If you teach kindergarten or have been in a kindergarten classroom for a while, you know that centers can be difficult to put into place. Young students come to us with very little independence and are not able to read directions. Hands-on activities are key to a successful kindergarten classroom. I came from teaching high achieving first and third grade, so I was familiar with a fast paced, centers-based, independent, active math block. As I prepped for kindergarten math, I made sure I had many activities and manipulatives ready to go. BUT as I began getting into the groove of teaching math to my scholars, I reflected on what was and wasn’t working with my young students. You can read more about that here. I realized that I needed to simplify and make activities low prep for myself and predictable for my students. Here are a few of the centers that are working WONDERFULLY for our classroom this year… White Boards – The magical oh-so-much-more-wonderful version of paper. At the beginning of the year, students practiced writing numbers 1-30 using a number line. Currently, my students are writing as many addition sentences as they can on their own. I’m not quite Continue Reading
When I taught first grade, our math centers rocked. Like seriously, it was awesome. The kids were on task while using manipulatives, journals were getting done on time, each group came to me for small group, and we finished 3-4 rotations per day in about one hour and ten minutes. I used this organization of centers and small group to make our time together as successful as it could be. When I taught third grade, math was even more independent. We had math early finisher projects that the kids LOVED. The kids came to small group, had a computer center, and a math activity center. I pulled them for extra practice often, used lots of manipulatives to practice multiplication, and enjoyed watching them grow into upper elementary math scholars. Teaching kindergarten is a totally different ball game. Independence is a far-fetched idea. I rarely get through more than two groups. I can no longer prep center activities that match our current skill. Centers are completely review. …And for a while, I felt awful. Math was the one time of the day I would get anxiety. I had spent a lot of time this summer prepping and updating my math center Continue Reading
(These examples are shown on plastic disposable plates. I just love this affordable option for student white boards! Just use a piece of felt or a tissue to wipe them clean. In class, we often also use white boards and chart paper when showing our examples.) Students always seem to struggle with elapsed time. It’s a hard concept for them to wrap their brains around because it is so abstract. When I taught third grade, I even found some students who have severe deficits in the basics of telling time. These students are just now mastering time to the minute, so I knew they would really struggle with elapsed time. This great way of mapping out elapsed time works like a charm. I wish I had learned it this way in school, because it just seems so obvious! Hop over to The Primary Pack to see the steps in action!
Happy Thursday! This week my firsties began counting money. They’ve been doing pretty well because we have incorporated it into calendar math since the beginning of the school year. However, the kids often mistaken nickels and quarters and have trouble adding on with larger valued coins. So, on Tuesday in math small group we sorted coins using these great yellow mats from my second grade friend across the hall. The kids thought this was SO fun! (which made me laugh inside…) After they sorted all the coins in front of them, we practiced skip counting. We counted by 1’s to find the value of the pennies. We counted by 5’s to find the value of the nickels. (You get the picture.) We also compared the total amount on each child’s mat. They were very excited to discover who had the most money! This is one of this week’s favorite math centers. It’s called Scavenger Hunt Riddles. Kids take a recording sheet (there are 8 varieties). They then choose the cards that match the color indicated on the recording sheet. For example, the recording sheet pictured here is for the GREEN cards, so kids choose the money cards with the green Continue Reading