Exploring Math Centers

With the launch of the new Common Core Standards, math has been a tricky topic to teach this fall as we figure out a new math program. In order to expose the students to as many math concepts as possible, we have math centers one morning a week during our math block. This is a time that the students LOVE! We do a variety of activities ranging from bean bag number toss, sorting buttons, stamping, pattern bears, attribute blocks, dry-erase boards and shape stencils.

During responsive classroom we often do what we call the "Button Greeting". The students each get 3 unique buttons. We set a timer for 1 minute and the kids move around the room greeting each other in the proper way (eye contact, handshake, and a proper "good morning"). When they greet someone, they trade buttons with them. When they have traded all three of their original buttons, they sit down. Afterward we talk about what buttons we traded and who we greeted.
The buttons are a crowd-pleaser, so I decided to incorporate them into math centers. The kids sort the buttons into different cups. It's fun to walk around and hear about the different ways that they decided to sort: shiny, boring, big, small, two holes, four holes, fancy, colors, plastic, not plastic, and so on.

Dry-erase boards make ANYTHING exciting to kindergarteners.
The dry-erase center is thought of as a free-choice center in many ways because the students have the choice to either write numbers, write number grids or create math problems.

The pattern blocks are fun to observe the students explore because it shows how creative they really are. Some of them make patterns, others create animals or words with them.

The stamping station is a variety of different stamps; money, pattern blocks, clocks and numbers. For many of these concepts like telling time, this center is meant to expose students to clocks. I also observed some students "quizzing" each other on their coins. One student would stamp and the other would have to name the coin and its value.

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