Math Essentials for Every Primary Classroom

When I was in undergrad, I was soooo nervous about teaching math. My
oh my, how that’s changed. I would teach primary math all day if I could now. I
absolutely LOVE it. There are a handful of tools that I’ve found super
helpful when teaching math, so today I thought I’d share with you a few of my favorite

Throughout this post you will find links to these math tools in my Amazon storefront. I earn a small commission from each purchase that helps keep Simply Creative Teaching up and running!

#1 – Magnetic Base Ten Pieces from Learning

Before I had these magnetic base ten pieces (Amazon affiliate link), I
used to hot glue magnets to the back of my foam base ten blocks and it was a
disaster. The day I got these it was like Christmas! I’ve used them a few
different ways. One year, my calendar area was housed on a dry erase board, so
I used these for counting the number of days in school during calendar time.

– Number Line, Tens Frames, and Hundreds
Chart Dry Erase Boards

I never knew I was missing out until I got these
dry erase boards from Education by Oriental Trading. Each board is two-sided,
and the part I love the most is the number line! I’ve tried to have my students
draw their own number lines on blank dry erase boards and it’s very difficult for them. They make them so tiny and then the fat dry erase markers make it hard to
read. That’s why these dry erase boards are the PERFECT size for my little learners. If you don’t
want to splurge on the dry erase boards, you could always make your own math with tens frames and just slide them in sheet protectors to make them dry erase!

– Math Apps from The Math Learning Center
This year my district adopted Bridges as our math curriculum, and I really love it. When I was at a PD over the summer, they shared with us all of the free apps they have. You all… OH MY WORD. They’re amazing! I wish I would’ve known these existed even for the years when we weren’t using Bridges! 
We practiced number combinations to 10 with the Number Rack app! We also earned stickers for hard work!

#4 Dice, Dice, and even more DICE!

I have to confess… I am dice obsessed! These dice from Amazon (affiliate link) are awesome because you get a 100 pack of dice!  I feel like you can NEVER have too many dice! There are so many great ways to use them because they are the perfect tool for differentiation. Students can use the double dice and triple dice to roll and make numbers. One of my favorite games is Rock & Roll Place Value, where students roll two or three dice, make the largest number possible, and compare them. You find the free directions to the game here.
This is only one of my dice organizers… The obsession is real!
#5 Math Talk Sentence Starters
Obviously this is not a tangible manipulative or math tool; however, teaching your students to have productive conversations about math is essential! Our students can learn SO much from listening to and learning from their peers. During math number talks, when a student shares a strategy for solving a problem, I’ll call on another student to repeat that strategy. Then they must ask the initial student who shared, “Is that how you solved it?” This practice helps remind students to listen and learn from how their classmates are solving problems. After modeling and practicing frequently during whole group, I pair up students to solve a few problems and teach each other how they solved the problems.

Click on the image above to grab a free copy!

If you haven’t read the book Number Talks by Sherry Parrish (Amazon affiliate link), you must add it to your list. You will learn so much about different strategies students can use to solve math problems mentally and fluently. Here are some sentence starters I use in my classroom to help foster math conversations. You can get a copy for yourself by clicking the image.

Display this free poster to help your students talk about math!

While these are only some of my favorite math essentials, there are so many more amazing tools out there. Share YOUR must-have math tools in the comments below!

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