Sunday, July 21, 2013

Getting Ready for Math Magic

Please, if you take anything from this post, take this: this is NOT my original idea. I was lucky enough to see Deanna Jump present at the Florida Kindergarten Conference last November, and this is one of the ideas I got from her fantastic Math session. I’m simply going to show you how I plan to implement the idea.

You may be wondering, what the hay is Math Magic? In a nutshell, it’s common core aligned math centers, by a different name. To run math magic in the classroom you need 5 math groups and 5 math centers or tubs.

Each tub gets a letter – m, a, g, i, c; and each of those letters corresponds with the Kindergarten common core strand that the activities inside align to.
m- Measurement & Data
a – Addition & Subtraction (operations & algebraic thinking)
g – Geometry
i – (numbers) In Base Ten
c – Counting & Cardinality

Your five groups go to one center a day, rotating through the five centers throughout the week. This way they are practicing every area of the common core all year long, and not just the one you are currently teaching in your series.I plan to make my groups with varied levels so that higher students can help lower students.

Now here’s where I throw in my two cents. I decided to take Deanna’s idea she shared with us and run with it. Here’s how I’ll be implementing Math Magic in my classroom.

For the tubs themselves, I purchased a 5 drawer organizer in green to match my room. It came from Big Lots and I believe it was around $25. I labeled each drawer with one of the center letters. I plan to put all the materials for each center into the basket so each group can simply take the whole drawer to a table.
 Photo: Math tub storage ready to go!
Next, I made a clip chart with the 5 rotations. I’ll use a clothespin with each groups symbol on it clipped to the chart so groups know which center they are going to that day. Clips will move up one spot each day. I plan to hang mini posters on the wall with the groups symbol and their names and/or picture so the kids remember which group they are in.
 Photo: Finally done!!! They're not perfect, but they're perfect for me!
You can get a math magic (and daily 5 too) clip chart, group icons, group mini posters, and tub labels for free on my facebook fan page:
Make sure you are a fan, then up at the top click on fan freebie! It is under there along with some other freebies.
 Photo: psssttt... there's a new fan freebie up!

Now, you might be wondering what is going to go into each tub! Here are some of my ideas, including some resources from TPT that are on my wishlist! (click on any picture to go to the resource's page on TPT)

M – Measurement & Data:
Many of my themed center packs have measurement games in them that I’ll be pulling throughout the year. However, for the beginning of the year I think I will make a nice, easy center where the students can build cube trains to represent the letters in their names and compare them to their groups.

Kim Adsit also has some wonderful Measurement game packs.

A – Addition & Subtraction:
Besides games from my themed center packs I plan to use some of these games:

Flip 5/Flip 10 from Growing Kinders

Funtastic Ten Frames from Sarah Cooley – It has a great activity where students spill red and yellow counters and count how many of each to make combinations of Ten.

G – Geometry:
I plan to start the year with Geoboards and these cute shape cards from First Grade Blue Skies. Students make the shape on the card, then record it.

I – In Base Ten:
I  love this fun (and free!) match up game from Ashley Hughes. I would only start with numbers 1-20:

C – Counting and Cardinality:
Deanna’s Math Magic Games pack has lots of fun games for this strand!

I’d love to know what you are thinking! How are you implementing math centers this year? Do you have any favorite math resources that are common core aligned? Drop me a note and let me know!


  1. I am in LOVE with your idea! I tried using math rotations in the spring and it worked pretty well, but this looks fantastic. I wish I could have seen Deanna Jump too! Thank you for sharing your Fan Freebies. Can't wait to get this organized. I love using DeeDee Wills Math Centers!


  2. I was at same conference in Nov and I had a similar idea 95 areas for math centers). I started color coding all my thematic math games/centers (bought on TPT) with a diff color for each strand (easy for me). As I pull each theme, I will have some items to go in each area all ready to go.
    PS - I have Kims' measurement pack - its great!

  3. Thank you for sharing- I've been trying to come up with a way to start math rotations and I believe this is my favorite! Love that you added links for work as well :)

  4. I do something similar to this that I also saw on the internet sevral years ago. Mine is called BUILD, BBuddy Games, UUsing manipulatives, I-Independent,L-Learn with the Teacher, D- Doing math things. I like the idea of having all materials in the drawer and kids taking the drawer to their table. I also like that you have all math skills going on, evn though the math unit may have a soul concentration.