Themes always help with the engagement level in the classroom. I like to celebrate a number each day in kindergarten. We can celebrate a number any time during the year, but this year in February is a PERFECT time to celebrate #2! It will be 2/2/22 or 2/22/22, so either day is a perfect day to learn all about the number two in Kindergarten or 1st Grade! February 22, 2022, falls on a Tuesday, so it makes for a great TWOs-Day theme day!
Math centers are a fun and effective way to get kindergarten students engaged in learning and applying important math skills and strategies that we are working on in the classroom.
Your students get to have a more active role in their learning when you use engaging centers, and it gives you a chance to do more one-on-one instruction with the students who need it. This gives students an increased sense of independence, which is always a great thing!
They will also get the opportunity to work with hands-on manipulatives. With students this age, this improves their motivation to learn which then increases their outcomes and helps them hit benchmarks with ease. You can do individual testing once they know how to do centers independently.
I love coming up with fun and creative centers to get my students excited about math. The opportunities are truly endless!
My favorite math centers theme is a “Math Salad Bar” or “Math Café”.
You can make your Math Café (or Buffet or Salad Bar) out of a bookcase or a rolling cart. A student pulls out the manipulative cart and then they choose a recipe card that functions like a task card. It includes the material list, number of people who can participate in the math activity, picture cues, and directions. They will choose their partners if required, fill their tray with materials, and do the activity anywhere in the room! They can easily clean up by using a tray to hold their materials.
Here are three fun activities to include in your café.
If you love these and want some more activities, you can get more with the full bundle here! This yearlong bundle includes digital cards, blank recipe cards, assessments, posters, and crafts as well as more math centers.
What is your favorite thing about math centers? Let me know in the comments!
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.
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.
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!
Games are an important part of childhood. From sports to board games, children all over the world play together to learn social skills and have fun. However, games haven’t always been a welcome strategy in the classroom. In the schools of the not-so-distant past, they were something kids were to do on the playground or at home- but not in their classrooms. Fortunately, thoughts have changed. We now know that games can teach important skills while students have fun!
If you’re ready to get your students more excited about learning, pull out some classroom games. Students will be more motivated to pay attention to the subject matter, and will be more engaged. They will positively associate learning the subject matter with having fun. This will increase their success with the material, and make your job a little easier!
Your kids will also develop stronger critical thinking skills while playing games. Depending on the object of the game, they might have to try new strategies, think ahead, or switch plans. In addition to content mastery, students learn social skills while playing classroom games. They experience winning and losing, taking turns, and co-operating. These skills are necessary for working with other people even in adulthood.
One of my favorite classroom game sets is Kindergarten Math Games. It is designed for pre-k and kindergarten classrooms to make practicing important math skills more fun (check out my Kindergarten Math Salad Bar here)! It includes several options for single players to complete on their own as well as games for two players to take turns. Students will learn to count and recognize numbers 1-6 while playing the games. You can simply print the game boards out, give students a 6-sided die, and let the fun begin!
Another resource available for FREE right now is the 10 More Or Less Game. It is ideal for students in grades K-2. This activity helps students understand the number concepts of 10 more and 10 less. It can be played as a whole group so you can help students understand how it works. Then students can play with small groups or partners. Your kids will love learning math skills while having fun with their peers!
What games do you like to play in the classroom? Let me know in the comments!