Making Math Meaningful

This 100th Day of School writing on what they liked and didn't like so far about first grade stopped us in our tracks. We are in our second year of a new math adoption, and our class has made it pretty clear how they feel about math in our classroom this year. The audible math moans and groans and passive aggressive journal writing were keeping us up at night!Making math meaningful
Like, HELLO teachers? Are you hearing us...We HATE math!

We knew something had to change. I hated math as a child growing up and I had the self-confidence about it to boot. I promised myself I would never allow one of my students to feel the way I felt about the subject. Something had to change! So we put our heads together and came up with some supplemental math materials that kick the "No math please" pleas to the curb!

Math Chat: Math Vocabulary Word Wall Cards, Student Dictionary & Flashcards
We are firm believers that if you're going to walk the math walk, you've got to talk the math talk. Kids are most comfortable when they know what they're talking about. Ask them! :) 
Math word wall and resources for the primary classroom.
We created these math vocabulary resources to help our students build a strong math vocabulary foundation all year long. We use these all the time...On our word wall, in our pocket chart, in centers, and the kids love using them to play math vocabulary games too! 
Math word wall for the primary classroom
We put the word cards on rings and keep them available for the taking. We are amazed at how they find new ways to practice and play with their peers.
Math word wall and resources for the primary classroom.
We also turned our Math Chat vocabulary into math dictionaries inspired by our Spelling Dictionaries. We leave these available at all of our tables for students to use. 
Building math fact fluency is a year-long process. We give our students as many opportunities to practice their math facts all year. One quick and easy way we do this is through games. Our Addition Math Fact Fluency Games are quick, copy and go activities that are differentiated for all of our students. We spend the first few weeks of school teaching them how to play, then we leave them out and available day after day. 
Math fact fluency made fun!

Math fact fluency made fun!

Math fact fluency made fun!

Math fact fluency made fun!
When our students are ready, we dig into formal math fact fluency assessments.
Math fact fluency made fun!
You can download our 
for free. 
Once we've assessed, we begin our favorite way to build math fact fluency in our students. We know there is a lot of controversies out there about whether or not to give timed math fact tests to students. We say yes! But, there's a key...It has to be fun!
Math fact fluency made fun!
We use Big Fish Math in our classroom, and our students beg for it week after week. We adjust the time to set our students up for success. We are not in the business of making kids cry over math. Been there, done that as a child and we will not scar any other mathematicians in the world. We keep this activity light, fun, and motivating for our students. If they struggle, we differentiate. Every student works on their own math fact fluency at their own pace and in their own place. We've been using timed math for over 15 years and haven't had a single tear shed yet. So, we say timed tests? Yes!
Math moves quickly and without proper review, the skills of today are lost by tomorrow! So, we begin each math session with some independent practice. We created Problem of the Day Booklets for the entire school year. Students get a new booklet each month and they work on one problem each day to get their math minds moving.
Daily math warm up booklets - Problem of the Day
These are super easy to prep. Just copy cut and staple. We like to cover the covers onto colored paper (We use Astrobrights or construction paper) because they kids feel like it's something brand new. 
Daily math warm up booklets - Problem of the Day
The back of our booklets focus on key math vocabulary which we love referring to as we work our way through our math curriculum. As we discuss each word, we have them interact with their Math Chat on the backs of their Problem of the Day booklets. It's like a portable math word wall at their fingertips! 
Portable math word walls

Problem of the Day Daily Math Warm-Up Booklets
Making math meaningful is a major priority in our classroom. 
How do you make math meaningful for your students?
Fluttering Through First Grade

Classroom Decor Tips and Tricks

Top tips for decorating your classroom
For as much time as we spend in our classrooms as teachers, we should love it! Our students should love it too. It’s their home away from home after all and becomes a place they are proud to come to each school day for learning and growing.

Here are our top tips and tricks for decorating your classroom. 
Classroom decor tips and tricks
Pick a Scheme...A Color Scheme! 
One of the absolute best things we ever did was choose a color scheme for our classroom. Blue and green have been our color wheel for many years now, and we love it! Choosing a color scheme makes a classroom look organized, even if it's a hot mess!
A color scheme also keeps our teacher summer shopping brains in check. 
I cannot see red. I deny you yellow. 
You are dead to me hot pink...I only see blue and green. 
The Dollar Store? Blue and green. 
Target? Blue and green. 
Walmart? You got it...Blue and green! 
Wherever we shop for back to school, we only see blue and green. It has been the best shopping spree system ever because it keeps us focused...
Stop looking at me purple!

Consistent, calming classroom colors can have a positive impact on student learning. We have found our colorized classroom provides a cohesive learning environment where students love to learn. They also learn quickly to not bring a purple basket from home and ask to add it to the class stash. 
The answer is a sweet, but strong no. :) 

From class decor to bulletin boards, table tubs to water bottles, and everything in between, we try to incorporate our color scheme subtly yet strongly all around our classroom.
Classroom decor and more! Customize your classroom with a color scheme.
Plan a Theme
Engaging your class in a theme not only makes for an eye-catching classroom, but it also sets the stage for building a community of learners. Here's a small list of classroom theme ideas.
Classroom themes ideas A to Z

Our Class Decor & More sets provide student-centered, teacher-friendly decor to fit your themed classroom. 
Classroom decor and more
Use the contents that best fit your own classroom needs. Many of the components of our Class Decor and More sets are editable so you can personalize them. Printing on heavyweight paper such as cardstock or construction paper is recommended for durability.  Laminating some components is optional, but will help your d├ęcor last over time. 
Classroom decor and more
With over 200 pages to choose from, your classroom will be decked out in no time so you can focus on the important stuff…TEACHING! 
Personalize your own class nameplates with editable classroom decor.
DIY classroom decor made easyDIY Classoom Decor made easy. Class labels for the classroom.

DIY Class word wall. Classroom decor made easy!

Classroom decor made easy!
We believe firmly in teaching our students how to utilize the class decor. It isn't just cute! It serves a purpose. When students ask how to spell the color green, we ask them to look around! When they need to know how to draw a trapezoid, we refer them to the classroom walls. Being resourceful and building independence in our learners starts with our Class Decor and More.
Classroom decor made easy!

We number our library book tubs not only to keep them organized, but we utilize the numbers to direct our students on how to choose their book tubs for quiet reading time. Some days we only read from odd number tubs and other days from even. We incorporate learning wherever we can with our class decor. It isn't just cute! 

We might even throw something like this at them...
"Table 1 please go get the book tub that equals 3+2 for your reading today." 
And they do!
Decorating a classroom can be so daunting, but it doesn't have to be with the 3 P's. 
Pick a scheme, Plan a theme, and Personalize it! 
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Fluttering Through First Grade