January 29, 2014

My First Math Centers

This week has been such a great experience for me! It was my first week of implementing my plans for one subject. Next week I add on another subject to my planning and then another, until I am teaching the whole class. But one step at a time! Math!

I did some pretty cool centers this week and was pleased with how everything flowed. I tried a new method with these kinders and it worked very well.

Every center has a number (1 though 5). Every student received a "flip book." They turn the pages in their "flip book" to find their next center. There are no more than 4 to a center at any time. Each time a student moves he/she is with a different group of kids! The first week, I rigged it to know what student was in which group. I didn't want my first week teaching and trying a new method to be consumed with behavior issues... They loved their books! I was thrilled.

Here are the flip books in action! I made the covers out of craft foam and sharpies and created the pages out of cut in half index cards. I hooked them together with a book ring. If it works well, I'll make a more attractive one and post it here. :) 

When they got to their centers, there was a plastic cup labeled with the center number. The cup has a bamboo skewer stuck through the top. This is where the students can "hang" their booklets, so they don't lose their page (or the whole book for that matter). They really liked sliding the booklets onto the stick and I liked that I knew where each book was. They were a little time consuming to make, so I'd rather not do it again if I can help it! But really, it was worth the time invested in making them. They turned out great and useful. I may go back soon and make computer printed versions. I didn't want to waste the ink the first time I tried it in case it didn't work. But, so far so good! I will keep you posed on its success or failure throughout the weeks.

Just a little plastic cup and a bamboo skewer! And if we don't get to finish centers for some reason, these are easy to collect with the books in place on the sticks. When we pick back up tomorrow, the kids know where they left off and where to go next! LOVED IT.

Here are my centers for this week!

1. Penguin Skip Counting

Not sure why this is sideways... :(

Students use a little laminated penguin on a popsicle stick to skip count together on the big 100's chart. They are really loving their counting to 100 because 100th Day is coming up! Some students made the penguins "swim" through the numbers. It was awesome.

2. Number Puzzles

I made these little self-checkable puzzles and they were challenging enough for the students to fill the 20 minutes of time in that center but easy enough for them not get frustrated. They fit the four pieces together that go with that number: the numeric, an addition statement, the written form, and ten frames. The way they check themselves is flip the pieces over to see if they have matching stickers. If not, they know which type of piece they got wrong and can look for the right one!

3. Number Riddles

I am ten and two more. Who am I?

These were challenging for some, but I made sure that the groupings had strong readers paired with lower readers so they could complete the riddles together. I also made a "cheat sheet" which had the numerical number next to the written form so if they got stuck and didn't know how to read a number, they could check it out on the cheat sheet. These were great. The kids got surprisingly excited to get the riddles correct.

4. Flip and Color

Again, they are working on 100s and skip counting due to the 100th Day coming up (tomorrow!). They were given a regular ol' 100 Chart and cards face down with numbers on them. They had to flip two cards to make a two digit number and color it in on the chart. This one was a lot of fun, as well!

I hope my center ideas help you in your classroom! If you use any of them, let me know how they worked (or didn't work) for you! I love to hear about other classrooms.