Thursday, January 9, 2014

Math tools

One of the things I've been trying during my current math unit is helping my students to explore different ways to solve story problems. I noticed that many of my first graders struggle with the task of showing their work! Their work space was so disorganized. A colleague introduced me to "EWS - equation, work, solution". My kids' math work is so much more organized! We set it up like this: 

Many of my kids use number lines, hands (to show counting on), or ten frames to solve story problems. I noticed they were really struggling with the task of drawing these items on their work space. Here's my solution:

I keep a supply of "math tools" on our supply shelf.

These little cut outs have been a huge time saver! For me, their thinking is more important than perfectly drawing a number line - especially for my kids struggling with their motor skills. The kids are really loving using the tools on their papers when solving story problems! If you think this will work for your class and want a copy of my hands/ten frames/number lines, let me know and I can link them here or e-mail :)


  1. What a bunch of awesome ideas! I could get lost in your blog! In case you didn't know we are having a New England blogger meet up this weekend. We'd love to have you. You can email me at for more info!
    A Burst of First

  2. Hi Sara,
    I just wanted to let you know that I have nominated your adorable blog for a Liebster Award! Head on over to blog for more information if you are interested in participating.
    Take Care,