postheadericon Plus ou moins?

We have started looking at more and less in Math. For this activity you need objects of two different colours. I use my unfix blocks. I divide them up so I have multiple baskets of two different colours.  My kids sit in groups of 4, so I have one basket at each table.

Students first mark each side of the table on their paper with the two colours. Students will then take a handful of blocks. They then count and record how many they have of each colour block. I then get them to circle which one had more.

 

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If you are using unifix blocks I suggest tell the students to not scoop up the blocks, otherwise they take way too many and the activity become too difficult. Also make sure all the blocks are broken up, or again they get way too many blocks.

plus ou moins

Get Plus ou Moins here.

postheadericon Counting eggs

I usually pull this math center out around Easter time. You can find those plastic eggs everywhere. The kids really love this centre cause they get to crack the eggs open. 

For this centre you need a dozen plastic eggs, some small objects (I use easter themed mini erasers), and the recording sheet. Each egg is labeled with a letter so the students know where to record their findings. I like to put everything in an egg carton just to make it look more authentic.

This centre is easy. Students pick an egg and crack it open. They dump out the contents and count. They then find the corresponding egg (using the letters) on their recording sheet, and write down the number of objects in that egg. All they are doing is counting and recording over and over, but they love it because they get to crack open an egg.

When I introduce this centre, we talk about how it is important to clean up the egg you just counted before you crack open a new egg.

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You don’t have to use eggs for this activity.  Any container will do. I have another centre where I use different small objects in those small ziplock reusable containers. 

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counting eggs

counting cups

Get the egg recording sheet here and the counting cup recording sheet here.

postheadericon Pocket chart reading centre

I love our pocket chart centre. For the first half of the year we had activities that focused on letters. Students would sort letters by uppercase and lowercase, straight lines and curvy lines, above the line and below the line, and whose name had the target letter in it. 

Now we are working on sight words. One of the best ways to do this is to use the books that they are reading in class. So here are the steps to making your reading pocket chart centre.

Step 1: Photocopy one of the class readers.

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I originally stared with level A readers and add harder ones as I introduce them into my guided reading.

Step 2: Cut words out and tape to the picture.

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You want to condense each part down to one page.

Step 3:Write out the text on a sentence strip

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I write each sentence in a different colour. I also trace around the edges of the picture in the same colour. That way if they drop any of the words, they know what picture it goes along with,

Step 4: Cut up the sentence strip and place in ziploc bag with picture

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Each picture will have its own bag. So in this bag it is the red picture with the red words. Other pages will be different colours. This is the best way I can think of keeping it organized and not getting everything mixed up.

Step 5: Put in the centre

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I put each book in a different pouch. Students pick the book they want and do each page one by one. They remove the words but keep the picture in the bag (that way they don’t lose the bag). They put everything up on the pocket chart and use the words to make the sentence on the page. When they finish they go onto the next page. The books I used it didn’t matter what order the pages were in, as they made sense in any order. With higher level books you might need to write numbers on them to show the order of the pages.

We do a whole lesson on how to use the centre, and most importantly how to put it away. It works pretty well for keeping them organized, and the rare time things get all mixed up it is really easy to fix by just matching the colours.

postheadericon More literacy centres

We are now nearing the end of the year, which means the students can do a lot more. I always find it so amazing that they come in not knowing the french language at all and by the end of the year they can speak, read and write in French.  Our literacy centres are now focusing more on sight words than letters and sounds.

Write, Stamp and Decorate

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Students will pick a sight word and then they will write it, stamp it, and then decorate it (write it again using different colours).

Get this activity here.

Sight word Hockey

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I got this box at Christmas time. It was filled with candy cane shaped as hockey sticks. I cut out the goalie net and wrote down sight words on all those bottle tops I have been saving over the years. Student pick a word, say it out loud and try to make a goal. This one is a big hit.

Silly Sentences

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I originally got these vocabulary cards from here, and I translated them to french. Students have 3 baskets. One with the students names, one with the five senses, and one with a noun. Students pick one of each and make a silly sentence. They then copy it and illustrate in the journal at the centre. Everyone uses the same journal, which allows for the students to go back and read what the other students wrote. They really love when they get the Madame card.

Get the silly sentences here.

Sound sort

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You can tell I made this one in my early teaching days just by the amount of effort I put into it. At this centre there are several mats with the letters of the alphabet. There is a corresponding container containing pictures that start with those letters. Students need to sound them out and sort them to the correct spot.

Unfortunately I don’t remember where I got these, but if you search sound sort you should be able to find something similar. You might have to find an English set and then resort them according to their french words.

 

 

postheadericon Using what you already have for your centres.

When I first started doing centres, I found it very daunting. First of all, I hadn’t yet discovered the secret to managing centres . Secondly, everything took so much time to make! I wanted everything to look perfect. I spent a small fortune on printer ink or sending things to a printing company so that it would be colourful and bright. I laminated everything and anything. I spent hours cutting and gluing and colouring my centres. Centres were all themed based, by month, holidays or class contents. The cuter the better.

But what I learned is that although all though this made my centres attractive, it didn’t make them meaningful. To make them more meaningful I had to take things were were already doing in class and extend them in our centres. Yes, I still have some prep work, and the laminator is my best friend, but I’m using things I already have on hand, and things that my students already know how to use so they can be independent.

Here are a few things I have turned into centres

Big Book Centre

This centre is exactly what it sounds like. Students hunker down on the mat and go through the big books. Sometimes they are just looking at the pictures, or looking for certain letters or words. We have read most of them in class all together to they are familiar with them. I also put in the class books that we have made together, which are definitely their favourites.

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The documents is formatted for 8"x11" and I increase the size on our photocopier to 11"x17" (129%).

The documents is formatted for 8"x11" and I increase the size on our photocopier to 11"x17" (129%).

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Songs

I do a new song with the students every week. We look for letters, sounds, and sight words. It is a great way to teach french vocabulary. I then put a copy in a folder and send them home weekly to practice. When we were done with a song, I used to put my big chart paper songs back into the cupboard until I needed them again next year.

Not anymore!

Now tape them to a metal hanger (0ne song on each side), hang them on a garment rack, add some pointers, and voila! I have a Song/Poem centre. Students do exactly what we did when we were learning the songs all together in class. They look for letters, sounds and words. And of course, most importantly, they SING!

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Printing

I don’t do a whole lot paper activities in my class. Most activities are hands on. However, I do think it is important to practice printing and practice recording our numbers. Whenever I have something that I want to students to get a lot of practice doing, I just take the very activities we do in class together, I chuck it into a sheet protector, toss in a erasable marker, and I have a new centre! Get the printing practice sheet here.

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postheadericon Boom!

I’ve seen many different names for this game. BANG! ZUT! BOOM! I picked BOOM! but you can really call it anything you want. This is an easy set up game. All you need is a cup, a marker and something to write on. In the pictures below I used foam sticks, but I have used popsicle sticks, tongue depressors, or even paper.

Here is how you play

In the cup are your sticks (or strips of paper). Each has a letter on one end. You put them all in facing down. There are a few extra sticks that have BOOM! written on them. Students take turns picking a stick. If they can identify the letter they keep it, if they can’t they put it back. If they get a BOOM! stick they have to return ALL the sticks they have one (except the BOOM! stick or the game will go on forever). Whoever has the most sticks in the end, wins!

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This is a game that the kids love and it is great because you can use it for letter and sound identification, sight word recognition and number recognition. I bet you could use it for number facts too.  I often send this game home with students as extra practice at home. Drill and kill activities can be quite tedious for students, but if you turn it into a game they are much more willing to practice.

postheadericon Winter math centres

Snowmen sets

The dollar store always has these flat foam cutouts for every thinkable season/holiday which are great for making themed centres. These ones are snowmen. On their hat I have written a number. The students use buttons (or counters if you can’t find any buttons) and make a set to match the number on the hat. The kids love this because of the fun shapes, and I didn’t have to cut out or laminate anything which is always great.

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Ginger bread towers

Christmas was so crazy that I didn’t get to post my centres, so I am posting a few now. Who says you can only have ginger bread men at christmas! Each student gets a gingerbread man and take turns rolling the dice. When they roll, they cover the corresponding representation on the ginger man. They can either just cover it up with one block/counter, or they could make a tower of the number the rolled. For example if they rolled a 4, they would find the 4 on the gingerbread man and cover it with tower made out of 4 blocks. You can find this game board here. There are lots of these kinds of roll and covers for different themes if you search online.

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Roll and Cover

Here are some more roll and covers. I always look in the craft section or the seasonal section in the dollar story for different things I can use for counters for these games.  For the snowman roll and cover I use cotton balls and I found these santa hats for the christmas roll and cover. I get my roll and cover mats here and here.

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Race to trace- Shape edition

I got this idea after we did the race to trace game for practicing our numeral. For this game students roll a shape dice and then trace the corresponding shape. The first one to trace all the shapes is the winner. For the shape dice I used these blank foam cubes I had, and I just draw on them using a permanent marker. You could also use the large dice that you can change the faces or make paper dice. You could also have them pull shapes from a bag, or use a spinner with shapes on it.

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Number Printing practice

I bought these fish bowl printers years ago from scholars choice. Students trace and practice printing a number on one side, and then on the other side they represent the number using the foam fish.

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postheadericon October and November Math Centres

I didn’t get to updated around Halloween because of all of the craziness, so my halloween themed centres are a little late being posted. However I only JUST changed them out and it is the mid November. The kids don’t care if they are still using Halloween centres a few weeks after the actual day, so I have been slowly replacing them one by one.

If you haven’t already, check out how I set up my math centres. Also check the menu on the side for more Math centres.

Here are newest math centres.

Roll, match,cover – Matching dice with numerals

I love Dollarama! I especially love the seasonal section as it is the perfect place to find things for math centers. Usually every holiday they have some kind of mini ersers that come in a pack of 30 or so. These are great to use as counters for your centres. It is amazing how students become engaged just by having a little mini pumpkin counter. In this centre, students roll the dice and then cover a matching numeral with counters. Get this pumpkin roll and cover here.

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Ten frame fill up

I got these pumpkin ice cube trays at the grocery store last year after christmas for 14 cents each! They are great because they are shaped like a ten frame: five pumpkins on top and five on the bottom. Students take turns rolling a dice and filling up their ten frame. Who ever fills up the ten frame first gets a point. Then they start all over again. Whoever fills it up the most, wins! I used mini ghost erasers for this one and it was a big hit. You could also use a cut egg carton and different counters so you could use it all year long.

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Roll and cover

I always have a roll and cover game in my math centres. It is always the same game, but I routinely change the pictures and the counters and the kids get all excited that they have a “new” centre. My Halloween one was pumpkins covered with mini pumpkin erasers. This week I changed it to my crown roll and cover. They use plastic jewels that I got in the craft section of the Dollarama to cover the pictures.

Basic Roll and Cover rules- Students take turns rolling a dice and then covering that many pictures with counters. First one to cover all the pictures win.

Go here and here for lots of different roll and covers mats.

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Dominoes

Another great Dollarama find! I found these large foam domino sets about 8 years ago, and I was so smart to buy 15 sets because I haven’t seen them since. They are a lot easier for little hands to use and don’t make any noise when dropped. We use them to practice matching numerals as well as numbers in two parts. You can even use them as  “cards” for “Go fish”.

Here is how we play Dominoes in our classroom: Each student gets 5 dominoes. One domino is put out. Players try to match one side of their dominoes to one of the sides of the dominoes in play. Once one side of the domino is matched with another, it is out of play.If they can’t make a match they pick out one out of the bag. First one out of all their dominoes wins.

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Pattern – Bears and Unifix trains

Students copy and they extend patters using teddy bear counters at one centre, and unifix cubes at another centre. I find I needed to give them a strip of long paper for the teddy bear centre otherwise they wouldn’t extend the pattern. I still might tweak this one a bit as even with the strip I have to remind them to extend the pattern.

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Take a set

This is a take on the game I explained here, but instead of using a paper plate and two sided counters, I used a picture of a tree and leaf counters I got a target in the dollar section (so sad they closed down in Canada!). Each student has ten leaves on their tree. They roll the dice and then “steal” that many leaves from their partners tree. They go back and forth like this until someone gets all the leaves.  I got the tree background here from a different math centre that I never ended up using but the background was perfect for this centre change up. Once again, changing the background and counters of a old game makes it brand new again.



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Mr Potato Head

The kids were so excited when I brought this one out. Students roll the dice and add the body parts according to the legend provided. First one to have all the parts win. Get Mr Potato head here.

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Dot card memory

I love dot cards. You can use them for so many things. I use the Vanderwall blackline master dot cards. I printed off a class set of them of on cardstock and they are still going strong. This week we are playing memory. Students spread them out facedown and take turns turing two over at a time trying to make pairs. They are also great for “Go Fish” and for “War”.

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postheadericon Literacy centers


I’m hoping to have a post about my literacy centre set up sometime later this week (still need to take a few photos). In the mean time here are the centres we have been doing the last few weeks. 

Read…Build…Write

Right now we are doing names with this centre. The kids love making their friends names. Later on we will do the same activity with sight words. First they read the name, then make it with magnetic letters, and then they write it. Get the French and English sheet here.

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Printing

I’m a firm believer in not reinventing the wheel, which means use the things you are doing in class as a centers. I take the printing sheets I use in class, stick them in page protectors and then they can be used over and over again with erasable markers.

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I Spy Bottles

These are large water bottles filled with rice and alphabet beads I got at the craft store. Students use magnifying glasses to find the letters and trace them on a recording sheet. Again I put it in a page protector to make it reusable and to save on paper.  Get the recording sheet here.

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Name Tracing

See a post about name tracing and get the tracing font here. name trace censored

Playdoh letters

For those kinaesthetic learners. Students manipulate playdoh to make upper and lower case letters. Get the letter mats here.

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Letter mazes

Students circle upper and lowercase letters to get through the maze. There is a differnt maze for each letter of the alphabet. Get them here

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Play centres

I have a few play centres going on. These are great for oral development. This week we have the kitchen centre, puzzle centre and the puppet centre. Later in the year they will be a bit more structured but right now I am just letting them play and talk talk talk with their partner.

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Reading centre

I’ve got a few chairs next to my class library. The students love browsing the books. Even though they can’t read them yet, what child doesn’t love looking at the pictures! I encourage them to talk about their books with their partner and tell them about the pictures.

postheadericon More Math Centres

Now that the students have got the math center routine down, I have added a few more so that we now have 10 different centres. Here are the ones I have added.

Pattern Block Numbers

Students use the pattern blocks to make the numerals. I got the numeral cards here.

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Pattern Block Pictures

Similar to the above centre, students use pattern blocks to make the pictures. I have bought a few sets of these with magnetic pattern blocks, but I have also found many online. Try here, here and here.

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Number Flags

This is an easy one to put together. On pipe cleaners add masking tape at the top to make a flag and write a number from 1-10 on the flag. Students then use beads to make a set corresponding to the number. I make 2 sets of flags from 1-1o, so each partner can do all 10.

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Linking Numbers

Students use links (or paper clips) to match the different representations of the numbers. You could also use these cards for a memory game. Get the cards here and here.

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We are starting patterning next week so I will replace some of my dice games with pattern centres next week.