to Z (Day 2)

Circuit- This is a great independent practice activity to complete after teaching a skill. A circuit is a self-checking activity that students can complete individually or with a partner. It is called a circuit because students begin at a starting card, work through the entire set of problems, and end where they started. Here's how it works: 1. Students begin at one card, answer the problem, and determine the answer. 2. The answer leads them to their next card and the process continues. 3. The student’s final card should lead him/her back to the original card if the students completed the problems correctly. 

The illustration below is a circuit from an upcoming pack that I created for the order of operations. It should be available early next week at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store or using the "Products" link at the top of this page.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Doing Math the Routty Way: Engaging Math Activities A to Z

I'm starting a new series today sharing ideas and strategies for how to create an engaging math classroom. Subscribe to my blog or follow my blog by email to get my latest post. Read on to see the first two letters! Enjoy!

After Math- Students are always asking what math has to do with real life. The “After Math” activity will provide an opportunity for students to investigate how math relates to their world “after math” is over. This activity can be used in multiple ways and can be repeated throughout the year. It would also make a great menu item.
Assign students a topic to investigate (see examples below). Students can find artifacts in magazines, newspapers, clipart collections, on internet safe sites for kids, or simply draw a picture. After they find an artifact, have the students complete an “After Math” sheet to describe their artifact. Then, create a bulletin board to showcase how math is used outside of school. Here are some ideas for “After Math” investigations:
• occupations that use math
• newspaper articles using math
• math around your home
• examples of problem solving in everyday life

Go to my "File Cabinet" page and click "Engaging Math Activities" or click here for a copy of the "After Math" activity page.

Book Activities- Amy Axelrod has several math-related picture books. Her pig series books about a family of pigs are a great way to integrate math with literature. Many of the books in this series include math stories where the students can solve the pigs’ problems right along with them. The books also include an overview of the math in each book.
Use the book to write questions to go along with the story. Place the book and the activity sheet at a station or include it in a math menu and let the students find the solution to the pigs’ problem.

Go to my "Freebies" page or click here for a copy of the "Pigs Will Be Pigs" story questions.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Life Would Be Easier If

My school counselor shared this with our staff last year as we received our class lists. With a new school year upon us, I thought I would pass along some food for thought. Enjoy!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Calling All SuperKids!

I spent part of this past week attending new teacher training. While I am not new to my school district, I have a new position mentoring first and second year teachers. The motivational speaker who spoke was wonderful! His message really hit home-- we have to know our students. At the presentation, seven students participated as a student panel responding to questions about their thoughts, feelings, and experiences from the presenter and the audience. One of the questions was, "How many of you feel like your teachers know what you are passionate about?" Surprisingly, none of the students raised their hands. Wow!

With this in mind, I wanted to share a First Week activity with you. Last year I looped with my class and wanted a really unique theme for the year. Since my students had made such huge gains during the previous year, I decided to call them SuperKids to encourage them to take their attitude, behavior, and achievement to the next level. In an effort to kick off the school year with the theme, I asked them to create their own SuperKid character.

I adapted this idea from another one I sometimes use at the start of the school year. I start by reading The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown. The book contains a bunch of poems about different things in our world. It's pretty simple and written for a younger audience, but I just use it as a model. We then discuss the format the author uses to create each poem.

It generally goes, "The important thing about ___________ is that it is__________." Then it gives more details about the object. It concludes with, "But, the important thing about ___________ is that it is__________ (repeated from the first line)." I ask the students to create a poem in this format about themself. For the Superkid edition, I asked them to say, "The important thing about (first name) is that (she or he) is a/an super ___________." They then give some details about their super persona. They end with, "But, the important thing about (first name) is that (she or he) is a/an super ___________(repeated from the first line)."

Now for the fun part, I ask the students to create a model of themself using construction paper. This is always an interesting task because some of the students really struggle to make their person proportional. Sometimes, the torso is big and both the arms and legs are small. It's quite comical at times! For the Superkid edition, I asked the students to create a Superkid. Basically, this meant that their person should look a little more superhero-like than human-like. As an example, I made one for myself too. I called her SuperTeacher.

This turned out to be such an awesome activity! It really gave me a glimpse of what my students were most passionate about! I learned a lot about my students from this activity and I'd already been acquainted with these kids for a entire school year.

To finish, I post all of the student posters in the hallway with a sign that says "Meet the Superkids." It's a great display for the start of the year and for Open House.

It's Back to School Time!

August is my absolute favorite time of year! As the first day of school nears, I will be sharing some of my favorite teaching models and strategies, organizational tools, and assessment ideas. Please Follow Me for updates!

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Welcome to The Routty Math Teacher Website! Thank you for visiting my page! 

The Routty Math Teacher is a web-based company created to support K-8 mathematics instruction. 

I will be adding a lot of new content over the next few days, so please check back soon!