Working with a small group of Tier 2 students can be so effective — when I can focus on the students in front of me. That didn’t always happen for me with 17 or 18 other 2nd graders in the room. That is, before I began using Math Tubs for the Tier 1 (on level) students to keep them engaged and productive while I work with a few that need extra time to be successful.
My schedule includes 30 minutes a day of tiered math instruction as part of our district's RTI initiative. Math tubs have proven to be a win-win for my class. My students love them, and once I have them assembled, they become the easiest part of my day.
Currently, I have nine tubs, each organized by a different Common Core State Math Standard that my students need to master. The tubs are designed for one to four students at a time to use for a variety of activities for the purpose of differentiation. My students usually work in predetermined pairs to keep the noise to a minimum.
4. Place Value
7. Number Sense
8. Data and Probability
9. Math Library
Matching students according to math level and personality can be a little tricky. I leave the partners together for at least nine weeks at a time. They learn to work together and help each other.
Sometimes partners work together and other times they choose to work on different activities sitting side by side.
I allow pairs to find their own spot in the room because it works well in my classroom. The only tub that has a specific location is the data and probability tub. It is stationed near the math board where the estimation jars and student data are located. Assign locations if necessary.
There are two rules during Math Tub work. Students must stay at their spot with their partner and must keep working on something from the tub until the time is up.
When students are working with games and manipulatives, something is bound to get lost. I keep a box of extra coins, dice, markers, and anything else they might need.
Before they put their tubs away, they spend a minute organizing and replacing missing pieces for the next group.