Math Toolkits: Part 1
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.