Monday Math Linky – How to Differentiate with Math Games!

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Happy Monday!  I am linking up with Jess over at I Heart Recess for Mathematical Monday!  What are you doing in Math this week?  Click here or on the image to head over and link-up!

monday math linky

Before I share the most engaging game I have ever taught my students, let me show you the Math Center area of our room.  I attempt to differentiate everyday…it doesn’t always happen, but I try!

Math Centers Area

Every room in our building has a super loud and super huge vent (the white thing in the picture).  However, they are magnetic!  So, it isn’t a total waste of space!  I pushed my file cabinets up against it to make an even bigger magnetic area (and to hide the ugly things).  I also covered the back of the library shelf in purple paper and hooked up the red file folder wall pocket thingy with 3M hooks (I couldn’t live without these things!).  A few years ago, someone was giving away the two wooden benches!!  SCORE!!  As you can see, I am also in love with plastic drawers!  They are perfect for storing manipulatives, cards, and other math tools.

Put it all together and I have a lovely little Math area – complete with a Math vocabulary wall!  We use Math Expressions and I’ve created my own vocab cards for some of the units.  Click here to visit my TPT store and grab them for free – they are organized by unit in my store!  Here are some snapshots of the vocab cards – if you snag them, leave me some feedback love on TPT!  You may even want to grab my Vocabulary Graphic Organizer!

FREE Math Vocabulary Cards

Academic Vocabulary Graphic Organizer

Everything on the vent in my classroom is magnetic and easily moveable.  I put either magnetic tape or magnetic dots on the back of all my vocab cards.

Since this is Math post, here is an equation for you:


Let me tell you how this all works in a perfect world!  Every student has a magnetic name tag that I move around daily (eh…every other day-ish…).

Math Differentiation

Our Math time is split.  We have the first chunk from 11:45-12:40 and then we come back after lunch for a 20-minute chunk.  This is when we have “Math Centers”.  I usually move their names while they are at lunch.  When they come back, they know where to go.  They are assigned to one of four places.  Many are moved to a game.  I pre-teach all my games (often during Morning Meeting).  Most of the games focus on basic fact fluency or multi-digit addition or subtraction.

Math Differentiation Games

Students that don’t need fact practice and have their adding and subtracting down are assigned to a challenge packet.

Math Differentiation

I keep the challenge packets in that magnetic pocket (see the gold packets near the bottom?).  I put together challenge packets with whatever resources I can find.  I also created Think Tinks!  Theses could be used as a challenge activity – even though they aren’t technically math…they encourage flexible and out-of-the box thinking!

Think Tinks

Click the links below to view all 3 volumes of Think Tinks:

Think Tinks – Starter Pack (pages #1-#6)
Think Tinks – Volume Two (pages #7-12)
Think Tinks – Volume Three (pages #13-18)

Students that need extra support meet in a group with me.  I have spots for 2 groups, but I often only get to 1 in a day (especially in winter when it takes them a bajillion minutes to get their winter gear on and off).

Math Differentiation

Finally, if students need to finish class worksheets or if I want them to continue practice with a certain skill via a worksheet, there name goes under A, B, or C.  These letters coordinate with a slot in the red file folder pocket.  Students know that if their name is under “A”, then they need to complete the worksheet in pocket “A”.

Math Differentiation

What games to I play?  I find lots of games online or I create my own!  Bullseye is a class favorite!  Other favs are Something BigBig Difference, and Skyscraper!  I have a few of them in my TPT store – with more coming soon – follow my blog and TPT store for updates!  Click here to read about how I have students organize and store all their game boards!

Differentiated Math Games

There is one game that is like no other!  Students will be screaming with excitement (literally) as they play.  Let me introduce you to…3-WAY!!!!!!!  This game is super engaging and practices a pretty high level skill – finding unknown factors (or addends).  It can be played addition-style or multiplication-style!  Here are the rules!  Click here to grab a FREE PDF of the rules or to project in your classroom to teach the game!  I plan to introduce this game (multiplication-style) this week!


I hope you enjoy this game!  Click the pic or here to download the directions for FREE!  What are your favorite Math games?

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Comments (3)

  1. I am trying to set things up so that i can implement centers better. I am so in love with your 3-way game. Thanks for such a wonderful idea.

  2. I love your Math Centers Area. I pinned it to the Teachers of Pinterest Math board for all the world to see! :)
    Rockin’ and Lovin’ Learnin’

  3. What a great post! So glad you linked up! Love your Math Center area! Your game is great!

    I {Heart} Recess

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