Give your students content specific name plates or desktop helpers that are directly related to the topics you are teaching in math. These are 4x10.75 in size. These are different from what already exists, because:
1. I don’t add student names. We move around the classroom all of the time, so while students do have a desk, they don’t sit at it all day. Plus, everyone knows where everyone’s desk is, so I don’t particularly need names on the tags. I like to use that extra space on the desktop helper for different unit specific information.
2. These desktop helpers are for math only. I recognize that many upper elementary teachers are departmentalized, so I wanted to create a set of specialized desktop helpers.
3. These cards are interchangeable. I do not use the same set of cards all year. I find that adding a year’s worth of content to a set of cards is overwhelming to students, so I like to focus on one unit at a time. I place self-adhesive pockets on students’ desks, and I can easily swap out one card for another.
4. When shopping for desktop helpers, I found that many had information that I didn’t want included, because it wasn’t a part of my standards. I don’t mind teaching a bit above the standards, but I do want essential content to accurately reflect my math standards.
Card 1-Includes a number line for addition and subtraction. I’ve found that a number line is my #1 go-to tool for students who need help with addition and subtraction. This number line works for any size number! I’ve also included a hundreds chart to help with rounding. Students can also reference a place value table through the hundred thousands place and see an example of numeral, written, and expanded form.
Card 2-The number line from Card 1 remains on Card 2 for students who still need help with addition and subtraction. This card is what I use when I begin teaching multiplication and division. There is a colorful hundreds chart, as well as examples of different ways to represent multiplication.
Card 3-The only difference between Card 3 and Card 2 is that is shows students how to represent division, rather than multiplication.
Card 4-On this card, there is a multiplication table. There is also an example of a 2-digit by 2-digit area model for multiplication and a 3-digit by 1-digit multiplication problem solved with partial product. I’ve found that students often appreciate having these examples to refer to. The bottom of the card describes the difference between factors and multiples.
Card 5-The difference between Card 4 and Card 5 is that Card 5 shows an example of division with an area model and division with partial quotient.
Card 6-This card includes a colorful fraction table which helps students identify equivalent fractions, as well as compare fractions. There is also a visual model and equation that shows how to generate equivalent fractions. There is a model of adding and subtracting with like denominators and a multiplication problem where a whole number is multiplied by a fraction.
Card 7-This card includes a measurement conversion table for length, capacity, mass, and time. There is also an illustration of Gallon Kingdom, which is my favorite way to teach gallons, pints, quarts, and cups. There is also a model and equation example for finding area and perimeter, with and without displaying square units.
Card 8-Geometry-This card shows examples of different types of lines, including parallel and perpendicular lines. It also includes a quadrilateral flow chart.