Classroom Transformations in Math

Who doesn’t love a good theme day? Keep your students engaged in learning with a classroom transformation or two! At first, I was hesitant to incorporate transformations in my classroom because they honestly looked really expensive when I saw the transformations other teachers did! I am here to tell you that transformations to do not need to be expensive to be fun!

Classroom transformations can be done using materials you have at home or you can engage the students in the process! For example, I had a football classroom transformation that I used to review addition and subtraction of decimals.

I used the school’s bulletin board paper as tablecloths for the table and some of the football fanatics in the class brought in their helmets and footballs to add to the décor. I had students come in with their favorite football jersey and I dressed the part with a jersey too! The only thing I purchased was the football paper plates to tape the scavenger hunt questions to.

To add to the fun, I went on YouTube to find an old football game to project on mute to add to the ambiance. It was super easy and it was a day that my students won’t soon forget!

Other easy classroom transformation ideas include:

  • Beach Theme – you could use this escape!
  • Any sport you love (or your students love)
  • Glow Day – though this one would require black lights in order to make the colors glow!
  • Seasonal themes like Valentine’s Day
  • Circus
  • Boardwalk Games
  • Backyard Games
  • The possibilities are endless!

5 Ways to Add Movement in a Math Classroom

Are you ready to get up and moving in your math class? It seems that math class gets a bad rap with just sitting and listening and it being boring. Well, what if we change that? Let’s get up and moving and having fun in math! Here are some ways that we can add movement into math class.

1. Scavenger Hunts! You can use scavenger hunts in a variety of ways. You can use the task cards you already have and place them around the room for your students to solve. I like to give students a clipboard so no matter where they are, they have something to write on. You can also use premade scavenger hunts like THESE where the students solve a problem and hunt for the answer!

2. Escapes! This may be similar to the scavenger hunts but they are still worth mentioning! I love having the students complete the escape challenges all around the room to spread the students out and keep them moving!

3. Multiple choice questions where they have to travel to their answer! I put an A, B, C, and D in the 4 corners of the classroom. I project a question and the students then have to travel to their answer. I like it when the questions are more survey based, so not all the students end up in the same corner 🙂

4. Simply incorporate stretch breaks or brain breaks between activities! My favorite is a dance party; I put on a song and we all just let loose!

5. Boot Camp Review – Use your whole classroom as stations. Each station can be a different topic or task. Set an amount of time for each station and then for 30 seconds in between the stations, have the students complete an exercise. Check out this Boot Camp Review.

What is another way to add movement? I would love to hear!

5 Ways to Promote a Positive Math Mindset

Do you want to create an environment in your classroom where students take risks and feel confident? Here are 5 ways to promote a positive math mindset in your classroom.

1. Display a math affirmation mirror. Students love to look at themselves in the mirror, right? Well, why not use that as a way to shift their mindset? Students can visit the mirror when they are struggling and pick an affirmation to recite. You could have students recite one of the affirmations when they come into your classroom as a way to start class off on a positive note as well. No matter how you use it, just having the positive affirmations on display shows that you are a teacher that wants the students in your class to succeed.

2. Be mindful of the words you use to communicate mistakes in front of class. Students are very focused on how they are viewed amongst their peers. Use your words as a way to encourage students and not embarrass them in front of their peers.

3. Create a classroom culture that recognizes mistakes as a way to grow. I love this one because I make SOOOO many mistakes and I want use my mistakes as a way to show students that it is normal and it is a way to learn and grow. I even go as far as to let the students point out my mistakes and we count them! I put the count on a prominent place on my board so it is always visible. I use the quote, “Mistakes help us grow” and count the mistakes as seen in the picture below. It helps the students recognize that no one is perfect, not even the person teaching them! Have

4. Utilize feedback frequently! Don’t rely on the end result or test to be the only way for students to demonstrate their knowledge. The more feedback that you give students throughout the process or learning, the more students will have an opportunity to show their knowledge and learn from their mistakes.

5. Create math lessons that are engaging and worthwhile. If students are invested in a task, they will be more likely to take risks and persevere through challenges and mistakes.

Middle School Math Back to School Activities

Are you struggling to find engaging math activities for the beginning of the year? I have you covered! These 3 back to school activities require little to no prep and will help you get to know your students! There is a FREE one at the end 🙂

My all time favorite activity is the Math All About Me Activity! You can use this activity to help teach routines, transitions, and procedures. First, I review the routines and expectations of groupwork and stations. Then, I give the students the page that they have to fill out. I divide the class into 8 groups. Each group will be at a specific station. I place the task card directions at each station. I set a timer for 5 minutes at each station. If students finish early, they can color their page. If they did not complete the station, I leave time at the end to finish the paper.

I love this activity because students are able to talk to one another in the small groups, it showcases what students know or struggle with in math, and it makes a great bulletin board display when they are done!

Another fun activity to start the year is the Real World Math Project. This will help you answer the question…. “When will we use this in real life?” Students find out how math is used in the world around them and describe the scenario with a picture and explanation. This makes a great beginning of the year project to practice sharing and speaking in front of class.

Here is a quick (and FREE!) Math About Me activity. I like this one page activity to leave on students’ desks when they first come in to let them know I mean business! It can also be used as a station in the first few weeks of school if you utilize math workshop. Check it out HERE.

Virtual Beach Day Theme Plans

Are you as ready as I am to celebrate the end of the school year? I am starting our final countdown with a FREE BEACH DAY! Below is a full day of plans just for you! I am going to have the students dress up in some summer gear, wear hats, sunglasses and whatever else they would like to get into the beachy mode.

Beach Day Plan:

  • The day starts with a few STEM activities. I put 2 different ones in the plan so students could see what materials they already have at home. When they create their tower or castle, they can take a picture and add it to the slideshow.
  • Next, the students will write a bucket list of all that they want to accomplish over the summer. This is a great writing activity. It also can be extended into an art/design project by making a bucket list poster!
  • For math, I will be using my Escape to Summer activity to review 5th grade standards. The students will be working on the escape on Google Slides. For the answers, they will be typing them into a self-grading Google Form. Perfect, no prep, no grading activity for teachers!
  • For science, the students have a choice board of summer videos where they can learn about the science of summer. They will write 3 things they learned from the videos. You could have them in breakout rooms and assign a certain video to each group. Then, they can come together and share what they learned!
  • For reading, I am going to play some ocean waves and let them enjoy a good book “on the beach.”
  • Just for fun, I have included some summer coloring directed drawings.
  • In the Done Early? section, I will be putting the June, July and August Project Morning Menus for my class. These include some more summer fun activities! See all the PROJECT MORNING MENUS here.

That is what I have planned! If you wanted another morning meeting activity, you could include the End of Year Would You Rather Activity which makes a great bulletin board!

I would love to hear your feedback on the activity and let me know if you want any more theme days like this in the comments.

Math Talk Bulletin Board

Let’s talk about math! Creating a classroom environment where students talk and discuss their math thinking is so important to their deeper understanding of math! Using math talk prompts can foster those math discussions and help students learn how to explain their mathematical thinking! These are great discussion prompts as well as questions students can ask themselves when they are explaining their answer in writing.

I love to have the math talk prompts displayed in the classroom so students can refer to them as they are having discussions or during our math talk class discussion time. It helps eliminate students talking down to one another or looking at you with a blank stare!

How do you use math talks in your classroom? I would love to hear! Leave a comment and let me know!

Math Review Activity Mazes

Are you ready to have a little fun with a math review activity? Admittedly, there are times that math can feel a little dry and repetitive. I like to keep the students on their toes and have lots of different review activities! One of my favorite activities are these mazes. These mazes can be used as done early activities, enrichment, homework, and just a fun way to review the 5th grade math standards! Let me tell you how I use them in my class…

When I was in the classroom, I had the students complete these for every math topic! I gave the maze to them at the start of the chapter and when they felt confident in that standard, they could complete it to show what they learned. Now that I am online, I made them digital so the students could cover the correct answer and still “color” the maze.

Ways that you could use the mazes:

  • Give students a packet of the mazes to complete throughout the year.
  • Use them as a math station for math workshop.
  • Send them home with the students as a nice and easy homework sheet.
  • Give the mazes to a pair of students so they can work collaboratively.
  • Send home for a summer review!

Why I love them:

  • The mazes give students the chance to practice their skills in a new way.
  • Students who enjoy coloring are immediately engaged in the math activity.
  • Students can color the way they like which adds a mindfulness element to math.
  • They are SO easy for teachers to use and there is NO PREP!

Try out a FREE MAZE here! If you like that, you will LOVE all 25+ mazes HERE.

Brain Puzzles for Morning Meeting

Have you ever heard of rebus puzzles? Well, if you haven’t you are in for a treat. These brain puzzles are a great way to engage your students and it is a great activity for morning meeting. I have been using them in morning meeting and it is a GAME CHANGER!

Here are some ways that I have been using these puzzles in my class…

  • Whole Class – I project the puzzle on the board. The students try to take a guess what the answer to the puzzle is and write it down on the whiteboard. I usually give one or two minutes for the students to take their best guess.
  • Whole Class – I project one of the puzzles as part of my morning message. The students can think about the puzzle while they unpack and get ready for the day. I have the students share what they think the puzzle means during our morning meeting.
  • Small Group – I put 5 of the puzzles into their own slideshow. Then, I put the students in breakout rooms so they can work together to see how many of the puzzles they can solve.
  • Individually – I have also used this as an enrichment activity for those students that finish early or just are interested in the puzzles!

Try one! Can you guess what the answer is. Alright, I started you with an easy one! Don’t worry – answers are included!

ANSWER – Sitting on top of the world!

How would you use these puzzles in your classroom? I would love to hear!

Looking for more morning meeting activities? Check these out!

End of the Year Memory Book

Well, this has been a year to remember! Because it was such a unique school year, I want the students to have a memory book as a place where they can remember and write down different aspects of their year. I feel like this year is going to be a blur and almost seem surreal when things go back to “normal” and I want the students to hold on to the memories that they have and the difficulties that they have been through.

I am going to have the students fill in the pages on Google Slides because I am a virtual teacher. I love that the pages are black and white and the students can print them out after they fill them in in order to color the pictures! You could also have the students write in their answers if you are an in person teacher this year.

There are so many pages to choose from. You can do them all or just some of your favorite pages! So many options. This has me dreaming of all the end of the year activities!

End of the Year Bulletin Board

Are you ready for the end of the year? I know I am! This is one of my favorite end of the year activities and guess what… it is so easy! I display the end of the year bulletin board for the last month of school and then I cover it with plastic and it doubles as my back to school bulletin board! Let me tell you how I use it…

First, I print out the banner (which has all grade levels!) and the alphabet letters. That is pretty much all I have to do! Then, I let the students’ creativity run wild!

Each student gets a letter and they design and color their letter based on something unique about our classroom. I a lucky and my class is less than 26 students. With the leftover letters, I let the early finishers make another one! (If you have more than 26 students, I also included 1- 10 is for…)

My favorite part of this bulletin board is that it is so different every year and it shows off each class’ personality and creativity. Also, it saves me time during classroom setup in the summer – one less bulletin board to set up!

I included bunting banners, all the alphabet letters and numbers 1-10 for classes that have more than 26 students. You could make your own or CLICK HERE to grab yours now! Let me know what you think!