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Math Bulletin Boards

Do you love to decorate your math classroom as much as I do? Who says a math classroom has to be academic and boring? Not me! Here are some of my favorite math bulletin boards. You can use these bulletin boards for reference, get to know you activities, and to share your passion for math!

Let’s talk about my favorite bulletin board first! Alright, this is the math reference bulletin board that I have up every year. Sometimes, I put it up slowly and introduce each piece as I need it in the curriculum and sometimes I just have it up right from the start. I put a table in front of this bulletin board and use it as a station in my math workshop. The students who sit at that station usually need a few extra reminders or their notes may be a little messy. Anyway, you want to check it out? HERE is the free PEMDAS part of the bulletin board.

Next up, this Elements of Math board! It is just a fun way to start the year. I have it on the bulletin board right outside my classroom. It sparks a lot of conversations as the students read through the math terminology and ask questions about what some of the words mean. This would be great in a middle school math classroom but also a great addition to an elementary school room. I have it displayed in my 5th grade classroom.

The dreaded question, “when will I ever use this in my life?!” Well, this math career bulletin board helps answer that question for you! There are 50 different careers that are displayed on the paper airplanes! Here are some examples:

  • Scientists use math to graph and analyze data
  • Teachers use math to inspire the next generation of mathematicians
  • Cryptographers use math to encode and decode data
  • Floral Designers use math to make sure the ratio of flowers is proportional

Do you need a get to know you activity for the first week of school? I have you covered with the My Number Story bulletin board. I use this every year as a way of teaching my math procedures. The students will have to answer a number of questions about themselves and put the answer in the designated part of the flag. I have the task cards around the classroom and we can work on transitions, time management, rotations, following directions, etc. And the bonus is the students are able to socialize and get to know each other in their small groups. Then, I have the students either introduce themselves to a small group or I have a student introduce someone else to the class!

All of these bulletin boards can be found HERE.

What other math bulletin boards are you looking for to display in your math classroom?

Virtual Class Meeting Ideas

I have never done so many class meetings in my life! Because we are fully virtual, we now have a specific built in virtual class meeting time. Now that I have done so many, I wouldn’t change a thing! I love getting to know my students more and have fun with them! Here are some of a few ways that I have been filling my time in our virtual morning meetings.

Scavenger Hunts: One of the easiest activities that I do at least once a month is a scavenger hunt! I make a FREE new one for every month which you can grab in my TPT store. I like to use these scavenger hunts on days that drag a little bit because it gets the students moving nice and early! Here is how it works:

  • First, I read through the directions which just tells the students that they have 5 minutes to gather all 10 things on the scavenger hunt list.
  • Then, I set the timer and the students run around their houses for the items on the list. Like, “something that makes you think of fall” or “something that gives off light.” I love to see what the students come back with!
  • When they return, I repeat each item category that the students had to gather. They hold the item up to the screen so I can check it out! I comment on a few people each time by saying things like, “wow, that is so cool Jeremy” or “tell me more about what that means to you Charlotte.” This sparks a great conversation and the students love showing off the items they found in their homes. I try to touch base with everyone with all the 10 items.

Games: Games are also a fun way to start your day! Here are a few of my favorites!

  • Kahoot! – This is the most requested activity in my class! This is a virtual survey or quiz platform. You as the teacher can create a game or find one that is already created. Then, you can start a quiz and all the students will join with a code. Students answer questions on their own devices and compete against one another. I like to keep the topics lighthearted so it really is just for fun. Some of my favorite topics are name that logo, animals, memory games. I always search and there are so many options, that is the best part!
  • Put a finger down if… I like to use this game as a way to introduce a topic or after a break. After winter break, I asked questions like: “put a finger down if… you made a snowman”, “put a finger down if… you read a book” etc. You can choose to call the student with the most fingers down a winner or the one with the most fingers left up – depending on the topic!
  • Guess the Gibberish: This is one of my favorite games so why not play it virtually! I found this game FREE from The Science Stalker! Students have to decipher the words meanings by saying them out loud. I have the students type their answer in the chat so I can really tell who was first to solve it. It’s so fun.

Ice Breakers or Discussion Starters:

Sometimes, you just want to spark conversations! I love Would you Rather questions to spark conversations. I also like to open the discussions up with more thought provoking questions. I make new discussion starters for every month! Check them out HERE.

Directed Drawings:

We do a directed drawing once a month. Sometimes for fun, sometimes for a reminder, sometimes to make a card, but always for fun! My favorite website to find directed drawings is Art for Kids Hub on YouTube!

Looking for more morning ideas? Check out my monthly Project Morning Menus!

Virtual Science NGSS Review Scavenger Hunt

Looking for a fun way to review those NGSS standards for 5th grade? This is one of the ways that I will be reviewing for the standardized tests given in 5th grade. This scavenger hunt is a great way to engage students and bring all that they learned in science back to the forefront of their memories.

I found that I needed to make my review classes a little more exciting! I mean, let’s face it, students are reviewing before standardized tests or the end of the year in every class. I found that students were getting a little tired of the same review methods in every class. Then, I started to utilize scavenger hunts!

First, you can assign the Google Slides™ through Google Classroom™ and you can assign the slides to “make a copy for each student.” The students will be able to work through the scavenger hunt at their own pace. The students will click the “start” which will lead them to the first question.

The students will read the first question and try to recall the answer. Once they have the answer, they will click the “home” light bulb that will lead them back to the 1st page. Then, they find their answer and click the correct answer with their answer to lead them to the next question! The review will touch on topics relating to Matter, Ecosystems, Earth’s Spheres, Space, and more! Optional: the students can type in the letters to the cards in order into the Google Form™ that is included for you to check.

If that sounds too complicated or too digital, there is a printable version too! This is how I liked to do scavenger hunts before I taught virtually. The students answer a question and then search the classroom for the correct answer! This is a fun and interactive way to review and it is included HERE as well.

Looking for more scavenger hunts to review throughout the year? CLICK HERE for the bundle of fun!

Virtual Boot Camp Math Test Prep

I was having a really hard time as a virtual teacher keeping math class interactive in a virtual environment. The students were doing too many worksheets and I wasn’t able to easily check their work. I started using these boot camp Google Forms™ and I can tell you that the engagement in math went up dramatically! The students were having fun and they were learning – win, win!

Here is how they work:

You assign the Google Forms™ to the students which contain all different types of review questions like multi-select, multiple choice, and open-ended questions. After the students work through a few problems, they will click to continue and be prompted to complete a boot camp exercise! It forces the students to take a little break and refocus before moving on to the next set of questions. The Google Forms™ are self-grading so it takes the pressure off of you to grade their questions. I don’t always use them as a graded assessment, sometimes I just like to see what concepts I need to reteach or review before a standardized test.

Here are some ways to use these review stations:

  • Assessment: You can use a single Google Form™ as an assessment of a unit. There are over 20 stations that can be broken up throughout the year!
  • Classroom transformation: – This would make a great classroom transformation! There are printable task cards as well that you can use as stations throughout the classroom. You can set a timer for the students to complete as many problems as they can in a station before the timer goes off. Then you can do some of the boot camp exercises as a whole class in between stations.
  • Homework: At the end of the unit, you can use a single Google Form™ as a homework assignment.
  • Small Group Review: Want to have a little fun with a group that needs a little more reinforcement? Use these as a tool for small group instruction or review.

I can’t wait to get back in the classroom and use this boot camp as a WEEK LONG review at the end of the year! The students will all dress in camouflage and we will get to do some boot camp exercises while we review! Until then, I will just watch them do their exercises and math from across the screen.

Need something for your high flyers or students that work quickly? There is even a station for them! The “Mess Hall” station is filled with puzzles and activities that can be used as a done early activity or even morning work!

Want to try a station out for FREE? Click Here!

Looking for all the stations? Check them out HERE.

Using Would You Rather Questions in Upper Elementary

I love to have would you rather questions on hand at all times! I use them both digitally and I have a stack of task cards printed “just in case.” I can’t tell you how many times there was a lull in class and I had to make up something to do. Can you relate? I quickly learned that having these questions on hand was gold! Plus, I love answering them – win, win! Check out some of the ways that I use them in my classroom.

At the start of the year, I like to use the questions as a get to know you activity. The students take out their white boards, a white board marker, and an eraser and the fun begins! I ask a would you rather question and then have each student make a choice and defend their answer with a sentence on their white board. Then, I may have the students turn and share with a neighbor or call on a few students to share with the class! These questions always spark conversations and get even the quiet students wanting to contribute to the conversation.

My favorite would you rather questions are the funny ones like would you rather sneeze cheese or have chocolate tears. Not as easy to answer as it looks, right? I may display them on the projector to the class during our class meeting and just let the conversation begin! Or use them for the class meeting sharing time. I do like to mix it up with more serious topics but the fun ones are just a way to get the conversation started.

You can also use them as a persuasive writing prompt. You can have them defend their response with 3 unique points in paragraph form or essay form for the older students. It takes a little bit of thinking sometimes to come up with 3 different points and really gets their writer’s brain working! I also love to have these as an optional done early activity as well. The possibilities are endless.

CLICK HERE for the set of 200 Would You Rather questions.

I also include would you rather questions in my monthly discussion starters! Check them out HERE.

How would you use would you rather questions in your classroom?

FREE Virtual Basketball 5th Grade Decimal Review

Ready for some fun this basketball season? Check out this FREE Basketball Decimal Review Scavenger Hunt. The scavenger hunt can be used in print as a way to get the students up and moving around the classroom OR fully digital for all those who are teaching virtually.

Let’s talk about how it works… First, you can assign the Google Slides™ through Google Classroom™ and you can assign the slides to “make a copy for each student.” The students will be able to work through the scavenger hunt at their own pace. The students will click the “start” basketball which will lead them to the first question.

The students will read the first question and use a scrap paper to solve a decimal addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division problem. Once they have the answer, they will click the “home” basketball hoop that will lead them back to the 1st page. Then, they find their answer and click the basketball with their answer to lead them to the next question! They answer all 10 questions if they answer the questions correctly. Optional: the students can type in the letters to the cards in order into the Google Form™ that is included for you to check.

If that sounds too complicated or too digital, there is an in print version too! This is how I liked to do scavenger hunts before I taught virtually. The students answer a question and then search the classroom for the correct answer! This is a fun and interactive way to review and it is included HERE as well.

Are you looking for more scavenger hunts to keep your students engaged? CLICK HERE, all the 5th grade math topics are covered!

Earth’s Sphere Interactions Modeling in Science

Who knew a shoebox and some art supplies would be so much fun!? This Earth’s Sphere Interaction Project is one my students’ favorite projects of the year! I love it because there is no real prep on my part, aligns with the NGSS standards, and the students get to use their creative sides in science. It really appeals to all students!

First, you will want students to get a shoebox in order to display their model. You can choose to have them create a model on paper or another way if you don’t have shoeboxes available. The students also need some sort of art supplies – or anything they can find! This model was made from paint, tissue paper, and cotton balls.

Here are the steps they will complete:

  • Choose an interaction to model. The brainstorming packet gives the students lots of options to choose from like volcanic islands, coral reefs, the water cycle, tornados, and so many more!
  • Do a little research. The packet includes links to videos and websites that could be helpful in the research process.
  • Complete the notetaking packet that helps the students breakdown which of earth’s spheres are interacting and how it occurs.
  • Create a model in a shoebox of the interaction with various art supplies.
  • Define the spheres that are interacting and describe the interaction on the shoebox.

After the project is complete, I have students take a gallery walk around the classroom so they can see and learn about all the different interactions their classmates researched. There is also a rubric included for you to easily grade the projects!

At the end of the year, I always ask the students what they loved about class and what was their favorite project. This project always makes the top 5! Have fun creating with this Earth’s Sphere Interaction Project!

5 Digital Math Center Ideas in Upper Elementary

Are you struggling to find ideas for your digital math stations? Well, look no further! I have a few station ideas that I use in my 5th grade math centers! I love using math workshop in my classroom but I can tell you that it is not always easy to come up with ideas for the students in their stations – especially in a virtual environment! I post these on my Google Classroom and the students are able to move and manipulate the pieces to show their answers. Bonus – I can see what they are working on while they are working!

Below I will show you some of the stations from the Fraction Addition and Subtraction Digital Station and the Order of Operations Digital Station.

Mazes – I like to use mazes as a way to reinforce the standard that I am teaching! The students feel like they aren’t doing “work” and they are still practicing the skill that I taught them. They start the maze at the START and they can cover the correct answers with moveable pieces until they reach the end of the maze! I love that students get a lot of practice on a skill and it is easy to visually check if they got the maze correct.

Matching – I love this station as a quick check-in. The students will take the answer pieces in BOX A and drag them to match the questions they solve in BOX B. This is one of my favorites for a quick assessment because I can very quickly see if they matched the answers up correctly.

Sorting – I like to use sorting activities as a little bit of a challenge. In the sorting activity that is shown above, students will evaluate each expression. All the expressions have an answer of 2, 4, 6, or 8. They will sort the expression to fit under the correct answer. This is great order of operation practice!

Solving – Sometimes, you just want a quick open ended solving practice! Students solve the math problem and then drag the number pieces to represent their answer. I love that this one is open-ended because I like to see if the students understand the material without any “hints.”

Problem Solving – The students use the word problem cards like a deck of cards! Students can solve the first problem and then drag the card to the discard pile to reveal the next word problem. I like this one because they can focus on one word problem at a time without being overwhelmed with all the questions on a paper. The students can type their answers in the table below the questions.

I usually assign a variety of stations at the beginning of a unit. I will then assign the slide that I want them to work on each day. This way, I can avoid having to post assignments everyday for the students and I can still do math workshop digitally!

You can try some of these math stations FREE HERE! If you are looking for a lot of math stations for 5th graders, check out the whole BUNDLE HERE.

Valentine’s Day in an Upper Elementary Classroom

Holidays. They are the worst, am I right? I have a love, hate relationship with holidays in the classroom. I love to see the students having fun but I also love having a plan and knowing what is to come. When the classroom plan is unstructured, it can go downhill and FAST. I am going to share with you some of the activities that I do on Valentine’s Day to keep it fun, keep it meaningful, and keeping it a wee bit structured.

First, I start the day with my February Project Morning Menu. This is a menu where the students can choose their morning work options. Most of the options are related to February or they are seasonal! I include some holiday related games, a field trip section where the students learn about real hearts, holiday drawing options, some holiday writing prompts, and some STEM options too!

Menu Morning work is a great way to start your day! You can make your own menu to fit your classes needs or grab mine HERE.

Next, we do a morning meeting. (P.S. I make my morning meeting a whole class period on this day – so it is a little longer than usual)

  • Greeting – Wave (social distance style) and we go around the circle and say hello to the person next to you.
  • Sharing – Because it is Valentine’s day, we like to share our favorite candy!
  • Activity #1 Would You Rather – I like to come up with fun questions that are holiday related! These questions make a good persuasive writing prompt too!
  • Activity #2 – “Compliment Heart” activity – I will give you the condensed version here. To prepare, I cut out a giant heart out of construction paper for each student. Then, I write a student’s name at the top of each heart. During the meeting, we go around the room and write something we love about each and every person in our class! At the end, each student has all the positive things that other students wrote about them! And… I just made it DIGITAL! Now students can use PowerPoint or Google Slides to leave their classmates a compliment! Check it out HERE!
  • Message – Always remember that you are loved and you have something to offer the world! Keep this as a reminder. ❤
  • BONUS ACTIVITY: I am going to share my latest addition to my Valentine’s List! The “My Heart” activity where students answer questions about things that they love. Once they decide their favorites, they follow the coloring instructions for each section of the heart! Check out mine HERE.

Next up, MATH! How do you make math exciting? Well, who doesn’t love an escape on a holiday?! I use Cupid’s Candy Escape as a fun and interactive activity during math class. It has 4 challenges and 4 codes that they have to decipher! I let them work in partners or small groups and it is always a hit! This escape reviews multiplying and dividing fractions. If you haven’t gotten to multiplying and dividing, try this Valentine Gift Hunt Escape that reviews adding and subtracting fractions.

If you some tips on using escapes in your classroom, CLICK HERE to see my blog post about them!

In writing, we do an acrostic poem with similes and metaphors using the first letters of SHARE THE LOVE. I have the students make them for a family member. For example:

  • Stunning, you stunning are when you walk into a room!
  • Happiness is what I feel when I nibble on the warm homemade chocolate chip cookies you make.
  • A walk in the park is my favorite moments spent with you.
  • Reaching for the stars, you are so motivated and courageous!
  • Even when I am sad, you are always there with a listening ear.
  • Etc.

We also usually have a fun party at the end of the day. I am so lucky to be in a school where the class parent is in charge 🙂 Overall, it is a really fun day. I love that I have a lot of ideas in my back pocket just in case!

Looking for more Valentine’s ideas? CLICK HERE to see my Valentine Bundle of activities that can be use all of February!

Digital Math Escape Activities for Upper Elementary: Quick Tips

What are Digital Math Escapes?

Digital Escape Activities are a great way to review in math! Students are highly engaged to crack the codes and escape. The students are given a scenario in which they have to help someone or something escape a predicament. Students will complete math problems to get a code. They will put together all the codes for that challenge in order to make a word or number that will help them escape.

Why would you use a Digital Math Escape?

These are great review activities for students. There is little to no prep on your part and the students are actively reviewing the concept that you taught! You can post the interactive slides with Google Slides™ or PowerPoint™. Students can work through the experience at their own pace and type in their answers to a self-checking Google Form™.

Tips for the best Digital Math Escape experience:

  • Make sure you are familiar will all the aspects of the digital escape by reading through the teacher materials.
  • Make copies of the slides and forms that are needed in order to post them for your students.
  • Try out the escape for yourself to see what the students will experience.
  • When introducing the escape, read the scenario with a lot of excitement to get the students excited!
  • Sit back and call it a win when the students are engaged and having fun in math class!

When do you use digital escapes in your math block?

  • Review Class Period – when you are reviewing for a chapter test or a standardized test, these come in very handy!
  • Math Workshop Station – you can have students work together on the escapes in a station while other students are reviewing or completing a class assignment.
  • Enrichment Activity – Use this as an enrichment activity for your high flyers!
  • Done Early Activity – You can always leave the escape as an option when they finish the class assignment.

Digital Escape Rooms to try: