Math Tubs

Alright ladies {and misters}.  Time for a little Math Tub 101.  I know I’m not the only teacher who implements tubs into her daily routine, so by no means am I the expert.  I get lots of emails asking about how my math tubs are organized and how everything runs, so I thought this little topic deserved it’s own post. 
My math tub time lasts about 30 minutes every day.  Last year, I only had 16 kids {it’s okay, you can totally roll your eyes at my good luck}.  This year, I’ll have a full house {22 babies}, so I know I’ll need to change some things around.
Each week, I had 3 tubs on my math station shelf and then one “tub” was computers…so, 4 rotations for the week.  Fridays were a bit different if it was a full week.  Instead of having another tub, I had my kids revisit the week’s math tubs.  If I noticed my babies having difficulty during their tub time, I would have them revisit that particular challenge :)  I also set out math games on Fridays as well so that they could practice basic skills…addition/subtraction, rote counting, patterns, sorting, etc.  This year, I’ll probably only have “fun Fridays” once a month, so I’ll keep 4 tubs on the math station shelf and then one rotation will be computers.
In my 3 tubs, I’d set up a variety of activities. I always kept one tub that strictly reinforced addition/subtraction, that way they always had an opportunity to practice for mastery.  I’d also have one or two tubs with an activity to reinforce a concept that had been introduced the previous week.  So if I introduced money one week, I’d have one or two money tubs the following week {and for several weeks after that}, that way they never saw a new activity for the first time in independent practice.  The activities are ALWAYS hands-on.  I do like for my kids to show me on paper that they understand the task at hand, so I’ll often include an extension sheet…something for them to do AFTER the hands-on activity.  I also like to use random extension sheets throughout the year as portfolio samples…something to document progress {or lack thereof}. 
On computers, my kids always have a math task.  Sometimes I’ll give them a choice, sometimes I’ll give them a specific activity…just depends on what we’re learning.  The activities they choose {or I assign} come from the following websites…
If you know of any other great math related websites, send them my way…PLEASE!!!
Toward the end of the year {after I got my SmartBoard}, I’d make one of my tubs a SmartBoard activity.  I LOVED IT!!  Talk about easy set-up!  HA!!  And for those activities, I’d just scour the Smart Exchange until I found something I just LOVED!!  Our district also sets up a shared drive where teachers can put their SmartBoard activities and other teachers around the district can use their creations.  Loved that, too!!
I also had 4 groups of 4 last year {hence the 4 day rotation}.  I organized this with a little math chart like this…
mathtubs1
I have a Hollywood theme in my room, so my picture cards here match the picture cards on the math tubs.
I heterogeneously group my kids, so all different ability levels work together.  I group them based on my first couple of weeks of assessment and informal observations {while they’re working on the back to school math tub activities}.  This helps me to see what they can do, where they struggle, and who they should {or shouldn’t} be working with :)
Every Monday, 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 :)
mathtubsmathtubs2
My kids visited Math Tubs Monday-Thursday…Friday was our revisit/fun Friday day.  They only visited 1 tub a day.  I like it that way as opposed to a daily rotation because they really have a good amount of time to practice one specific skill before moving on to something else.  So…if one group visited the “Star” tub on Monday, they’d visit the “Popcorn” tub on Tuesday and so forth.  By Thursday, they’ve had a chance to visit ALL of the tubs for the week.  I liked my Revisit/Fun Fridays because it gave the kids who were absent a chance to catch up!! 
So a typical week might look like this…
Monday – 8:30-9:00 ~ Intro Math Tubs
Monday-Thursday ~ 9:00-9:30 ~ Math Tubs
Friday ~ 9:00-9:30 ~ Revisit Math Tubs;  Math Games & Strategies
MATH TUBS…. (just an idea of what it will look like for me at the beginning of the year)
Computers ~ Shepard Software  {basic number sense activities}
Like I mentioned before, I’ll probably have 5 full days of rotations because my class size is going up to 22.  I have 6 computers in my classroom for the kids to use, so I’ll want to keep my groups small, between 4-5 kids per group.
I often get emails asking where my math tub activities come from.  For the most part, I make them all myself.  I’ve tried to upload as many as I can here on the blog.  Check on the sidebar and click on “Math Tubs” to find downloadable activities you can use in your room.  I also have several Math packets on TpT.  My most recent unit…Ready, Set, Learn!…has 15 hands-on math activities I’ll be using at the beginning of the year this year.  I try to laminate as much as I can so that I can reuse them from year to year.  I also collaborate with my team to see what they’re doing in their tubs and I’ll use some of their activities as well….just depends on the week and the amount of time I have to prepare! 
For my babies that just FLY right through their work and finish things quickly, I ALWAYS have a variety of activities on my big math shelf for them to visit.  I’ll keep a tub of old tub activities {activities they’ve already visited} on the shelf for them to revisit.  LOTS of math games…some of them homemade, some purchased.  And I always have a shelf full of manipulatives for them to use as well.  As the year progresses, I’ll rotate the math shelf activities so that the kids don’t get bored when they’re finished with their tub work.
mathtubs3mathtubs4
I got my numbered buckets at Ikea {gosh dang, I LOVE that place!!!}.  They don’t make/sell them in this style anymore :(  They do have numbered buckets, but they’re square/cube and transparent.  I think you can get a pack of 3 for $7.99…not too shabby.
So…in a nutshell…that’s how I do math tubs.  I hope this was helpful!!  If you have ANY questions, leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to clarify!

In other news, I’m extending my little 20% TpT sale through Saturday.  I swore I’d get my newest unit up before the sale was over, but I was having technical difficulties :)  I figured out that my file was TOO dang big! {Gosh darn}, so I had to make some adjustments and size it down.  Unfortunately, I had to take out some of the activities and first day/first week certificates, but that just means that you guys get them for free!  I’ll be uploading what I couldn’t fit into the packet onto the blog in the next few days. 
Here’s a little sample of the newest addition….
Slide1
Graphics courtesy of Scrappin' Doodles 
It’s 109 pages…75 pages of printable activities.  There are 15 hands-on math activities and 10 hands-on literacy activities.  I also included 3 math assessment sheets & 4 literacy assessment sheets.  You can read the product description for more details if you’re interested.  These are activities that I used in my Kindergarten classroom at the end of the year and they were PERFECT for the beginning of first grade, too!!  Great for reinforcement and practice.  I’d also keep them on my math/literacy shelves throughout the year for the kids to revisit.  And…just so you know…it’s full of LOTS of color which isn’t really wonderful for our printers.  Don’t forget that you can always print any document you have in “grayscale”.  That’s what I started doing when our color printers went kaput…I’d just print grayscale onto bright and colorful cardstock :)  Not as flashy, but it gets the job done!  HA!
I’m giving away 3 of my Ready, Set, Learn! units to the first three people that can correctly guess my favorite kind of school supply for teachers :) 
In the meantime, my 20% off sale is extended through Saturday and you can enter the code B1T1S for an extra 10% off of your purchase :)

89 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. is your fave supply post-it notes?

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  3. Is it Mr. Sketch Smelly Markers???

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  4. I agree with sspeller its Mr. Sketch Smelly Markers.
    Barbara
    meadowt@msn.com

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  5. Mr. Sketch Smelly Markers I hope!!
    sdavis6281@hotmail.com

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  6. I'm going to go with pens as well!

    Cathy I.
    mrsirwinsclass@gmail.com
    Mrs. I's Class

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  7. I am going with flair pens too!
    kwelnicke@hotmail.com

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  9. flair pen?

    arielagutierrez@gmail.com

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  10. Super bright pens and post-its to match your bright and cheery personality!

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  11. colorful baskets? a place for everything!!

    rseeley@cr.k12.ia.us

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  12. Since there's so many fun pen guesses, I'm going to say notebooks?

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  13. Laminating film to cover all your awesome printables.

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  14. And thanks for the great description! We are implementing these this year, but with 6 groups. Can't wait to post all about it! :)

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  15. I think you favorite teacher supply is colorful organizers. Plastic tubs and such!
    By the way, your ideas have been helpful and inspirational. I am more motivated to create more now than I have been in years. Thanks

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  16. I think it is colorful baskets and containers.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  17. I'm going to say Sharpie pens.

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  18. I'm going to guess post-it notes! I sure hope I'm right!! Your new unit looks amazing!!!!!! :)


    Elisabeth
    www.missdelk.blogspot.com

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  19. I have read how much you love your Flair pens.

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  20. Okay, now that I quickly put in the answer (that I am pretty sure of since I remember we both love them) I can say...you read my mind today!!! I have been toying with revamping how my kids play math games and wondering what others do. Oh...and I am not rolling my eyes but I am green with envy over your small class size (even the 22) since I have 30! Thanks for sharing!
    Jenn
    Finally in First

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  21. Thanks for the Math Tubs info. Is your favorite back to school supply Project Popperz markers? I'm heading over to TpT for you Ready, Set Learn unit.

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  22. since smelly markers is already taken, I'm going to go with Sonic Drink! :)

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  23. I'm going to say Sharpies...in all different colors...they are my fave anyway haha.

    Jenna
    fancyinfirst.blogspot.com

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  24. Oops, I meant your Place Value packet. Hoping to win your Ready, Set, Learn one. :-)

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  25. I'm going to guess one of my favorites! I'd say post it notes!!

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  26. Thank you so much for sharing all this information. I definitely want to implement this in my room this year! I am going to guess that your fave is...fun colorful pens! :)

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  27. Thanks for the great math websites! I'm moving back to first from third and I haven't had time to look for great first grade sites yet. Have you used abcya.com? It's one I've used with both grades.

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  28. I say Sharpies...but that is because they are my favorite!

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  29. Project Popperz Markers
    brantcc@bay.k12.fl.us

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  30. Question:
    Do you implement a math curriculum during this math time? We have Harcourt math workbooks we must use so I'm not sure if I would have time to use the tubs effectively. I only have about an hour for math.

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  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  32. Is your favorite school supply sharpies?

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  33. baskets, buckets, etc and colored ink?? :)

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  34. sharpie chart markers!
    Thanks for the math tub post! You are such an amazing teacher!!

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  35. Project Popperz! Love the way they write!!

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  36. Have to say brand new colorful sharpies!

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  37. A hot glue gun? It's my fave! HA!

    Or a sonic drink!

    Ms. Thomas

    The First Grade Jungle

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  38. hmm...I can only guess one?! lol I think it would have to be ink cartridges! :-)

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  39. My kids love this online math activity:

    http://www.oswego.org/ocsd-web/games/DogBone/gamebone.html

    Thank you for all you share!

    mrsmaysplace.blogspot.com

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  40. Sharpie and/or Flair Pens!
    -Rachelle
    whattheteacherwants.blogspot.com

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  41. I am going to guess Stickers. Smelly Stickers are the best!

    Thanks for sharing. I do math centers in a similar fashion. I call them BRITE Spots. Check it out here!

    http://onehappyteacher.blogspot.com/2011/08/math-centers.html

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  42. I am guessing Flair Pens or Mr. Sketch Markers. Who doesn't love writing with new pens or markers?

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  43. I think its notesbooks/ teacher planner!
    -Ms. Simoneaux
    http://firstgradefresh.blogspot.com/

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  44. Darn, I already purchased it!!! :)
    Also, I've sent you an email to Firstgradeparade. Is there another email address where I can reach you or is that the correct one. Got a web design question for you!!

    Thanks!
    Kelly
    Beg, Borrow, Steal
    www.mchaffiek.blogspot.com

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  45. Flair pens!! I LOVE THEM!!
    Great new unit -- you did it again!

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  46. My guess is storage containers! I can't pass them up in the store:)

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  47. Your color printer for printing out all the great things you create :)

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  48. How about IKEA?

    tiamickey12@gmail.com

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  49. i am going to guess that you like math centers and making the games' tubs up.
    laura
    lhardin@lcisd.org

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  50. I remember you saying your number #1 Daily addiction is a large Sonic Coke, but fine tip Sharpies are you first love. Love me some Sharpies too!

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  51. Hi! I just saw those 1, 2, 3 buckets at IKEA on Wednesday. :) Just thought I'd let you know!

    Thanks for sharing your math tub ideas! It's always nice to see how other teachers rotate and organize.

    As for your favorite supply- I'd have to say colorful bins. That's mine anyway!

    -Salina

    www.fineanddandyinfirstgrade.blogspot.com

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  52. I would say new crayons and markers.
    Priscilla
    16keller@gmail.com

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  53. I actually use a similar idea for my math centers but instead of having math tubs I have math trays. I got some lunch trays from the high school cafeteria at our school and have 4 centers per week. I really like your idea for Fridays though. I usually had a large group activity on Fridays, but having a center revisit is a great idea b/c students who were absent can make up that work and students who work at a slower pace can return to a center (especially crafty ones) to finish. Thanks for the new idea!

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  54. I can't wait to see your Ready, Set, Learn! packet. I love the math notebooks that you do with your kids! I can't wait to try them this year! Hope you have a wonderful school year! Welcome to the 22 kid club! :)

    www.adventuresoffirstgrade.blogspot.com

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  55. You have such fantastic tips, tricks, and printables! You definitely help 2nd year teachers such as myself! I'm looking to recreate how I do my math center, so this will definitely be useful. :)

    I had posted on your schedule cards a few days or so ago... I have a request for a couple of other cards and would love to purchase them from you!

    Thanks for everything,
    Renee

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  56. Cute post-its? That's my favorite to receive as a gift, anyhow.

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  57. Sharpie Markers in fun colors?? Okay maybe that is my favorite school supply. I always ask for them for my birthday since it is in the summer. :-)

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  58. I totally bought this from your store and it is AMAZING!! Can't wait to get back to school and use it with my kiddos!! YOU're the bomb!!
    Kerri B
    teacherbitsandbobs.blogspot.com

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  59. were the winners notified yet?

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  60. This post is...AMAZING! Honestly, I have been contemplating how I wanted to do my Math Centers this year (after two not-so-successful years...I'm a 3rd year teacher). In the end, I decided to try a Math Tubs system and there your post pops up on my computer! Thanks!! :) I will definitely be re-posting.

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  61. Have you heard of Hooda Math Games yet? at HoodaMath.com, Check out their featured math games at http://hm.gs/

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  62. I was just hired for my first teaching job in first grade. I can NOT tell you how helpful this post was!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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  63. I am new to 2nd grade. Do you think something like this would work, but on a higher level? Thanks for your input. clark723@gmail.com

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  64. Hi , I just want to share a link talking about math games for kids. Thank you

    http://www.math-worksheets.co.uk/primary-teaching-resources/math-games-for-kids/

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