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April 6, 2021

5 I Love: Essential Math Tools for the Overwhelmed

trainwreck Your week doesn’t have to be like this.

Soon, we will roll out what was easily my favorite TchAUSL contest last year, the 5 I Love. For our Tch Talk blog this week, I want to share the love a little early with my list of 5 tools for you, the overwhelmed teacher.

Everyday Mathematics Virtual Learning Community

This VLC is maintained by the University of Chicago, the developers of the Everyday Mathematics curriculum. It’s free to sign up and once you’re in, you’ll find just about any resource you’ll need to be an EM Rock Star. The VLC has over 30,000 members who have shared videos of their EM practice, planning tools, manipulatives, student work examples and so much more. It’s all well organized around Common Core Standards and Standards of Mathematical Practice and includes tons of resources for English Language Learners. You can learn more about signing up here.


I have talked with a lot of math teachers around the network who swear by the planning resources on EngageNY which includes assessmentsvideo guides about teaching for the Core Standards and even curriculum modules that you can adopt and adapt for classrooms pre-K to pre-calc. It’s just crazy how much there is to offer on the site. It really is

National Library of Math Manipulatives

How many times mid-lesson have you thought, “I KNOW THE PERFECT VISUAL TOOL FOR THIS!” You may be organized and have these tools good to go, but that’s not me. If it’s not you either, you should bookmark this library from Utah State University offering dozens of virtual tools such as base ten blocks and tessellations organized by grade band and topic. Mac users will probably need to update Java since it’s used all over the site.

vdwElementary and Middle School Mathematics: Teaching Developmentally by John Van de Walle

If you clicked that link and saw the price, you’re probably laughing hysterically right now (much like my NLU students who were required to buy it). That is a lot of money, and it’s worth every single cent because no other book breaks down teaching K-8 math as well as Teaching Developmentally. It’s essentially a strategy machine. You’ll find strategies for English Language Learners, Exceptional Needs Learners, sound advice on using math tools and lots of examples of student work. To save you a little money, I have a used previous edition I’m offering to the first commenter to share at least one math resource you can’t live without in the space below.


This freemium site is fairly new so its lesson library is still a little small. But if you teach middle or high school math, I recommend taking a look at their free lessons such as this investigation of political speeches. All of Mathalicious’ lessons are aligned to the Core, include audio and/or video and help connect math content to the world and offer plans and assessments aligned to CCSS. If you want to join, it’s 10 bucks a month and you’ll have access to (as of January 2015) 108 lessons. What are the resources that you go back to time and again to plan and teach math?


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