I have found over the past almost 20 years of my teaching career (eek!) that centers are truly the most efficient, exciting, and helpful way for students to engage in learning. Creating small group activities allows me to differentiate my teaching (and students’ learning) to best fit the needs of ALL my learners. Attaching a theme to these activities always allows for greater buy-in and interest from the students and keeps the skill learning fun. So far this year, the kindergarten students have engaged in Reading Centers daily for the past 25 days of school. Additionally, Morning Exploring is a time when smaller groups of students engage in a fine motor activities with a math focus. This time not only allows me to assess students’ learning, but it also gives me a chance to pull students one at a time to instruct them on reading. So much can be accomplished during small group/center time.
So why not add Math Centers to the mix?! We did so today! Students were introduced to nine Math Centers that work on skills like identifying teen numbers, ordering numbers, measuring using nonstandard units, building numbers using a tens frame, and solving addition equations. Each of the math centers can be differentiated three ways to meet the needs of all my learners. I was not surprised to see the students LOVING their first day of Math Centers!
A student measures items using unifix cubes. She then records the information.
A student matches a teen number to a double tens frame.
Students count the number of each school supply and record the information.
Students ready for a challenge use the information from the first sheet and add the school supplies together.
A student places number cards in order and then hides a small picture behind one of the numbers.
The other student says a number aloud and peeks to see if the hidden picture is behind that number.
Students use a magnifying glass to find numbers that are hidden in pictures. They record that number as well as the number that comes before and after.
Students identify and extend patterns.
Students identify a number and record the four numbers that come next.
These activities have the students begging for more! They would have completed all nine in one day if I had let them!