Math Time {The Breakdown}

Last year, we had our Math block first thing in the morning.  I don’t know about y’all, but I LOVE Math in the morning!  First thing’s first…the kids arrive around 7:55…announcements usually roll about 8:00…and then we’re on to Calendar/Number of the Day/Whole Group Lesson/Math Tubs.  I’m gonna try and break it down for ya as best I can!

Around 8(ish) I bring the kids to my carpet/white board area.  All of our calendar activities are done on the SmartBoard.  Several of y’all asked if I would mind sharing my SmartBoard calendar, but let me be clear…I did NOT create this!!!  I still have NO clue how to create activities in Smart Notebook, so it’s still a work in progress.  I got this calendar activity off the Smart Exchange.  You can find it HERE.

We go through the Calendar relatively quickly…anywhere between 15-30 minutes depending on the time of the year…especially once the kids get the hang of the routine.  I have the kids bring their binders to the carpet…along with a pencil…and they fill in the info as we go…that way EVERYONE has a job to do!  While some kids are helping me with the SmartBoard, the others are writing in their binders. At the beginning of the year, this takes quite a while because we’re still trying to establish a routine and they’re still trying to learn my expectations. As the year progresses, it goes faster and faster!  I just kind of adjust as needed :) 

After Calendar…around 8:30ish {give or take a few minutes}…the kids head back to their desks {where they store their binders} and then we start on the whole group lesson of the day.  I usually try to have a 15-20 minute lesson and then a 10-15 minute reinforcement type activity…maybe a graph, math journaling, extension sheet, etc…just depends on the activity.  Sometimes my kids even use this time to work in small groups based on the objective that was taught.  Whatever I can plan & implement that reinforces the lesson.

On Mondays, I introduce the math tubs for the week during our whole group time.  This really turns out to be a lesson in and of itself.  I typically have 4-5 math tubs {computer included as one of the “tubs”}…enough to last a week.  As I’m introducing the week’s activities, we go through objectives, rules, expectations, and then we role play and practice.  That usually takes a good 30 minutes, but it sets us up for the rest of the week and I rarely have anyone who doesn’t know what to do at their tubs {y’know, except for that one sweetie who just can’t pay attention to save his/her life.  Bless.their.hearts :)}

From about 9-9:30, my babies are independently working at their math tubs and I’m doing a lot of informal observation/conferencing/one-on-one intervention.  I don’t have a math teacher table and y’all…I love it.  The freedom of time really allows me to meet with those babies who desperately need me and it gives me time to make observations I wouldn’t normally be able to otherwise. 

So here’s how the time works out…

8:00-8:30 {give or take a few minutes} – Calendar/Number of the Day {Calendar Companion activities}

8:30-9:00 – Whole Group Lesson & Activity {Mondays…introduce math tubs for the week}

9:00-9:30 – Math Tubs for the kids;  conferencing/informal observations/assessments/one-on-one intervention for me

I’ll be back tomorrow with a detailed explanation of my math tubs and some printables :)


  1. We have done Saxon Math for years and years. Finally we are rid of it and I am wanting to do the number of the day and each of my kids work in Math binders too. I like the idea of everyone being involved instead of just the helper. Could you share what all you have in your math binder and/or what all you do with the number of the day? I have found several examples, but am still working it out in my head. Thanks for your help!!!

  2. Thanks for sharing!Quick (ridiculous) question: what size binders do you use for their math notebooks?

    My kids bring a gazillion folders and I was wondering if I could use one of those for all the tab things and just house their journals separately?

    I'm looking forward to trying the math notebook idea this year- I'm hoping it will keep everyone a little more engaged once calendar time gets kind of routine.

  3. LOVE that you shared about your Math tubs for the week because I have so many hands on Math things but can't usually find the time to get them in. I love the idea of having 5 tubs for the week and having them do one a day. I might just try that next year! Thanks!
    Counting with Coffee

  4. When I taught Gen Ed I used to LOVE Math in the morning. I always thought it was the perfect way to start the day too.

    Ms. M
    Ms.M's Blog
    A Teacher's Plan

  5. Cara you are a God send! I am not kidding! Thank you for sharing all of your great and creative ideas. Sometimes it is just nice to hear what other teachers are doing and you really make us feel welcome. Thanks again!

    Ariela Gutierrez

  6. Thank you, Cara, for touching upon math! It is definitely an area I need to "work on" this coming year and I can't wait to read all about your math tubs. I usually do math centres but they don't work as well as I had hoped. Hopefully math tubs will work better!

    Ѽ Alessia
    Mrs. Albanese’s Kindergarten Class

  7. his year will be our fifth year using math tubs! We decided to try bridges math which got us started back then. FANTASTIC...we have added T-O-N-S more supplement tubs through the years and now math is my favorite time of the day. I am adding a math notebook as well for my smartboard calendar time. I think it will help keep all kids engaged. My team and I love to act out all the crazy ff task things we see kids doing on the rug during calendar. This might just take care of that...also it usually tends to be the time someone walks in to the room! I really appreciate you sharing. Looking forward to more on it from you!
    Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits

  8. OMGoodness!! How I LOVE to teach math, but HATE how its set up!! Ia m sooo taking over this whole process this year!! Thank you so much for always sharing such great ideas!!

    I am off to get your Calendar Activities from TPT! Can't wait!!

    Sarah Hetrick

  9. Thank you so much for posting this! I feel like this schedule reinforcing what I'm doing during math in my classroom which is great! I just really need to add in the calendar component-thanks for making it!

  10. When I found your blog in January last year, I read a little about how you did your math time. I loved the idea of tubs and started them in February. It worked out so well last year. After a week or two I was bragging to my team about how much I liked math and those tubs. Many started doing their math that way as well. We started planning this summer, so we could start tubs in August. I have already created, printed, and laminated tub activities up until December. I actually just blogged about it a few days ago and mentioned that it was your idea. Thanks for motivating me to try something new. I love math time again!
    Just Add Clipart

  11. Thank you so much for all the specific info! I am revamping my math routine and I want to get serious about math tubs and calendar journals. I can't wait until your next post!

  12. Thanks for sharing!
    Just an FYI to anyone that uses the Smart Exchange file: I used it last year it is great BUT "temperature" is misspelled on the weather page.

  13. Love, love, love the binder idea to go with the calendar and math time. We are using math tubs as well as RTI tubs this year. I am training my kids this week (since I teach year round), and I can't wait to see it all in action!


  14. Thanks so much for sharing your morning! Maybe I'll try to do Math in the AM this year.

    Marvelous Multiagers!

  15. Thanks so much for sharing this! I will be attempting to plan my schedule very shortly, and I like seeing how other teachers plan things out.
    A Day in First Grade

  16. I am so glad you shared the schedule too! I really thought I was the only K teacher left spending 30 minutes on calendar!!! Thanks bunches for sharing!!!!
    Sandra :)

  17. I can't wait to read about your math tubs! :o)


    Keeping Up With Katie

  18. Good Evening- Do you write a welcome letter to your new kinders? I read a very cute one but can't remember where I read it at. I would love to send my new kiddos one this year. Thanks Robin