Creating a Math Focus Wall

With all of the learning that happens in your classroom, it’s important that students know everything hanging on the walls has a purpose. That’s why I highly recommend creating a math focus wall in your classroom!

Add Vocabulary Cards to Your Math Focus Wall

Math vocabulary cards are essential to every meaningful focus wall. Reinforce what you’re teaching by introducing the vocabulary and displaying them thoughtfully so that students can refer back to them frequently.

Vocabulary cards to use on your math focus wall.

Because you’ll want to change these out frequently based on what you’re teaching, I suggest hanging up a small pocket chart. This will allow you to easily change the cards throughout the year!

With over 100 math vocabulary words, these cards include words and examples to use for the entire school year. Some teachers cut them out to add them to their anchor charts. Then they print a smaller set to give to students for their math notebooks! There are tons of possibilities for these math vocabulary cards!

Save Space for Anchor Charts

Are you really teaching math if you don’t have a million anchor charts for everything?! But for real, we always need space for anchor charts! While it’s tempting to want to hang up every single anchor chart you make, DON’T DO IT. Your students might get very overwhelmed and perhaps overstimulated if you hang up everything you make.

Instead, create a dedicated space on your math focus wall that’s designed for the anchor chart(s) based on what you’re currently teaching.

It’s okay to leave a big blank space for your anchor charts if you’re creating your math focus wall over the summer! If the blank space is hard for you to look at, hang up an empty sheet of chart paper so you know you have a dedicated space when needed.

Incorporate the Standards for Mathematical Practice

Do you know the 8 mathematical practices to embed in everything math lesson you teach? If not, they’re most likely in your standards document, but they’re actually incredibly important! However, as you might imagine, they were not written in the most kid-friendly language. *Don’t worry, I can help you out with that!

So what do I do? I like to refer to these math practices with my students as the things that mathematicians do every single day!

Student friendly math standards to use on your math focus wall.

Here’s the student-friendly language I use with students. Daily (or weekly) I choose one or two for students to focus on:

  1. Never Give Up: I can make sense of problems and solve them without giving up.
  2. Think About It: I can think about numbers in many ways.
  3. Talk About It: I can explain my thinking and try to understand others.
  4. Model With Math: I can match equations and pictures to real-life math problems.
  5. Use Math Tools: I can use math tools to help me solve problems.
  6. Work Carefully: I can work carefully and check my work.
  7. Use Knowledge: I can use what I know about numbers to solve new problems.
  8. Find Patterns: I can find patterns and shortcuts in problems.

After realizing the posters from my district were way too confusing for my 2nd graders, I created these mathematical practice posters and changed the language to be much more student-friendly!

Set Up Your Math Focus Wall Today!

When you’re ready to create your math focus wall, take a look at my top five favorite resources to help you get started!

*Some resources shared in this post use Amazon affiliate links. This is no extra cost to you, but if you purchase from my link I receive a small commission that helps keep Simply Creative Teaching up and running!*

Collage of five resources to use to create a math focus wall.
  1. 100+ Math Vocabulary Cards for K-2
  2. Small pocket charts for vocabulary
  3. 8 Standards for Math Practice student-friendly posters
  4. Anchor chart paper
  5. Sharpie Flip Chart markers (this last one is a splurge, but they’re the best for making anchor charts!)

I can’t wait to see your math focus walls! Share your picture with me on Instagram and tag me @simplycreativeteaching so I can see it!

You can read more about Classroom Focus Walls in this blog post!

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