This post originally appeared on the blog Hanging Around in Primary.
It Helps You Spiral Your Curriculum
In math, in particular, we teach units – time, money, patterning, and then we move on to the next unit. When you circle back to those topics, do you find that students have retained those concepts? If your students are like mine, then the answer is “not always.” Have you considered using morning tub tasks to keep revisiting those concepts? The idea is that your morning tubs reflect content that you have already taught or are going to introduce shortly.
By using your morning tubs in this way, you are revisiting concepts to keep them fresh, and you are also able to see what students know about upcoming units by having them try out some activities related to the new topic.
It Gets Students Using Math Manipulatives All the Time – Not Just When You Are Teaching That Unit.
I am guilty of having math manipulatives sitting on my shelves untouched because I was not teaching a unit where it made sense to use them, or I really didn’t think about how to use them. Those manipulatives are not doing a lot of good sitting on a shelf! I got creative and really started to think about how many different ways I could use my manipulatives in different math units. Now my counting bears are a hit for lots of things, not just patterning.
Document Digitally to Save Paper and Marking – The Students Can Do It Themselves!
I am making a conscious effort to reduce the amount of paper I copy for my students. I am trying to be mindful and ask myself if the activity I am printing is a necessity or if is there another way to teach/assess this concept. I have definitely embraced the use of digital portfolios and students taking ownership over documenting their learning. When they are busy at their tub tasks each morning, they are responsible for taking pictures of their learning. None of the tub tasks have a worksheet component. No marking for me! Instead, I log into their portfolios to see their completed work.
Engaged Kids = Happy Kids!
This one is a no-brainer! Students love to play with these manipulatives, so morning tub tasks give them a somewhat more structured way to do this. They are engaged, and it allows me to get the jobs done that I need to do each morning.
It Gives Me Time to Do ALL.THE.THINGS!
The beginning of the day is busy! Parents stop in, students come to me with yard issues, I need to take attendance, check agendas, collect money… Whew! Just writing that reminds me of how crazy each day can be. Starting the day with morning tub tasks means the kids are engaged and I can do all of these things without being needed. It is also the perfect opportunity to check in with kids before the start of the day.
Would you like to give Morning Tub Tasks a try? You can grab a free set of tub tasks for pattern blocks. Click below!
Christina Hermer is a 1st Grade teacher in Ontario, Canada. She has been teaching since 1994 and has had the good fortune to work mostly in first grade. She enjoys creating curriculum resources for learners that are hands-on and engaging, which can be found in her TpT store. Christina loves to share about how she uses those resources and other practical teaching tips on her blog Hanging Around in Primary. You can also follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for lots of teacher tips, tricks, and ideas!