Archive for August, 2014

Math Toolkits Part 2: Primary Toolkits

Posted on August 27, 2014. Filed under: Differentiated Instruction | Tags: , , , , |

Primary Math Toolkits should be built over the year adding tools as they are introduced.  In the beginning of the year, start with the tools that were introduced in the prior grade. Here are some suggestions for toolkits:

1 container (Ziploc bag, box, big toolbox for a table of students)

1 double dice

2 different colored regular spotted dice

2-4 numeral dice

20 unifix cubes and/or bears

10 clear/colored bingo chips

1 rekenrek

1 ruler

1 small set of dominos

12 1- inch tiles (especially 2nd grade)


Five Frame

Ten Frame

Double Ten Frame

100 chart

120 chart

200 chart

Number Lines

Number Ladders

Number Track (K/1)

Base Ten Paper

*see for dice

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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Math Toolkits: Part 1

Posted on August 25, 2014. Filed under: Classroom environment | Tags: , , , |

Math toolkits are very important because they provide the tools for students to scaffold their thinking.  There are two parts of a math toolkit.  Part I is the part with all the physical tools and Part II is the part with all the blackline masters and writing templates.  What goes in the toolkit depends on the grade level.  At the beginning of the year, the toolkits should have tools that students are familiar with from prior grades and as the year progresses, you add new tools.

There are many ways to house the toolkits.  Some teachers use big baggies, others use boxes, others use actual toolboxes.  You have to pick what works for you.  Some teachers just have a bunch of them in a specific place in the classroom, other teachers have them at the student tables (there should be enough for each student), while other teachers give each individual student a toolkit.  Do what works for you.  But at any given moment, every student should have access to the tools they need to scaffold their thinking.

Remember that your classroom environment is part of your toolkit.  You should have big things- life-sized (ten frames, number lines, fraction strips etc) for students to see and use as they think outloud during public discussions.  You should also have a variety of virtual tools that you are using during your whole group instruction and guided math groups.

During the next few days, I will post more specifically about grade level toolkits.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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Beginning the Year with Guided Math

Posted on August 23, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

Here is my latest video on implementing Guided Math in the beginning of the school year.
Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 10.14.11 PMHappy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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Place Value in Real Life

Posted on August 22, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

What a great place value lesson!  Talk about using big numbers in context, see this article:


Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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Real change involves Stick-With-Itness

Posted on August 16, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

It’s a lot easier for an organization to adopt new words than it is to actually change anything. Real change is uncomfortable. If it’s not feeling that way, you probably just adopted new words. (Seth Godin).


Whatever you set out to do this year, persevere! It’s not always easy, it’s not always fun, it’s not always really evident that it is worth it – BUT IT IS! Stick with it, know that change is a rough and tumble business. Know that “real change is uncomfortable (at times)” and know that it is totally worth it! It is good for our students.

Starting new routines and structures in math is rocky at first. We all need to take a swig of STICK-WITH-ITNESS… If we are to set off on this journey.   It will pay off. It will be worth it. It will be priceless in time.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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Mapping and Assessing Your Math Curriculum

Posted on August 13, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Let Dr. Nicki help you map your math curriculum and benchmark your math assessments this year!
Screen shot 2014-07-28 at 12.35.08 AM


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