Today I’m sharing a list of simple but effective changes I made in my classroom to make my math program more successful. Hopefully they will help you, too!

**THE PROBLEM…**

Does this sound familiar to you?

I’d finish a math lesson, and then before students went off to work, I’d ask if there were any questions. All the little heads would shake no, and everyone seemed happy and confident skipping off to their desks.

**HOWEVER…**

Soon enough, those early finishers would start hovering around, wanting me to check their work and wondering what they should do next. I’d think: How did they finish so quickly? Did I underestimate the time it would take to complete this work?

No, I didn’t. When I DO look at their work, I realize that there are a lot of little errors, and they’ve rushed through it, **leaving ME with a bunch of correcting and scrambling for early finisher work**.

That’s when I realized I’ve spent all this time creating, teaching, and marking something that took them 10 minutes and is filled with careless answers.

**THE SOLUTIONS…**

Students should be self-checking, peer checking, and doing their best possible work BEFORE handing it to me.

I decided my math block needed a complete overhaul. I needed a simple program that included lessons, printable centers and workbooks. But even more, I needed a program that encouraged student to be independent, self-checking and even peer-checking.

You can see my solution below!

**STEP 1: SELF CHECKING PAGE FORMATS**

My first step was to reformat my math pages to **integrate the answers into the page itself. **

This made the pages self-checking because although I wrote the answers on the bottom of the page, but didn’t identify which answers belonged to which question. They had to search for it. However, if their answer was not in the list, they’d better check their answer again. This alone saved a ton of my marking time.

My students were intrigued! “You mean the teacher is **giving us ALL the answers** right there on the page?!” they asked. This seemed just too good to be true!

Yes, the answers are right there – you just have to find them!

**The peer-checking component** was a real game-changer and so popular. Students found a friend who was also finished to check over their work. Students take this very seriously because they are marking work and signing their name, and essentially that means they are PRACTICALLY the teacher (for that few moments, anyway!)

** STEP 2 – DIFFERENTIATION**

I teach a multi-age class, so the next step was to find a way to engage everyone.

I am always aware that my younger students can be easily overwhelmed by too much information on the page. At the same time, my older students need a solid challenge to keep them engaged.

The solution was to make three different version of each task; this made everyone happy and I only had to explain one task. Moreover, I used this same format for many different math skills through the year so I didn’t have to re-create the page – just the content!

** STEP 3: REFERENCE POSTERS **

We generally make anchor charts when introducing new concepts.

We add to them and refer to them through the entire few weeks of study.

They are NOT pretty, and can get a bit messy, but they are AUTHENTIC and created together.

Rather than lose all of that learning, I started turning our anchor charts into quick reference posters I could use each year. These posters are added to our math wall, and we refer back to them throughout the entire year.

**STEP 4: Hands-On MATH CENTERS**

My first and easiest idea was to turn our math reference posters wall into a math center. Students use a pointer and take turns being the “teacher”. They go through each poster and explain to their “students” what the chart is about. So simple, yet, students love it, and what an amazing review of all math concepts! It keeps concepts fresh even months later. I would highly recommend trying this!

The majority of our math time is spent exploring concepts with hands-on math centers.

These are simple tasks involving sorting and matching – easy to print out and store in an envelope. I leave these out all year so students can choose their favorites. We have over 80 different printable centers now!

**PUTTING IT ALL INTO ACTION!**

I hope these ideas inspire you to create some new math ideas for your math lessons!

If you prefer to use the math curriculum that I’ve created for my students, you can purchase the entire year of workbooks and centers. This includes all the lesson plans, math journal topics, partner tasks, printable centers and hundreds of pages of differentiated printable workbook activities!

### Choose the FULL YEAR BUNDLE: **WORKBOOKS AND PRINTABLE CENTERS**

math bundle

**NEED SINGLE POSTERS?**

Looking for individual posters instead? You may like this set of single strategy posters available over at Teachers Pay Teachers. It includes over 20 poster to explain each strategy in more detail, plus compilation posters as well. Click **HERE**. **(See pictured below)**

**BONUS IDEA: Number of the Day**

A great way to warm up each day – pick a new number and think about it! Here’s the blank Number of the Day template we use in our classroom. We use it for a daily warm up, a quick math center with differentiated numbers, and even as homework to do with parents.

I’m happy to share it! You can have it sent to your email inbox by clicking** HERE**!

Pin this freebie for later!

Becky Spence

Can I just say that you’re absolutely brilliant! Love all the ideas shared, especially making the pages self-checking. Thank you for sharing your creativity, with your math activities AND your amazing clip art!!

Pamela Mingo

Hello

Am I able to get your 2 math strategy poster for addition and subtraction.. PLEASE

Thanks

Pam

[email protected]

Whimsy Workshop Teaching

Hi Pamela,

You can find the posters for free near the bottom of this page: https://whimsyworkshopteaching.com/ideas/self-checking-math-ideas/

I hope they are helpful!