Where are your tools?
Mathematical practice 5 is about tools. Students should be familiar with the tools appropriate for the work they are doing. When I am in classrooms modeling fluency routines, I am always looking for tools. They are usually hanging on the wall as wallpaper. The numberline that hangs around the room, is just that. Wallpaper. So is the numbergrid (hundreds chart) that is often posted in some far away, out of reach corner as well.
Tools are meant to be used! Our students need big ones, that they can touch, feel, walk on and use when they are thinking. The tools should be fully accessible and visible in the whole class meeting area. Often, when I’m working with students and they get stuck, there are no tools to be found!
Get the tools off the walls and into the students hands!
P.S. Everybody should have a toolkit (whether individual or communal) that they can use whenever they need to when doing math – during whole class discussions, guided math groups or math workstations.