If you’re a new teacher, I have an important question for you! How much time do you spend lesson planning each week? Most likely, you are spending several hours researching ideas and planning out your activities. If you have read my New Teacher Survival Guide, you know one of the most important tips I share is find your go-to resources and stick with those. Rather than spending hours searching the internet for ideas, just go straight to your favorite resources. In a previous post, I shared some of the best go-to ELA resources. In this post, I am sharing a few of my favorite go-to math resources!
Free Math Websites
When I started teaching, it was almost impossible to find free math worksheets and games online. Today, the internet is full of free math resources! With so many options available, it can be hard to know which are the best. So, I surveyed hundreds of my teacher friends on social media to find the best free math websites. Here are the top recommended free math resources online.
Of all the online math resources that exist, Prodigy was the number one recommended resource when I surveyed teachers on social media. With Prodigy, students practice math skills as they play games. Best of all, Prodigy automatically adapts to the students’ ability levels. As students play, it gets an idea of what level students are at and adjusts the game accordingly. Prodigy also provides detailed reports for teachers so that you know what math lessons to reteach.
I have been using Study Jams for years and my students have always enjoyed it. Study Jams is created by Scholastic. It provides science and math resources for classrooms. For each math skill, there are several interactives you can use as part of your math guided instruction or centers. Interactives include videos, quizzes, songs, and vocabulary review.
Common Core Sheets
Common Core Sheets is far from fancy, but it provides teachers with the standards-aligned math worksheets we need. There are math worksheets for each Common Core math standard. The website also provides the option to create your own worksheets using the math problems in their database. If you teach in a state that does not use Common Core, you may be thinking this is not for you. I have always taught in a state that does not use Common Core math and have still be able to find plenty of math worksheets to meet the needs of my students.
Achieve the Core
Need help writing your math lesson plans? Achieve the Core is for you! By searching by grade level, you can quickly find Common Core math lesson plans and ideas for hands-on activities. PDF math worksheets and assessments are also available that you can quickly print to help your students review or use for homework. Once again, even if you do not teach in a state that uses Common Core math, you can still find lots of great ideas on this math website.
Paid Math Websites
The math resources listed below each come with a free version and a paid version. The free versions provide limited access to the tools and content, while the paid versions offer much more content and reporting tools. In my opinion, I would not use the paid versions unless your school or district has funds available. While some teaching resources are worth spending your own money on, these are not ones I would recommend, although I do encourage you to use the free content.
With Freckle Math, students begin by taking a math assessment. After the assessment, students begin playing at their level and the program continues to adapt based on the students’ ability levels. With this math program, students play games to review math facts and skills. Students can also complete interactive lessons aligned with math standards. The teacher is regularly sent a progress report to show how each student is doing.
Sumdog is very similar to Freckle Math. Like Freckle Math, students play games and complete interactive lessons that are adapted to their ability levels. Teachers are also sent progress reports.
Math Resources All Teachers Need
There are a few math resources all teachers need that cannot be found online. Some of those resources include interactive notes, parent study guides, and math centers.
Math Interactive Notes
While I believe the best instruction takes place outside of a textbook, I also believe that students need step-by-step instructions they can refer to when working independently. I have created math interactive notes for fourth and fifth grade. Students complete these notes during our guided instruction and store them in a binder. Then, they refer to the notes while working at a math center or while completing homework. Since using math interactive notes, I have fewer students wasting center time because they are
Math Parent Study Guides
If you are new to teaching, be prepared… you will hear the phrase “the way they teach it is different from when I was in school” so many times from parents. To help solve this problem, I started creating math parent study guides for third, fourth, and fifth grade. These math study guides provide parents with step-by-step instructions that show exactly how I am teaching math skills at school. Since using math parent study guides, I have had few parents tell me they are uncertain how to help their children with math and more parents helping their children with math homework. You can learn more about how I use math parent study guides by reading my blog post, Game-Changing Math Resources for Parents.
In many districts, it is expected that teachers use math centers in their classrooms. To be honest, I struggled for years with math centers. With math, many students are at different levels and I found centers needed to be differentiated to work best. Being new to teaching, I did not have the time to create lots of differentiated math centers. I found it was worth the money to purchase pre-made math centers. The money I spent saved me a lot of time and headache. After I had taught for a while and had a little more time, I began creating my own math centers. The centers I created can easily be differentiated to meet the different abilities and needs of students
Planning for math can be time-consuming, but having go-to math resources cuts down on planning time. I recommend finding at least three math resources that you like and trust. Those resources can be digital or print. Then, when you are working on your math lesson plans, go straight to your go-to math resources for inspiration. Don’t waste hours searching for ideas unless your go-to resources are missing what you need. Following this simple tip can save you hours every month!
Are you looking for even more teaching tips and strategies? Be sure to download my FREE New Teacher Survival Guide. The guide outlines 15 proven strategies known to help new teachers have a successful first year. If you are new to teaching, you definitely want to know these time and money-saving strategies!
And, if you are looking for even more tips for new teachers, be sure to check out the New Teachers page on my blog! It has lots of blog posts written just for first-year teachers.