Math Teacher Must Haves

Due to a previously mentioned grant my school received, I basically have free reign for supplies/resources for the math classroom. I obviously have no idea what I need. So here's what I currently have:

Colored Pencils
Electric Pencil Sharpener
Graphing Calculators
Individual white boards
Document Camera
2 Printers (1 is color)
4 Student Computers (that we never use)
Kagan Timer
Student Response System (Clickers)
1 Flip Video Camera

Basically I want supplies that are durable, sustainable, and reusable. But then again, I want to take advantage of the money while we can. Here are the ideas I've found/heard so far.

Classroom Laptops (Don't know how to use them)
Ipads (Have one, not really a fan, rather have laptops)
TI-Inspire and Navigator (scared of these!)
CBL/CBR data collection devices for the TI 83/84 (not sure how to use this)
Deluxe Probability Kit
Geometry Reproducibles (Book)
Folding Shapes: Solids and Nets
Geometric Solids (Are these the same as the above?)
Geoboards (Recommendations? What size do I need?)
Algebra Tiles (Recommendations?)
Easy Smartboard Teaching Templates (Book)

Any other ideas? Professional development is kind of iffy so for now I'm looking more for manipulatives, books, supplies, etc.

What should every math classroom have?


  1. Do you already have white boards with graphs on them? I'd also buy a TON of white board markers. Is there enough money to purchase laptops that students could check out to take home? Perhaps you could create some on-line assessments or extra practice they could work on. My text has on-line stuff students can do at home and then their results are sent to me. You said PD is iffy, can the money pay for subs for release time? Does your school have plenty of extra bulbs for your projector or do you have money to buy them? What about the Math program for SMART board? Our district only bought the basic SMART software for us. I know worksheets aren't always popular, but sometimes you just need some more extra practice. We like the Pizzaz line on my campus.

  2. As an alternative to laptops, iPod Touches: minuses are a small screen and no keyboard, but pluses: cheaper, more durable, plethora of math apps, easier to integrate into classroom use (small size make them easy to pass out and to keep on students' desk for use during class).

    Whatever device, something that allows students to use Wolfram Alpha.

    If teaching Geometry and and you have classroom laptops, Geometer's Sketchpad for each for sure.

  3. My personal favorite manipulative is ZomeTool. It's a building toy that's especially good for talking about solid geometry, golden ratios, and trigonometry.

  4. teamalzen,
    I do have whiteboards with graphs on them and we have money for markers and replacement bulbs. I think we are ordering the Math Tools for the smartboard but I don't know how to use it yet.

    I hadn't thought about ipod touches...but I still don't see how they would be more useful than laptops. I'm thinking about using Word, Excel, GDocs, etc. It just seems easier with laptops although I agree that space-wise they would be more convenient.

    I've never heard of the ZomeTool and looking at the website I'm a little confused as to what it is. Care to explain?

  5. I could not live without my interwrite pad. When I am explaining something, I can record my voice and handwriting as a video and post it on our school's website for absent students. I don't have a SMART board, though, so you might have that capability already.

    Non-technology wise, I would get everything Kagan makes for secondary math . . . I bought several books with a mini-grant last year (although that was before I started reading blogs!) and there are a lot of ideas for review and practice activities.

  6. Mrs. G,
    I haven't heard of the Interwrite pad but sounds like a great idea. I am terrible at make up work for absent students. But, not sure that enough of my students have Internet access to make that a logical choice. I do have a flip cam so maybe I could attempt something like that.

    And I am a fan of Kagan as well, love his timer!

  7. If you're already getting some form of CRS, TI-Navigator/Nspires are a waste of time and money.

    As someone else said above, iPod Touch could replace laptops (and really the iPads as well) on your list.

    Of course, don't forget your standard supplies or the less-obvious list of necessities.

  8. I would suggest a hands on equations set. Not necessarily for your entire class since you are teaching HS but it can be an excellent way to reach students who continue to struggle with solving equations.

  9. I have a Navigator system as well and I am scared of it, but that is because I have the non-wireless old school set up and I have 34 desks.

    The interwrite pads are great, they allow you to write on the wall in real-time while moving free around the class.

    I just received a grant and I purchased dominoes from eNasco for geometry for different shapes (lines, triangles, quadrilaterals, circles, etc...) My kids love them!

  10. Seems like you already have more tech toys than you know what to do with. Perhaps what you need now is to find a good textbook.

  11. First, just want to say thanks for all the positive people who have offered helpful suggestions instead of telling me what I don't need or can't have.

    Mr. D,
    Thanks for the links. I have pretty much everything you listed.

    I'd like to hear how you've used or seen others use the Hands on Equation set.

    T. Banks,
    I'm checking out the dominoes right now and it seems like a fun way to practice and review but also like something I could make on my own.

  12. SmartSLATE - Smart Slate - Smart Slate!
    It is a Bluetooth device that allows you to walk around the room and still write on your SmartBoard.

    I love teaching from behind students! It kinda freaks them out but keeps class hopping. I love to let them use it to write on the board from their seats