Kindergarten Math Centers - Part 1

kindergarten students sorting buttons

Our whole day is centered around workshops, so I like to keep the trend going for Math as well.

We start off our math workshop at the rug. Everyone grabs a dry ease marker and a whiteboard, I love these whiteboard paddles (affiliate link). They are are the perfect size for writing and small enough so it doesn't get overcrowded at our rug area!
Whiteboard paddles, hand sized for kids

First up is the Problem of the Day which consists of four skills; comparing numbers, counting on, adding and subtracting with ten frames and money.

Math Problem of the Day

I display this PowerPoint on the tv and unveil one box at a time. They write their answer on the paddle and hold it up so I can assess their understanding. It keeps things quieter too which is a bonus as math is after recess, so they need some relaxation time!

After the problem of the day, we use our tv for our My Math lesson. I love the ConnectEd app because my students can write on my iPad and it shows up on the tv screen. This really helps everyone to stay focused on the lesson for the day.

ConnectEd app, my students and I can write on itConnectEd app, my students and I can write on it

Before they head off to centers, we do a quick group activity. Sometimes we use task cards, sometimes we put numbers in order, or count and add with manipulatives. 

Lately we have been using our magnetic ten frames for our group activity. I love the variety of ways in which we can use them for a quick activity.

magnetic ten frames for Kindergarten math

After that, it is on to centers! Last year I assigned my kids to centers. I found as the year went on, that it led to a lot of disruptions. If they were not interested in the center I sent them to work at, or inspired enough to explore it in a new way, behavior problems would occur. 

This year I decided to try doing things a bit differently. Each day has a theme:

Motor Skills Monday - click the picture for more information on each day!

Kindergarten Math Center Ideas

100's Activities Tuesday
Kindergarten Math Center Ideas

Buddy Games Wednesday

Kindergarten Math Center Ideas

Exploration Thursday

Kindergarten Math Center Ideas

Kindergarten Math Center Ideas

They can choose whatever activity they like for that day. They then bring the shoebox bin to a table. It took a lot of time to train them to do this, but now they know that however many kids sit at that table are the amount that can do the activity. If they are the last one at the table, they clean up the math bin before moving to an open seat.

I have three circle tables that seat 4 kids, two hexagon tables that seat 6 kids and a trapezoid table that can sit 2 kids. We also use our rug area for larger activities. 

Kindergarten classroom

Allowing them to self select their activities has changed math in ways I could never have expected. All of my students are way more engaged and on task during our center time. 

They are so focused that I am able to run my guided math groups at my back table during this time, with little to no interuptions. Having the class so focused really allows my math groups to become more engrossed in their lesson as well.

Occasionally I will see someone who is off task, and I then suggest they move on to a new activity and table. Overall, I would say that only happens about once a week.

In part 2 of the series, I will give a closer look at each day and the different activities we do on Motor Skills Monday.

How do you run your centers? Do you assign rotations, or let it be more student directed?

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