I'm done, now what?

Since this is only my second year to incorporate math stations into my math block, I'm constantly revamping and reorganizing so that we make the most of our time.  You really only know what works by trial and error.  And, even though I'm in my ninth year of teaching, I am always changing up the way I do things.  I get "lightbulb" moments (normally while trying to go to sleep or in the middle of a conversation I'm supposed to be paying attention to!) that make me think "why haven't I thought of that yet?!"

Up until this week, when my students finish their math... whether it be independent or math station work, they have either been reading, working on counting to 1,000, or making thoughtful creations playing with pattern blocks.  I knew this time could be utilized better, I just wasn't sure how to fix it.

So, this weekend I did a little shopping at Mardel to get my early math finisher tubs all ready to go.  I love for my students to read any chance they get, but there are so many math skills that need to be refined... so we needed to target those!  AND, it just makes sense to continue practicing MATH during our MATH block!
You can find the buckets HERE, numbers HERE, and Smart Pals HERE

Here's what is inside each early finisher bucket... 
Dominoes HERE

Jumbo Number Magnets HERE

Coin Stamps HERE


Spinners HERE

My recording sheets are not fancy, but you are more than welcome to them!  You can get those for FREE {here}!  I have lots of other ideas for when these get old and boring.  We will use our magnetic coins, number bean bags, a deck of cards, number stamps, and more!  Gotta keep things fresh and updated so my little learners are engaged!

What do you use for early finisher activities?  I'd love to hear below!


Teaching Eternity said...

These look so great! It almost makes me wish I taught math! I do however have some students who struggle with math in their gen.ed. rooms so I will pass these ideas along!

Amanda said...

How is time spent reading wasting time??? You're breaking my little librarian heart...I do like the stations, though.

amy.lemons said...

Amanda... I just think that during our math block we should focus on refining math skills and they can read during their ELA time or any other time throughout the day. They always have opportunities to read independently, but we hardly ever give them time to practice other skills that they so desperately need!!!

Sheri R said...

You are always so generous! I teach 2nd also, and it is only my 2nd year in it. The 18 previous years were upper grades and I am still collecting for this grade.These are perfect- I have the sleeves and all the materials- the worksheets are great! Thank you! Sheri

Amanda Kipfer said...

My fast finishers use your math centers! I use some center/station activities during the math group rotations, but some are their math "dessert" choices. I also rotate through a few math games so they have a choice. Last year, I only used math games, but by the end of the year the kids needed more. So this summer I grouped all of the centers/stations/games that I had by marking period. Now the kids have new choices every nine weeks!

Oh, and I LOVE all of your centers/stations! Thank you for sharing them!

:) Amanda K

Stephanie said...

We just started teaching guided math. They have 3 rotations - teacher time, seat work, and centers, which is a partner game. After they finish their seat work they work on fact practice. They have the option to go on xtramath.org (great website!), use flash cards, or complete dry erase practice cards that I bought from Lakeshore. I really love all of your ideas! I think I'm going to add the Domino Math sheet to their choices.

Sarah Nicole said...

This is a great idea! I have a math library (books all about math) and when my students finish a math activity they can read from there! I also have them practice individual flash cards or they can use the computer/iPads for math practice.

Storie said...

I started math stations and guided math about 2 years ago. I spent the first year creating games and stations that my 2nd graders could complete independently. I made a series of dice games and domino games that my kids love to play over and over all year long.
Stories by Storie

Miss Stetson said...

I have a ton of these protectors in my room from the prior teacher. This is so great! I would have never even considered using the stamps on them to practice counting money. THIS IS PERFECT! I have a few students who always say " I AM DONE" and I must say this is my weakness. ( Making early finisher work). Thank you so much for the great idea.

Kimberly Kneebone said...

I love how you have this set up. I have math tubs for early finishers, but really like yours!!

- Kimberly

Beached Bum Teacher

Erica S said...


I wanted to thank you for your posts on this blog. I was moved from teaching fourth/fifth grade for the past 7 years to second grade this year. I was very nervous and hesitant, that is until I read your blog. I have used many of your ideas and have spread your blog to others. Recently, I posted about your blog on my own, titled Bookworms and Writing Bugs, so that others can know about your great idea. (http://bookwormsandwritingbugs.blogspot.com/) I would love for you to check it out.
Thank you again for your great ideas and passion for teaching!

Erica :)

Cate Donald said...

I love my math rotations. I also started them last year. My students rotate through math journals, math tubs, math technology and teacher time. So math journals is really the only group that sometimes finishes early and I just let them move right into math tubs. I will definitely add these to our math tubs. I give my students a lot of choice over their math tubs - great for early finishes - but it also makes it hard for me to get everyone through everything and I'm looking to tweak that piece of my rotations - these may come in handy with that too! As always, thank you for sharing.

J said...

How reliable is Mardel? I would like to buy the money stamps but I want to make sure they are a credible website before I spend the money. Do they ship fast? Thanks! I love your ideas!

amy.lemons said...

Mardel is awesome! Very credible!

Beautifully Mended said...

Thank you for sharing! I love your blog and the content is amazing!