Math Center Ideas For Kindergarten That Are Actually Fun

Most teachers are familiar with using math centers in the classroom. Centers provide a great way to practice skills while encouraging group interaction. They also allow students to work with concepts while teachers employ direct instruction with an individual student or small group of students. Centers can provide the perfect opportunity for students to use manipulatives for practice. 

Math instruction, especially for younger students, is often most effective with manipulatives. Children learn math concepts more easily when they are able to touch, move, and see them in action. They can explore challenging concepts with manipulatives, and increase their confidence before moving on to algorithms or memorization. 

Ready to use centers and manipulatives in the classroom, but not sure where to start? Here is an easy way to get started with math centers.

First, choose an area that will store your math centers where students can access them. You may use a particular bookcase, or even a rolling cart that can be moved as needed. Next, choose containers for your manipulatives. Fabric bins with a clear window for labels are a great choice, as you can put one of the manipulatives in the window to identify what belongs in that bin. Even the youngest students can then clean up easily.

 You will also need containers for your task cards (or “recipes”), and a container for the worksheets needed. Worksheets can be placed in clear pockets and students can use dry erase markers if you like the idea of using less paper. Be sure students know where to turn in assignments if you would like to check them. 

Now that you have your “Math Cafe” ready, you can add the assignments to match your needs! Each recipe card should list the manipulatives needed, how many students should be in the group, and worksheets needed. It should also include picture cues for younger students. Students can then choose a recipe card and complete the tasks independently. 

math centers

The tasks do not need to be super involved- just simple, fun, and engaging. Need some help finding the right tasks for kindergarten? Check out my Kindergarten Math Centers Yearlong Bundle. This bundle includes enough math salad bar or math cafe task cards for 14 math units.

math centers

You’ll also get posters, assessments, photos, material lists, crafts, and more!

Here’s a video tutorial on how to set it up in your classroom

 

Your students will love visiting the Math Cafe and practicing their skills!

For more kindergarten tips, check out my post on homework ideas for kindergarten students.

math centers


 

5 Awesome Classroom Management Strategies That Really Work

Going to school is very fun and exciting for the younger elementary students. They are experiencing new things and making new friends every day. It can be thrilling for them. However, it is important to set boundaries so that students know that while it is amazing for them to have new experiences, school is a place to learn. Their main job is to listen and learn, and the teacher’s job is to teach.  

The best way to get your classroom running smoothly is by structuring it in a way that students know what is expected of them. To accomplish this, you can start by thinking about how you want your classroom to be run. Look around online or chat with other teachers for inspiration.  

Here are some classroom management strategies you can incorporate into your classroom: 

Build good relationships with your students

This one is the first and most basic management strategy. You want your students to trust you so that they turn to you when there is a problem. They are also more inclined to follow the rules with a teacher they are comfortable with. 

Use a behavior chart for classroom management

This is a clear, visual way for students to understand the behavior that you expect of them. As the year goes on, they will grow to understand it better and strive to do well.

 My editable behavior chart makes it easy for you to track your student’s behavior. It also comes with a data-collecting graph to chart data as well as a poster about Big Problems and Little Problems. classroom management

Assign classroom jobs

I love assigning jobs to my students.  (You can read all about it here.) Giving jobs gives your students a sense of purpose and responsibility in the classroom. It also helps you because it keeps your classroom running smoothly when everyone completes their jobs. Ideas for jobs include line leader, paper passer, book monitor, homework checker, etc. 

These editable classroom jobs help make it easy for you! There are 25 pre-made jobs in two different styles to choose from.  You can also use the editable PowerPoint to personalize your own job chart! The chalkboard makes it easy to fit into any classroom.

Classroom management

Designate a calm down corner

Younger students are still learning how to regulate their emotions. Sometimes they get a little too worked up or upset about something and just need a place to breathe deeply. Assigning a certain area in your classroom as the “Calm Down Corner” will give your students a designated place to go when they need a few minutes of quiet to calm down. 

This calm down corner resource comes with visual cue cards, calm down corner ideas, posters, and printables to collect data, identify triggers and calm down actions.

classroom management

 

Offer Praise

One of the best ways to get students to behave is to praise good behavior. Doing this instead of only correcting bad behavior is a way of using positive reinforcement. Students love to hear that they are doing a good job and praising them when they are will give them a strong incentive to continue that behavior. 

When your classroom management strategies are working and everything is running smoothly, it is magic! When you and your students have found your groove, you can focus more on fun and learning instead of focusing on rules and bad behavior. 

I hope these strategies and resources help you out! If you have a classroom management strategy that you love, I would love to hear about it in the comments!


 

Homework Ideas For Kindergarten

Homework is a tricky topic in most schools, especially in the younger grades. Homework in kindergarten is sometimes completely forbidden by the school, left up to the teacher, or required for all students. In my experience, homework for kindergarten students can be beneficial. It can reinforce the skills learned in the classroom and get parents involved in the learning process. However, it must be developmentally appropriate for our youngest learners. 

In order for homework to be perfect for kindergarten, it must be short enough to maintain students’ attention.

Pages and pages of written work will frustrate kids, and busy parents do not want to complete more school work for hours each evening. Short, meaningful assignments will keep kids and parents engaged. They will also be more likely to positively influence learning. 

In addition to the amount of time assignments take, the content of the assignments is also important to consider for kindergarten students. Research has shown again and again that reading with a parent (and independently) for 15-20 minutes daily is extremely beneficial to young learners. So reading together is probably the most important part! 

Assignments should also reinforce basic skills with targeted practice. It is not the time for learning completely new concepts. Additionally, assignments with oral components are perfect for kindergarten students. As they interact and talk with their caregivers, they are learning important communication skills. They are also cementing their understanding of the concepts they’ve been learning at school. 

So- short, meaningful, targeted homework that involves parents seems to be the perfect recipe for kindergarten.

That’s a lot to think about when making assignments. If you don’t have the time to plan and prepare assignments that fit your needs for homework- my Kindergarten Homework Packets might be the answer! 

homework

This bundle includes homework packets for the entire year. They are editable, but can also be printed and used immediately. The homework packets are set up to go home every three weeks. You choose three books to send home with each packet, and your students will have everything they need for meaningful homework. 

homework

Sight words as well as Common Core standards for reading, writing, math, science, and social studies are all addressed throughout the year. Activities include written and oral activities that are perfect for school-home connections. Your students will enjoy their homework, and you can rest assured that it is appropriate and engaging. 

homework
For more kindergarten ideas, check out my morning work ideas here! 

What are your thoughts on homework in kindergarten? Let me know in the comments!


 

Writing Prompts For Early Elementary Students

Do your early elementary students need help getting their creative writing juices flowing? Writing prompts can help!

When faced with a blank page, many kids can feel overwhelmed by writing assignments. They’re not sure where to start, and some students can even shut down when faced with writing activities. Other students might be comfortable with writing, but just don’t get excited about “boring” writing assignments in the classroom.

writing prompts

 Writing prompt journals are the answer for these challenges!

Journals filled with writing prompts give a clear assignment each and every day. Your students will know exactly what to write rather than spending time deciding about a topic.

With daily assignments students will approach their writing with more confidence. As they become more comfortable with responding to prompts they will lose their feelings of overwhelm. 

In addition, journals are a great way to monitor students’ growth in their writing skills. By keeping each month’s journals you will be able to see their content and conventions grow over time. You can also identify problem areas for particular students or the whole class and address those skills with specialized lessons.

As your students become more familiar with daily writing, they will take more chances with creativity. Writing as a daily routine will help you address all of these skills regularly without extra planning. You can even add in word banks with vocabulary words for them to use and teach them how to check their work with self check-offs.

If you’re ready to incorporate daily writing prompts in your classroom, my Writing Prompts with Word Banks Bundle is just the print-and-go material you need.

Simply print the pages out for the month, staple, and you’re ready!

writing prompts

Students will love the fun writing tasks as well as the word banks. They can easily spell words they may need in their writing and feel more confident in their ideas. There are also checklists at the bottom of each day’s prompt so students can check their own work for writing expectations. Each month includes a writing rubric you can use to assess students’ writing.

writing prompts

In addition to journals for all twelve months, I’ve also included silly writing prompts to really get your students excited! Reluctant writers will enjoy using their skills for a fun writing assignment. 

I hope these writing prompts get your students excited to use their creativity with writing!