Upper Elementary Toolkits

Posted on September 14, 2014. Filed under: Common Core, Manipulatives | Tags: , , , |

Here are some items that belong in an upper elementary toolkit.  Remember that a toolkit has 2 parts. The first part is the materials and the second part is the templates. Introduce the items as you use them.  In the beginning of the year you will use many of these items in your daily routines.  For example, you can use the pattern blocks during the Fraction of the Day routine.


Unifix Cubes

Fraction Squares, Circles, Bars

Pattern Blocks  (for teaching fractions and geometry)

Bears (for fraction set models) (also for multiplication problems)

Base Ten Blocks

Elapsed Time Ruler –

google UEN  Utah Education Network elapsed time ruler

1 inch tiles

Decimal Squares

Decimal Wheels


Unifix Cubes Paper – multiplication: groups of problems

copy links –



Fraction Squares, Circles, Bars –

copy links





Fraction number line

copy link


Pattern Block Paper (for fractions and geometry)

copy link – 


Base Ten Blocks Paper

Base ten grid and Ten Thousand Grid Paper

copy link


1-inch tile Paper

copy link –      http://mathlearnnc.sharpschool.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_4507209/File/Instructional%20Resources/G4V2BL2.pdf

Decimal Squares

Decimal Wheels

copy link

http://www.eworkshop.on.ca/edu/resources/guides/NSN_vol_6_Decimal_Numbers.pdf   (page 65)

Geoboard paper (use for geometry and fractions)

copy link





Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

***In many cases you have to copy the link and paste it into the url because it is a pdf and it won’t hyperlink.

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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 http://gigglenookmathstore.com/ 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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