Focus walls are a common resource in many elementary school classrooms… especially for language arts. But have you considered adding a place for a math focus wall?
Using a math focus wall is a great way for teachers to help their students organize their understandings during math units.
The center of the display is a pocket chart where I put vocabulary words for our current study. Each vocabulary word is accompanied by a picture of the word to help students make connections between our math knowledge and the math in the world around them.
The pocket chart also becomes a place where I can display learning targets (in kid-friendly language of course!) for my students. I teach a first and second grade split class and math is about the only thing that we do separately. Half of the pocket chart holds first grade vocabulary cards and a sentence strip with the unit learning target and the other half is designated for my second graders.
I like the math wall because it allows my students to be successful in accessing thinking tools as they develop a deeper understanding of our math concepts. They like using it because our thinking tools are in a clearly defined, organized space that they can rely on to confirm their thoughts.
Christina Bainbridge is a seven-year teacher who currently teaches a first and second grade split class at Central Elementary in White Pigeon, Michigan. She earned her Master in the Art of Teaching (MAT) from Marygrove College in 2009 and has incorporated her master-level teaching practices into an award-winning website: Mrs. Bainbridge’s Class. Her site is a treasure-trove of tips and advice for educators and parents alike. Also check out Bainbridge’s blog at www.bainbridgeclass.blogspot.com.