Toolkits in Bridges Grades 4 & 5
Although I was born without the gene dedicated to organization, other teachers excel in this area.
Paula Jeppeson, a 5th grade teacher in Portland, Oregon, came to a Getting Started workshop this summer as an introduction to a Bridges pilot. I couldn't help but notice her fabulous toolkits. She purchased plastic storage boxes with locking handles so as to make it less likely for students to spill. The bins can be located during back to school days for as little as $1.88 to $2.50 each. Under the lid she fastened a laminated toolkit content list. On each zippered bag she affixed a numbered label to correspond with the toolkit box number; the labels help students return materials to the correct box.
Paula's toolkits also contain an unusual manipulative: plastic fingers! During a Kim Sutton workshop, Sutton introduced this amusing took for use as a pointer when students share visual models. For example, when students refer to a base ten model of multiplication, explaining the strategy used to find the answer, they don a plastic finger and point to each part of the model.
Cheri Shea, another Portland teacher piloting Bridges, keeps track of stray materials in an efficient manner. When her fourth graders find single centimeter cubes or base ten units on the floor, they deposit them in a cup on the teacher's desk. If students notice that their kits are missing an item, they check the cup.
Shannon Gilmore, math educator from Rosemount, Minnesota, shares a toolkit list for grade 4. She writes, "Some teachers are running it on cardstock and putting one in each toolkit."
Thank you for all your wonderful tips! Do you have ideas for organization? Please comment or send an email to Cynthia. We'd love to feature more great ideas.