Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Rub-A-Dub-Dub, Math in a Tub!

Our district uses the Everyday Math  program. I think it is sometimes also referred to as Chicago Math.  I like it.  It is more rigorous than our previous math series, but there are some gaps in the program that would stop me from saying I love it. Just a personal opinion.  Nevertheless, it is a program that requires my friends to have a variety of materials available to them everyday, no pun intended!

There are 24 friends in my class this year, sitting at four tables of six.  I have set up one tub for each table which are stored in a cubby in the front of the room.
Each table has a "Math Captain" who is responsible for getting the tubs and debs at the start of each period.  Tubs being the blue bins and debs is our shorthand for the dry erase boards that sit under each tub.  It's a silly thing, but it is so much easier to say, "Use your deb" rather than saying, "Use your dry erase board." And, yes, I know I should be writing it D.E.B.

So, what is in the tubs? 
  • First, we have a cup with red and blue pens and pencils.  This group needed a restock on pencils.  All three are used in the program, and I have learned to pick my battles.  My friends are required to have their own blue and red pen and pencils, but you know how that goes.  There's always someone who doesn't have something.  Rather than make it an issue, I keep extras in each tub.  It's easier for me to just provide extras than harangue them about not having what they are supposed to.
  • Next, there are some eraser cloths for their dry erase boards.  Over the years, I have learned that this is a much more cost effective and functional eraser than the regular black block erasers.  These last forever and when they get a bit grungy I just bring them home and throw them in the washer.  They come out clean and work like new.
  • Everyday Math comes with special decks of number cards that my friends use often.  Usually, if they are working in teams they will need more than one set.  Even if they are only using on set per a pair, they sit three pairs at a table.  This means I have three identical sets of cards out that can't be mixed up.  Can you see the problem?   It would be impossible to expect ten and eleven year olds to not get them mixed up occasionally.  To prevent the mix-up, I took all my cards home and marked each set with a different color or color symbol.  I also purchased soap cases at the dollar store to keep each set in.  I marked the case with the symbol that is on the deck of cards in the case.
I have three decks of cards in each tub.  The trick is to make sure the colors are not similar at each table so that my friends can easily identify which deck a lost or mixed-up card belongs in.  When I ran out of colors, we went to check marks of different colors.  It really has helped to keep the decks organized. 

  • Everyday Math also come with a blue template for each friend.  There is one for each friend in the tub.  My district does not like us to send these home, but that's a little hard when some of the homework or test review materials require the use of the template.  My students each have a number, so I numbered each template in the corner.  This way, each students is responsible for their template.  So, yeah, I do send them home on occasion.
The templates are pretty cool.  They have a half and full circle protractor, a percent circle, a metric ruler, a standard ruler, all the geometric shapes and pattern blocks, and can act as a compass.  If we ever switch programs, I'm planning to hold on to these!
  •  The last couple of things I keep in the tubs are a calculator for each student and two baggies with different colored cubes.  The cubes come in handy for some of the math games played in the program.
So that's how I keep my friends organized and ready to go for Math.  At the beginning of the period, the Math Captain get the tubs and debs for their table, and at the end of the period is responsible for gathering all the materials and returning them to the cubby.  Every month we change captains.

How do you organize for math?  Do you use tubs?  If so, what's in your tub?


  1. That is such a great idea! I have all my manipulatives sorted out but not tools for each student.
    We use Investigations. What are some of the things you have to supplement?
    Ooooh off to the dollar store! Thanks for sharing!

    ❁Beth Ann❁
    Taming My Flock of Firsties

  2. I love this! I plan to start math groups after break & these may come in handy! I've always used community materials but I've noticed this year that they are a bit difficult to store. The things I leave out regularly are a huge basket for deb's :), a basket for erasers, a large can for rulers, and a tub with a handle for misc. items. That takes up a lot of space & I'm liking this idea better. We use Think Math! and there are also a lot of materials to store. Ours are foam materials... I'd love to speak with the person who came up with that!

  3. Hello,
    I just wanted to let you know that your blog is one of my favorites! That’s why I’ve awarded you the Liebster Award through my own blog.

    Thanks for your infectious inspiration!

  4. We do EDM too and I also have math buckets! I got shower caddy types on sale at Walmart. I have the some of the same card (soap) cases as you, but some of mine cards are really squeezed in tight in a few of the types I bought. I have nothing to add because you already have it all! Oh, I have dice in my buckets too, in case they need them for a game.
    I love your blog so much!! I've been reading since you first re-started up!

  5. He everyone! Thanks for commenting on the math tubs. I hope they work out for you. Heather, I have dice in my buckets too. I'm not sure where they went for this group. I didn't even realize they were missing until you commented on it. Thanks!

  6. Dude! Soap containers = genius!!! Great idea!

  7. im in sixth grade and i have a geometry template same one as those and it broke in you happen to know where i can buy one??

    1. You may or may not like what I'm about to say depending on how badly you want one! Ours are part of the McGraw-Hill Everyday Math Program. Here is a link to their catalog, although it won't post as a link. You will need to cut and paste the address.

      On page 34 they sell them in packs of ten for $64.41. I think that's a lot when you only need one. I tried to Google it and see if there were any others out there, but anything else I saw was even more expensive. Have you thought about copying one to a transparency? You could cut out the shapes with an Exacto knife. It would be little flimsy, but work just as well. Just give that one to a friend who knows how to be careful with it. But now that I'm thinking about it, I don't know if that would be legal to do. Well, you can get ten for a little over sixty dollars! I guess it really just works out to $6.44 cents each. Maybe there are some other teachers in your building willing to go in on some. Good luck!

  8. I was wondering, where do you get the blue template things?

    1. I'm sorry i didn't see the other 1

  9. Please tell me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. The templates that u have r actually on page 37.

  11. Ok I just HAVE to have the cards you keep in the soap containers! Where did you get them?

  12. Hello, can you tell me where can I get the special decks of number cards, because I am planing to teach my son number with subitize method.