I am happy to say that most of my class is on or above grade level this year (meaning they mastered their basic kindergarten skills)! I do have 4 "sweet n lows" that will need extra time, but I have a feeling it's just a matter of finding the right key to unlock their learning rather than any serious learning disabilities. I am lucky enough to have a tutor come in for 1/2 hour each day, and this year I can have her work with any child in the class! This is exciting for me, because last year they could only work with high risk students. Honestly, I prefer working with my high risk students myself because I need to know that they're getting the best possible instruction and I need to know how they're doing on a daily basis - something I don't always have time to discuss with a tutor. This year I'll be having my tutor work with my medium to high level groups - I love the idea that these groups will be challenged! The only downside is that the tutor will be pushing in to the classroom which means added noise volume and I have to plan all of the activities (last year the tutor created activities for her small group). Hopefully the noise level won't be too much of an issue!
One of my favorite centers is our Math Center. I try to give an hour of free choice center time each day and you would be surprised at the number of children who choose to go to Math Center! I have a special "Math Center Library" with math-related books and the kids love reading them. Many of them came from Lakeshore Learning which has grade level sets of books that have math connections:
One of my students' most favorite activities at Math Center is our Monkey Math Scale:
The students hang an equal number of colorful bananas from each of the monkey’s hands. If the addition is correct, the monkey will look straight ahead and his arms will be level. For instance, you could hang the bunch of 7 bananas on his left arm and then put the 5 and 2 bunches of bananas on his right arm. This is great for my kiddos who are learning addition - and getting them to understand that the equal sign means that each side of an equation is the same.
Of course, with Common Core now, teaching time is not a focus anymore for K or 1st, but I still like to introduce it since my kiddos are always asking me "When is lunch? or "When do we go to the library?" etc. Clocks that they can manipulate are great for math center - especially ones that are write-on, wipe-off so they can practice matching analog to digital time. We have a set like this one from Learning Resources:
I also include lots of unifix cubes, links and small manipulatives in our Math Center. I have this set of Math trays that I love too:
It includes trays for sorting, graphing, patterning and comparing!
Yesterday I stopped in at Target and found some Halloween themed mini erasers in their Dollar Spot. I know, I know, it's early for Halloween, but I can't resist cute erasers! I grabbed the cats, pumpkins and ghosts to put into my Math Center. I store them in a pencil box as I've shared before - I have a whole set of pencil boxes filled with erasers to use as manipulatives. This time though, I created some fun cards to put in the box with them! This will ensure that my kiddos are working on skills that I know they need, while still having fun. I'm sharing that file today as a freebie, so next time you're in Target make sure to pick up a set of erasers!
Click the picture below to grab this file for free!
I am off to plan my math rotations for this week - now that I have my kiddos in groups, I can start planning all of our activities - I'll share those later this week! Enjoy the three day weekend (what's left of it!)