Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Daily 5 Math & a FREEBIE!

After jumping head first into Daily 5 for my literacy time at the start of school, I decided I would take the plunge with math as well. Using Daily 5 for my reading and writing time has had it's kinks, but has been the very best thing I could have done to create a classroom culture grounded in literacy and reading.

Until I starting using the Daily 5 structure for my math time about two weeks, my math block went a little like this...I would teach a WHOLE GROUP LESSON or activity for about 20-25 minutes. Then students would all complete the same worksheet or activity at the same time and when they were finished they would go to either me or my assistant and have their work checked. If they needed to correct any, they would go do so. If they got them all correct, they would go do an early finisher activity that was not necessarily related to the concept being practiced at the moment. If you're not cringing yet, let me give you a visual. I would sit at my horseshoe table and have 17 kids lined up, wrapped around, leaning on my table, chatting with the person in line behind them while I tried to work with the one kid who needs my undivided attention so they can just understand how to do a math problem. Got it? Okay, now you see why my math time HAD TO CHANGE.

I had previously heard a little about Daily 5 Math from reading on the Sisters' Daily Cafe website, as well as on a few blogs here and there. However, just like getting rid of my desk, when I set my mind to something.. I am going to do it right then and there's no stopping me. There was no time for stamina building, no time for training to play games... we just had to get down to business. After all, my kids deserve a solid math block where they are receiving the most engaging and relevant instruction that I can provide. Don't all kids? So what do I do, but jump in head first to Daily 5 Math.. and I'm not looking back.

There is no book about Daily 5 math (yet -- but I hope there will be one soon) and there is not much out there resource-wise for how this looks. However, it is easy to convert your math time into this structure with a little bit of planning and organization. So here's a little about what this looks like in my classroom. To read about another way to set up your math block for Daily 5 Math, check out my teaching bestie's blog, Teaching Miss Lackey. She is a 3rd grade teacher who just recently starting using Daily 5 Math. We took the plunge together and even though some of our ideas are the same, we have adapted it to our own classrooms to create what works for our sweet kiddos! 

I use the schedule above most days, unless I am introducing a brand new unit. In that case, I would take one day to teach a whole class lesson and have everyone practice independently. I like to make sure students have a basic understanding of the concept before turning them loose to practice it. 

For the rotations, students are engaged in math activities very similar to the Daily 5 Reading in language..The variety of math activities has kept my students engaged and excited about math time and it has kept me sane.. it's a win/win situation!

I made a Smartboard file because we already use a pocket chart for Daily 5 Literacy (and quite honestly, wall space is just hard to come by in my room these days). I allow my students to make their own choices for literacy rotations, but for math I decided to start out making their choices for them! With only two rotations and flexible math groups I needed to have a little more "teacher control" over what my kiddos were doing during the rest of our math time. So each morning (or during my planning time), I quickly put in their rotations for the day. Within the week, each student will complete math by myself every day and math technology, writing about math and math with someone once. Here's a snapshot of the Smartboard that I put up each day during math. 

Materials are organized each week for easy student access..
*I forgot to get my Math with Someone (partner math) in the picture.. However, these activities have found a home in the 3rd drawer in the clear plastic drawer set. I keep them in gallon Ziploc bags and kids just grab 'em and go!

Daily 5 Math Rotations in action...
Math by Myself is not pictured.. However, this is the time I use for all students to practice the same skill. If you use a textbook or math program, this is the time you would insert your worksheet for students to get some written practice in!

Math Technology can be on the computer or the Ipads. Students play math games that practice the skill we are working on. I have games linked to my classroom webpage for students to access. Technology Rocks has the BEST resources for math games!
My students love Math with Someone, of course. I generally have them play a game to practice the concept we are learning.. something hands on that doesn't require them to record any information!

This is my weakest area as I need to come up with more math journaling prompts that require my students to give me answers of substance.. not one word. Working on this... any and all TpT product suggestions are appreciated! I'm thinking Common Core with this one...
Math groups are my favorite part of Daily 5 Math. My assistant and I get to work with students in small groups that meet their individual needs. My math groups change from day to day/ After checking their daily work and homework, I place them in small groups.. I generally have one or two groups of students who need help with specific things, as well as a one group of students that are getting enrichment on the whole class concept being taught.Because I have flexible, fluid groups that change almost daily, students are able to receive instruction that is targeted exactly toward their area of need. I do have an "enrichment" math group that I changes with each new math unit to challenge my high flyers.

Grab the FREEBIE below to help you plan and organize Daily 5 Math in your classroom! I use it as a quick sketch of what my week looks like for math time! It helps keep me on track and is a good overview of all the activities students will complete within the week. Click on the pictures below to download the freebies!

Any other Daily 5 Math teachers out there? I would love to hear about what it looks like in your classroom!


  1. Marilyn Burns has a book for writing about math which I purchased a few months ago but have been so busy with student teaching that I haven't gotten to read it. Her work is usually amazing though. It is an older book so might not be aligned with common core but I'm sure there are ideas you can use in it.

    1. I was actually going to suggest Marilyn Burns. She has great writing ideas.

  2. Wow! What a great blog! I'm your newest follower. :)

    Mrs. Heeren's Happenings

  3. I don't use a Math rotation, but it seems like you are doing a great job! How often are you teaching the whole group when you have something new? For example, when I think about the recent lessons I've taught in Math, it looks like this: Congruent figures one day, then we moved on to translations one day, rotations the next, and then reflections, etc. Would you teach all of those in a whole group and then give time for rotations?

  4. I absolutely love your blog! Have been following it and your last blog for a while.

    I mentioned your blog in my latest blog post http://pinktriangularapples.blogspot.ca/2013/03/pintrest-and-teaching-blog-obsession.html

    Hope you don't mind! I just really love reading about all the new projects you are doing with your class and I especially loved reading about how you created and decorated your first class room :)


  5. What a great post, Ashley! I've been thinking of taking the plunge to full rotations for awhile. This is yet another reminder that I should JUST DO IT!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Across the Hall in 2nd Grade

  6. I have been wanting to change up my math time all year! It's ok, but definitely not as engaging as I would want. I'm thinking that next year I might try out Daily 5 Math!

    Ms. Cranfill's Class

  7. If anyone ever thought teaching was easy, they should read this blog entry to get just a tiny glimpse of the planning, prepping, organizing, energy, creativity, and thought that goes into just teaching one subject alone! When I was a first year teacher, I don't think I was this together. Way to go!

  8. This is a great post, Ashley! I have been wanting to convert to math stations for a long time. Thanks for taking the time to explain how it works in your room!!

    EduKate and Inspire

  9. Ashley, check out http://www.k-5mathteachingresources.com. In addition to having loads of free quality activities, games, and ways to practice different math concepts (which are all linked to common core standards) in their store they sell a downloadable Grade 2 journal which would be perfect for your Writing choice. I purchased it for $9.99 this year and they are well worth the price. There are 90 tasks to do during the year and it is set up with the same problem printed on 30 labels so the kids can grab one and place it in their math notebook to solve. Each requires kids to explain their thinking. Thanks for sharing about your Daily 5 Math. I've been thinking about how to include different rotations with my class.

  10. I love your blog! We jumped in about a month ago with d5 math and we LOVE it! Thanks for the freebies! I was looking for some organization pieces, but there isn't much out there! Thank you thank you!

    For math writing we have started with writing word problems: http://loryevanspage.blogspot.com/2011/06/math-work-stations-chapter-5.html

    It is all organized already!( based off of debbie diller.
    The kids love it, they get 2-3 done in a 20 minutes. Thanks again for your posts! It is good to know we aren't the only ones muddling through:)

  11. and how did you create your sign in board? I love it!


  12. Thank you! HUGE help for getting started!!!

  13. I'd like to thank you for the efforts you've put in writing
    this site. I really hope to view the same high-grade content from you later on as well.
    In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my very own blog now ;)

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  14. I love this idea. Even though we only have a few weeks of school left I am going to try it. It will be a good chance to review what we've learned and help students with weaknesses. This way I can try it out before next year. One question: What do they write on their record sheet. Do you have them check off that they completed each station or write what they did?

  15. I've been doing Daily 5 Math . . . sortof this year . . . I can't wait for the book either. This post just helped me out in ALL sorts of ways. Seriously. I love your freebies, I can see how I would use both of them. I totally identified with you when you said you have 17 kids lined up trying to help just ONE solve a problem, this is what I do when I teach writing. I"m so glad I came across this post, I'm pinning it! :)

    Second Grade Math Maniac

  16. I do Daily 5 in Math everyday! I love it! I start with a whole lesson, and then I do quick checks to see which students are not getting the concept taught, and I put them in a temporary group. Then I set them free to do start their rotation. I put a high, medium, and low reader in each group. There are 8 stations and they usually do at least 2 a day, and when we get through a rotation, we share about our stations. Each station allows students to work on a either a skill we are working on, one common core category, basic math skills, higher order thinking, literature, and a math listening station. If we don't do Math stations every day, they get some upset! I love how it works and I am excited to start Daily 5 for reading this year!! I would love to share ideas! mhazelrigg@dps61.org

  17. How did you figure out a rotation for your students? Is there a quick way to do this?

  18. Your blog is so inspiring. I love the pictures you took to show how you organize your materials. Question - Math by Myself - How do you organize to differentiate learning to meet the various needs in your classroom?

  19. What a great amount of information! Our whole building took the Daily 5 literacy plunge last year and, since Colorado just recently adopted the Core, Ive been searching for someone who is using them in tandem. Im a very visual learner myself and your step-by-step guide to implementation is just what I have been looking for. Im following your lead and taking the D5 for math plunge! Congratulations!

  20. Your math block is exactly the same as mine! Just one quick question: Do you meet with each student in a small group each day?

    Thanks so much for your wonderful ideas! :)

  21. I can't tell you how excited I got when I saw this post! This is my first year using CAFE and Daily 5 and this idea is so awesome! I am excited to see how it turns out!

  22. I like you had 17+ students lined up at my table as they finished and I have to say I jumped on the daily 5 math bandwagon halfway through the year as well. It was definitely a work in progress and I love your ideas that you posted here in your blog. Looking forward to starting the year with daily 5 math this year as opposed to in the middle of the school year.

  23. Hi! Amazing blog! I am starting Daily 5 Math this year as it has worked out so well for our language arts. Thank you for the freebies and I look forward to following your blog and all of your new ideas! One question: Do you have a template for the Smartboard rotation available?
    Thank you!!

  24. Hi, great blog! Lots of great ideas in this post, which I hope to use this year. Thanks!

  25. Hi! Your blog is so helpful! A couple girls in my hall are going to try this out this fall.. do you have a list of math websites (math technology) you use with your kiddos that you'd be willing to share?

  26. I use 50 Leveled Math Problems. They have a books by grade leveled that have tiered assignments by standard. The students glue the problems into their notebooks and solve them. Also, Marilyn Burns has a great book on math journals that discuss the four different types of writing prompts you can do for math journals---diary entries, solving word problems, how-to's, and explaining mathematics through creative writing.

  27. Thank you so much for this blog! It is exactly what I was looking for and is going to help my students so much! Thank you!

  28. I just saw this post and you have really helped me out! I'm trying to put together something like this...but for kindergarten (which is a challenge itself ;) Are you doing it this year? How's it working if you are? I'm your newest blog follower....thank you!

    Stephanie Ann
    Sparkling in Kindergarten

  29. Anyway that you'd be willing to share you're smart board layout for math rotations? I love that you use their pictures!

  30. Wow! I just stumbled on this blog for the first time, but I'm definitely bookmarking!! This post will help me get D5 math going. I've been rolling it around in my head for awhile, but you're right - you gotta just do it!! Thanks a million for the organization ideas! I am thinking of doing the following 5 centers:
    1 - Individual Practice (on current skill)
    2 - Math Facts
    3 - Story Problems (in journal)
    4 - Math with a Friend (games)
    5 - Math Technology (on computer)

  31. Do you use Exit slips for your math time? I have heard a lot about them in conferences and things of that sort but I am not certain how to use them and I was curious if you used them in conjunction with your Daily 5 Math.

  32. I saw your note about journal prompts. I found this site and it is amazing! You can buy any grade level and all the prompts match up to common core standards. http://www.k-5mathteachingresources.com/ They are all opened ended and would be great for your daily 5 math!

  33. Another idea for "Writing about Math" is to have students write about whatever important vocabulary word(s) they need to know for the unit you are teaching. The students write the vocabulary word in the middle of the paper & then divide the paper into 4 sections. One section is labeled "Definition" where students write the actual definition and they write the definition in their own words (this is an important step that will help students remember what the word means). The second section is labeled "Looks Like" where students write or draw what the word looks like to them. The third section is labeled "Examples" where students write or draw some examples of the word. The fourth section is labeled "Non-examples."

    For the vocabulary word "mean" students could draw a mean face as a non-example. For an example, they could show the steps to find the mean.

    If you want more ideas and information on vocabulary work, look for the book "Building Academic Vocabulary Teacher's Manual" by Robert J. Marzano & Debra J. Pickering.


Thanks for all of the sweet notes and words of advice! I really do appreciate them!