Have you ever questions whether or not you’re using the best practices for teaching mathematics in the elementary classroom? As a teacher, it’s easy to become overwhelmed in today’s mixed-ability classrooms. That’s why teachers need a variety of practices and activities for their classrooms.
1. Make 10% of your class time fact practice.
To start, fact practice increases confidence in students. It also lays the foundation students need for higher-order thinking. This helps make difficult problems less difficult. Additionally, this will help students solve problems in less time.
Click HERE to learn more about the interactive math fact folders I use.
2. Allow students to learn through play.
Coupled with fact practice, math games are a classroom essential. They allow students to explore new topics with their peers. Not to mention, they encourage natural conversations about math.
Students use speaking and listening skills to share their thinking and learn from one another. Math games help students to think strategically about their learning. As a result, students gain a deeper understanding of the concepts.
Click below to learn more about these Math Games!
- Kindergarten Math Games
- 1st Grade Math Games
- 2nd Grade Math Games
- 3rd Grade Math Games
- 4th Grade Math Games
3. Engage students with stories about math.
Math stories are a wonderful way to begin teaching a math class. Books about math hook students in learning. At the same time, it helps students reference the math concept to everyday life. Equally as important, it helps students conceptualize abstract math concepts.
A Fair Bear Share by Stuart J. Murphy is a great example that puts abstract thinking into concrete examples. The bears search for ingredients to make a pie for their mother. The bears must add and subtract with regrouping.
Click HERE to view this book from Amazon.
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4. Give students opportunities to write about math.
Writing is the foundation of all subjects. It is especially important for math. Writing about math is helpful for all students! This gives time for processing complicated math problems. It also helps the teacher by evaluating the student’s thinking process.
Additionally, writing gives students the opportunity to get creative. For example, students can create their own problems to solve. Another example is having students write how to solve a problem using their own steps.
Click HERE to learn more about these Math Writing prompts from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
5. Make math tools accessible for all students.
Tools such as rulers, clocks, calculators, blocks, etc. are all considered technology. These tools help students to learn and make sense of math problems. They can help students communicate their ideas.
Again, these benefit ALL students; therefore, they should be accessible to ALL students. You can do this by having these tools strategically placed so that students can select the appropriate tool needed to solve problems.
6. Allow students to have independent practice in the classroom.
Working independently is beneficial for students. It gives them the opportunity to engage formally in their own learning. Plus, it gives them a private opportunity to reflect on their own learning.
About once a week, I would have my students reflect on their math learning. They would write to explain to me what they did well on, and how they feel they need to improve.
This simple practice not only helped build a trusting relationship with my students, but it also helped me understand their vulnerabilities.
7. Apply math concepts in STEM activities.
STEAM, or STEM with the Arts, helps us connect math to everyday problems. It strengthens problem-solving skills and builds GRIT. Both of those ingredients are needed to be successful in math. It also provides hands-on experiences with math.
In the example above, students created insect hotels. We used place value to determine the number of rooms available in the hotel. Students bundled groups of ten to understand ten as ten ones and one hundred as ten tens.
There are many benefits to adding weekly STEM to your classroom. Click HERE to check out a post I wrote about how STEM Fridays will benefit you and your students.
If you can add these simple best practices into your math lessons, I promise you will see engagement and growth! Comment below with your favorite best practice.