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How I master math intervention

I absolutely love teaching math. Normally, if you show how much you love a certain something in a classroom, your students will lean towards liking that certain thing as well.

For instance, if you rave on and on about a certain book, most kids will want to read it. The same is true about small groups. I love telling my kids that I cannot wait for 'our time' together. They know that I do not allow anyone to interrupt us. Our time at the table is sacred. This is the FIRST step in mastering your intervention time. Make sure to use their timely to the fullest. Do not let the other kids approach your area.

My kids know that we set a timer and they work quietly the entire time while I am working with my group. This group changes weekly dependent upon what we are focusing on or who needs a little extra practice with me. I usually only spend about 15-20 minutes with a group in math intervention since I seriously have zero extra minutes during math. If possible, I pull two groups for 15 minutes. These groups usually have 5 kids each... or less if it's a good year.

My Math Intervention Binder

A few years ago, I got rid of ALL of the binders in my classroom. I had one for every subject and every month. They took up TOO much space. I'm all digital now EXCEPT for my math intervention binder. It sits on a shelf right behind my table and is so easy to just pull out. It is FULL of page protectors and pencil pouches. I can easily slide materials into a page protector and just pull out as many as I need. Then, I quickly put them back in.

Inside of the binder, I have things like my number cards, different ten frame cards, number bond cards, number formations cards and so on. I keep it all in one place because I'm really good about putting a few cards here and then stacking them with something else... then that stack gets moved and guess what? I've lost some cards. I keep the binder out on the table during math intervention and when the last group is cleaning up, I clean up my table and put everything back. And I haven't misplaced anything.

The yellow sheet in the picture above is our counting page. This helps us practice moving left to right and sliding down and back all the way to the left. I say "Let's start at the Star and stop at the apple." Then, we practice moving/jumping numbers. The numbers 11-20 are on the back when we are ready for those numbers. I also use this page to check number identification. I'll just say, "Show me 5" and they have to point to 5 quickly.

Kids Math Baggie
I should have a better name for this, but I don't. All of my kids have a pencil pouch that they store in their storage bins. We don't have desks so this is where they store their things. Inside of their pencil pouch is connecting cubes, counters, seasonal manipulatives and so on. They have at least 10 of each depending on what we've used it for. This SAVES SO MUCH TIME! When we're working on something either whole group or in small group, they know to grab their math baggie and then I just tell them what to pull out. We don't waste time passing out materials. I bought and have been handed down a bunch of those colorful $1 pencil pouches from Walmart and use those. I also use the ones pictured above as well.

The Checklists
 Before I even discuss what I do, let's talk about before school is in session. Usually on Thursday afternoons, I stay at school and prepare for the next week. We do lesson plans on Thursday, so I know what our plans are. I've also taught for 4 days and I'm pretty aware of what the needs of my kiddos are. I pull out my checklist, lesson plans and my notebook. I have this laminated front/back and I use a vis-a-vis marker to write on it. I don't use a dry erase marker because it wipes off too easily. I look through my plans and decide what games/skills I'll be using for Monday and Tuesday. I write down everything that I'll need including any books, cards, manipulatives - ANYTHING. The back is for Wednesday and Thursday. Sometimes I don't fill out the back. I'll wait and see how Monday and Tuesday goes. If my kids got the skill that we worked on, I can move on to something else. If they didn't get it, I usually stick with that skill for the entire week.

After I have written everything down, I pull everything I need at the same time and lay it out. I sort it in my math drawers behind my table and it's there for the next week when I need it. I won't have to get up that morning and pull things. Everything will be in my math intervention drawer and I just pull it out and put it back. On Fridays, I clean out this drawer during school because I usually don't do math intervention on Friday. This is my assessment day. You can click the image above to be taken to my newsletter. If you've already signed up for my newsletter, you should have gotten the checklist in your email along with a ton of other goodies.

This is what my planning sheet looks like for the week. I have a warm-up, focus skill and section for notes. I keep this and use these during RTI and for parent conference references. I'm really bad about note taking so I made sure to add a spot to add notes. Since I see it right there, it's easier for me to jot down a few things each day. I slide this back in a page protector each day until Friday when I place a new one in for the next week.

What do I do during math intervention? I focus on skills that have not been mastered. I reteach skills that I've already taught. In kindergarten, everything is new to them so I'm really only playing catch-up with what I've introduced. Here's a rundown of what I get accomplished during math intervention time.

Number Recognition
I always make sure I hit number recognition during my math intervention time. This doesn't mean that my students need to know a certain set of numbers or that they don't know the numbers. From experience, the more that they see a number, they more comfortable they are with that number. I want them to remember how the numbers are formed, the correct name, and so on. If we discuss each of the numbers quickly, but each day, they are more likely to remember them correctly. This will also break bad habits that they've learned before I was able to teach them the correct things.

I use different sets of numbers each week. I have numbers that are primary fonts, number cards that look like newspaper print and as the year goes on, I usually make a set of "curly" numbers. I do this to make sure they've seen different types of numbers. I know in our classrooms we usually try to make everything look like Zaner Bloser or D'Nealian style fonts, but if they're not in the classroom and need to recognize a number, will they be able to?

We also practice counting each and every time that we meet during math intervention. Is it always the normal way to count where we start at one and end at ten? Of course not. Sometimes, we don't always starts at 1. I may begin counting at 4. Sometimes, I may even skip a number in my sequence of counting. This is how I zone in on who actually has the number sequence down. They'll be able to tell if I skipped a number and then tell me what number I skipped. We usually do this for a minutes. Quick and simple.

Focus Skill
Dependent on our struggles, from the past week or two - I choose a focus skill. Usually, I have two different focus skills. One group does one and the other group does the other. Sometimes, I may have the same focus skills for both groups, but it just depends. Here's a closer look at a few of the things that I do in my classroom.

A few of these games I use interchangeably as warm-ups and then later as a focus. If we've mastered a game and it's not seasonal, I usually put it in a math workshop for everyone to work on.

A favorite each year is our hidden pieces game. I cut out something, in this case a snowflake, and hide it under a number. If we're working on teen numbers, I only put out the teen number cards. They have to guess which number the snowflake is under. So simple, yet so much FUN! We love playing these with different themed cards each month.

I try to make everything we do super quick and easy. When practicing measurement, we use a nonstandard form of measurement. They grab their "ruler" and we practice measuring different pictures. Then, pass it to the right and measure your new card. I just say switch and they know to pass their card down. I've done this with writing the number and without. It depends on what your group needs to work on.

The counting mats are also a favorite when graphing. I have different cards with the same objects. This way, they think they have the same mats, but there are different numbers of objects. They can't look at their neighbors and take that answer. We practice graphing together and they also get in some counting fun. This only takes about 5 to 7 minutes of our math intervention time.

Kinder Snaps is the freebie you receive when you initially sign up for my newsletter. It actually comes with some reading fluency mats as well. I pass out a sheet to each of my kiddos and say go. They use a whisper phone to say each of the numbers. With the phone, they're not as loud as they would be without it. I'm also able to listen to them each independently as they say each number. This is another quick and amazing way to check their number identification and practice fluency at the same time. We stop after each line and discuss numbers that we may have mixed up.

We use these three sets to practice numbers as well. They build a number sandwich, practice writing numbers correctly with the race formation sheets, and we build the number.

You can find some of these games in my Math Intervention packs.

Math Workshops
A question that I always see is "What are the other kids doing?" I'll be dedicating a blog post strictly for math workshops coming soon. It will explain how my kids rotate, what they're doing, and how I store materials for student use. A little bit of planning beforehand makes the entire year run smoothly. If you'd like to have the planning sheet, checklist, math intervention binder cover, and the number formation cards - sign up for my newsletter here and they'll be delivered to your email during the Welcome series.

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How to Master Math Intervention

Pre-Kindergarten - 1st Grade Classroom Tools

How to add magnetic lamination to your printables

Please note this post has affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will receive a small compensation.

The ezLaminator is one of my favorites new classroom "things" this school year. I did a Donor's Choose earlier at the start of the year for it with a few other things. What is an ezLaminator? It's a cold laminator that is super quiet to laminate. It has zero odors and laminates with a quick little turn. If you'd like to read the specifics on it, you can find the Xyron Ezlaminator on Amazon.

The Ezlaminator comes with an interchangeable laminating cartridge inside. It takes about 20 seconds to change cartridges after you figure out how to do it. I printed off some number formations to go with my Math Intervention sets. My kids trace the numbers with a dry erase marker. They erase really well with a black marker which is fantastic. A magnetic laminating cartridge is also available. That's the magic of this laminator. I switched the normal laminator out for the magnetic cartridge and decided to also laminate some of the number formations. 

I was gifted with about 20 cookie sheets so my kids are able to have a very small magnetic area to work on. I used the built-in cutter to cut the sheet. Then, I cut out each of the cards. They place one of the numbers on a cookie sheet and write away. The magnetic part makes it a lot heavier than just laminating. It would be fine to print on regular copy paper and then use the magnetic lamination. I tried on cardstock as well and liked both just fine.

I printed off our sight words and laminated them on magnetic lamination as well. They use these during word work to practice building their words on a cookie sheet with magnetic letters.

I also printed off a few sets of letters and letter patterns to use during small group. AMAZING idea.

 The cookie sheet does get scratched up from the magnetic part, but they stay and don't fall off at all. If they pick up each of the letters and don't slide them, it doesn't scratch it.

If you'd like to receive these, make sure to join my newsletter to get these in your e-mail. I'll send you the number formation cards as well. Grab the Xyron Ezlaminator here.

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Pre-Kindergarten - 1st Grade Classroom Tools

Amazon Prime is a teacher's BFF

Happy New Year friends! I wanted to write a post on the last day of 2016, but didn't know what. I wanted it to be about something I really loved, but I love so much that it was hard to choose. Then, a light went off in my brain. DUH! Amazon. I seriously am on Amazon almost every day. It's only fitting to tell you what I absolutely loved buying from Amazon in 2016.

Please note: This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you click the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small compensation. Now that THAT'S out of the way, let's check out my favorites!

Since I don't have kids of my own, my classroom gets a LOT more love than it should. I know I spend way too much money on things for school, but it makes my life easier and happier so it's all good, right?

Scotch Thermal Laminating Pouches
I usually don't buy the actual Scotch brand of laminating sheet, BUT when I do - they're on SALE. Amazon has had these on sale for a while and hopefully it doesn't end with the New Year coming! They are under $10 for 100! These are normally over $10 so I couldn't resist this deal. The brand I usually buy actually went up in price when these went down so it was a total win for me!

PaperMate Inkjoy Gel Pens

My favorite pens for the last few years was the PaperMate Flair. That is until I found these lovelies! Seriously they write SO amazingly!

Planning is a breeze with this freebie! Use it to plan your week and check off what you have done and still need to do!
I use them to plan with each week. You can grab the planning freebie using the image above!

I also use them when writing my note of the day to go home. I use these to easily bridge the gap between home and school. Of course parents know about the things their child needs to work on, but with these notes I easily send home a positive message even if their child did not have a stellar day. They're super easy to implement and the Inkjoy Gel pen makes it so nice and quick!


Ermmmm... who doesn't spend tons of time making new centers? Well, I had to this year because I moved up to 1st grade. The last time I taught first grade was 4 years ago and times have CHANGED! So, that meant lots of new printing, laminating, cutting and obvi I need cardstock. I love buying this. It comes in a 250 pack and is usually around 7 bucks. This is way cheaper than purchasing on the fly at Walmart. They have a pack of 125 (I think) and it's close to 6 bucks. The cheapest I've ever purchased this was around $6, but it was only once and I racked UP big time!

Scotch Laminator
This is the exact one that I have (I had an older version), but this is the link I bought it from. My first Scotch laminator was purchased when I was in college in 2007 I think. I bought it from Walmart for about $30. Fast forward until this year and it FINALLY stopped working. Totally got my money's worth. I decided to purchase another because it was on sale right before it stopped working and had two. If you don't own a laminator, don't buy one. BUY TWO! It saves me so much time when I'm laminating. I load a bunch of the sheets so I have a stack to work from, load both up and as they laminate I fill more sheets. This is by far one of my favorite purchases of all time!

Xyron Ezlaminator
I actually did not get the Xyron Ezlaminator with my own personal money. I made a Donors Choose project for it along with the magnetic laminate. PEOPLE! You need one! I wanted this for my kids to be able to laminate their book covers. We make a ton of personal books in our classroom and I want them to last. The only idea I could come up with was to have the kids laminate. I don't have time to laminate book covers all the time and I didn't want them using something that had to be plugged in and that could heat up. 

How did it go? Amazingly! This is so simple to use. All you do is place the sheet inside of the lines and then turn the handle. In a few turns the paper is laminated. Then, cut it off. That simple. If you laminate a lot like I do, this would also be helpful. It's quiet, no heat or plug in required and they rolls are a good size. I got 22 full sheet pages in one roll (with a few hiccups included). I would not use this for my everyday laminating needs though.

I also bought the magnetic sheets to make our games stick to cookie sheets. I have laminated a lot of our word work and math center game mats on these and it allows the sheet to stick to the cookie sheet. I also laminate the parts to each of the games on these.

What are some of your favorite purchases from Amazon this year?

Pre-Kindergarten - 1st Grade Classroom Tools

How to beat new reader comprehension blues

Help your students gain confidence with quick and easy reading fluency. These Read. Write. Illustrate. sheets have a checklist built-in to each activity for easy checking.

Last school year, my kinders were ready for some easy sentence comprehension pretty early in the year. I wanted them to be accountable for their reading. However, I didn't have time to fit in space for comprehension practice that was totally dedicated to that. Our morning routine was pretty quick and easy, so I decided we'd use the first 20 minutes after we walked into our classroom to unpack and work on writing sentences correctly and comprehending what we read by drawing a picture to match.

Read. Write. Illustrate. was born. My kids absolutely EXCELLED the rest of the months when we were reading. The first week of introducing it, we did it together. I put my own copy under our document camera and they all sat on the rug with clipboards and their paper. We practiced writing our letters from top to bottom, making fingers spaces and focusing on what we actually read. The next week, most of them were ready to independently work on these. I had time to sit with the two that needed a little reinforcement from me.

Comprehension fluency, morning work, reading comprehension, sight words

Each of the sentences are short enough where they are not overwhelmed. They are able to easily practice their handwriting, correct sentence structure and they're also able to practice comprehension. My students LOVE coming in each morning to see what their sentence will be.

comprehension, fluency, morning work, reading comprehension, sight words

This year, I moved to 1st grade. I only have one of my previous students from last year so this was new to most of my kiddos. We struggled with remembering what a sentence was and how it should look. This helped us to quickly get our minds in the right state as we got started for the day. They write their sentence, we discuss it, and we're ready for the day in 20 minutes. I also love that most of their high frequency words are used over and over again. They're able to read words that we are constantly practicing.

comprehension, fluency, morning work, reading comprehension, sight words

I never read them any of the words or give any hints. I do allow them to help each other if their is a difficult sight word. However, that is very rare. It's a lot easier for a 1st grader than it is for a kindergartener. We also discuss details of illustrations. It starts with random pictures with most of them "floating", but as we progress, discuss, and think about what real life looks like, they are able to adjust their illustrations.

comprehension, fluency, morning work, reading comprehension, sight words

I created a mixed short vowel version as well as each short vowel set separately. Want to remember this post? Pin the image below to save it for later.

Help your students gain confidence with quick and easy reading fluency. These Read. Write. Illustrate. sheets have a checklist built-in to each activity for easy checking.

Pre-Kindergarten - 1st Grade Classroom Tools
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