Why Secret pIcture Tiles are a Staple in the Math Classroom

December 4, 2021 3 Comments

Independent math work can [sometimes] be boring. You want your students to practice a math concept, but they are begging to do something a little more “fun.” When this happens in my classroom, I break out my secret weapon – Secret Picture Tiles.

What are secret picture tiles?

Ah, I am SO glad that you asked! Secret Picture Tiles are one of my FAVORITE products in my store. In each pack, there are 3 different pictures, depending on the holiday/season. For each picture, students solve 12 questions based on the math topic for the resource. On the right side of the paper, there is a jumbled picture with solutions on each square. As students solve each problem, they will match the solution tile to the problem tile and glue the pieces together to create a picture.

What are Secret pIcture Tiles used for?

Secret Picture Tiles are PERFECT for:

  • Centers
  • Early Finishers
  • Extra Practice
  • Homework
  • Independent Work
  • Morning Work
How Do I Introduce Secret pIcture Tiles to my students?

Typically, when I first introduce Secret Picture Tiles to my classes at the beginning of the school year, we complete one together. I find that once we do that, the students are already in a routine for these activities and they can just run with it and complete it on their own. As I said earlier, there are two sides to the Secret Picture Tiles paper – the left side is the problem side (with some space for solving) and the right side is the solution tiles that have a jumbled picture.

FIRST, I have my students solve all the problems on the left-hand side of the paper. If I find that students need more room, I always have the recording sheet nearby for them to use (or even their personal whiteboards!) This way, they are being careful with their calculations and can focus on the math at hand, before the fun! Students then cut the sheet in half and cut out all of the jumbled solution tiles. They then glue the correct solution tile to the problem tile … then, their picture is complete! If there’s time, I always let my students express some creativity and have them color in their not-so-secret picture!

When Can I Use Secret Picture Tiles?

The BEST part about Secret Picture Tiles? I have them for a variety of topics for ALL major seasons and holidays! In my TeachersPayTeachers store, I have created YEAR-LONG BUNDLES (with thirty different seasonal Secret Picture Tiles in all) for a variety of math topics, with more to come in the future!

And to be honest, I know us teachers are VERY busy. On those “oh goodness, what should their independent work be?!” mornings, is my GO-TO time to break out Secret Picture Tiles. All I need to do is run to the copy machine, and my independent practice is set for my day!

Can I see a Sample of A Secret Picture Tile Activity?

Oh man, I am SO glad you asked! I have a sample activity, which includes ONE of the three included in the original product, of my Valentine’s Day Adding Decimals to Hundredths Secret Picture Tiles! If you are interested in checking out the sample, CLICK HERE for it to be delivered to your inbox, as well as for some extra tips and tricks on how I use Secret Picture Tiles in my classroom!

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  • […] become an instant HIT in my classroom. [If you are not sure what Secret Picture Tiles are…check out THIS POST!] My students absolutely love solving the problems and putting together some awesome seasonal […]

  • […] became one of my FAVORITE and go-to resources this past year! Read more about Secret Picture Tiles HERE and grab out a FREE Valentine’s Day Secret Picture Tile […]

  • […] of my students’ favorite activities to do is Secret Picture Tiles. Want to try out one for yourself? Click below to instantly download a free SAMPLE of my 2 Digit by […]

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    Hi! I'm Paige, known as The Math Matrix. I have been a teacher for three years, in both a middle school and elementary school, ALWAYS teaching math, either as a special education teacher or a departmentalized general education teacher. Needless to say, math is my JAM and I can't wait to share with you tips, tricks, and resources to enhance your math teaching. Read More