Books We Are Reading In Class

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Explain Your Thinking With Math Stations and the Explain Everything App

Math in my classroom may look a little different in my room than other classrooms.  At first Glance, it looks a bit chaotic and messy.  You may not see me at first glance, I might be playing a math game with a student, or working with a small group on the carpet,  or going over the math concept that we are currently working on with a group that needs a little extra help at the guided reading table.

I teach 75 minutes of math everyday.   My grade 2 students start with 10 minutes of an App called FlowPlus to practice their addition and subtraction facts.  They write their score on the back page of their math book each day and try to beat their score from the previous day.

I then teach a mini lesson to the whole group on the carpet.  We then do some sort of activity to reinforce the concept.  This might be on the iPads, using white boards and manipulatives,  a game, a partner activity or a worksheet.  I usually work with a group that is having difficulty with the concept at this time.

When students are finished the activity they go to a math station.  Students are partnered up with the same student each day and usually do one station that is preassigned.  All of the math stations are concepts that have already been taught in class.  The math stations reinforce the skills the students already have.

When creating a math station, I want students to be accountable, however I don't want copious amounts of paper to look at.  I also work with students to assess their knowledge of the math concepts during math stations and use this one on one or small group time to get a clearer picture of where they are and what they need assistance with.

We are working very hard this year to make our thinking visible and to talk more about our math
strategies and how we arrive at an answer.  This has led me to create many stations that incorporate the Explain Everything App.  Students use this app to explain and show their thinking.

Here are a few new math stations I have created and a few old favorites.  Feel free to download them and use them in your class if you wish.  On a side note, my students upload their Explain Everything's to their blogs. Having an authentic audience and getting feedback from others is a big engagement piece for my students.  They also like tweeting our their EE creations to our class Twitter feed.  This can be done easily with Explain Everything.

Measurement Math Challenge

Download Here

Fact Family Math Challenge

Download Here

Double Digit Dice Challenge

Download Here

Word Problem Challenge

Download Here

Area Math Challenge

Download Here

One last tidbit to think about, if you have a great student example, upload the example to your Youtube channel, create a QR code that links to the completed explain everything and attach the QR code to the back of the task card.  If your students have questions or want to check their work before submitting they can scan and watch the video.


  1. Love the idea of math centers - these are great! I bet the students do great things with the Explain Everything app! I also love that you do 75 minutes of math a day! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you from a student teacher looking for productive ways to integrate technology into the classroom.

  3. Awesome ideas!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  4. I am part of a team of teachers in Virginia creating an iTunes U course to support teachers as they integrate technology into their instruction. My current assignment is the Algebra strand for K-5 students. I am so impressed with the kinds of things you are doing with your students and would like to use a couple of your postings as models for appropriate, creative, and effective uses of technology with young students. I'm sending you a link so you may see what I'm posting and assure you that you are fully credited for your work. I would hope some teachers would decide to subscribe to your blog as a side benefit! Here is a link to the pdf that I would like to post in our course. Please let me know if this meets with your approval.

    BTW this is the intro to the blogs:
    For new teachers or teachers wanting to explore better ways to teach patterns to young students, the document “Technology Enhanced Lessons” (PDF) contains excerpts from the blogs of several innovative elementary teachers explaining how they use a few content creation apps on iPads to increase engagement, understanding, accountability and collaboration of their students. The examples all focus on patterns and explain how the students use the apps. The example teaching strategies can be used with other apps on other platforms.

  5. Hi Laura, I would be happy to let you use my content, however I could not open your link because it said that I don't have approval to see it. If you could approve me and send the info to my email I would appreciate it.