Math “Salad Bar”
When I was teaching kindergarten, I attended a conference where someone talked about keeping a “Math Salad Bar” as a way to organize your manipulatives. You would take your manpulatives and keep them labeled and in one spot so students could easily find what they needed for a math task. I decided to take that idea and put it on steroids! I created recipe cards (task cards), used bowls for them to collect their materials, bought cafe trays and even had a rolling cart that the kids would roll to the middle of the room to begin the math centers.
Student Choice Works
Students would pick a recipe card that had the list of materials (ingredients) to complete their math activity. The card would say how many people it serves. The student picks partners if required. That group goes anywhere in the room to complete their activity. I would have several ways for students to learn one concept. So even though they all were working on the same standard, they were doing something different. They loved being able to choose their activity. My job was to observe, solve conflicts (which was rare after the first week) and take data on who needed more help in different areas.
Math Center Problems
When we first began kindergarten math centers this new way, there were a couple issues to iron out. The main issue was how some students would react negatively if they were asked to join the activity. The person I called on would got to ask for people to join the activity, if needed. Some students were not happy about being called by certain students and it made a great discussion about feelings during circle time. After a week of students seeing that I would rotate who got to choose their task first, and talking about how sad it makes someone feel if you are rude when they were happy to pick you, they really took off and were begging for our Math Salad Bar time. Matter of fact if they had to do a traditional lesson and work alone, they were not happy about it.
Try these 3 center activities for FREE.
Why Kindergarten Math Centers?
You can still teach whole group lesson right before centers. Math centers frees you up to learn about what your students are learning. One task card is for the teacher to use called Teacher’s Table. This is where you can hand it to a couple students who you see are struggling with a math skill for remediation at your table. I never use the entire center time for remediation so they get some time to do an activity. If students finish one activity, they clean up and pick a new “recipe” card. There are assessments for the students for each nine weeks, data recording sheets to share with families and detailed plans for set up with suggestions.
What is Stopping You
What is stopping you from having math centers? I promise, if you try this you WILL LOVE IT!
Find the yearlong bundle here:
Watch a tutorial VIDEO about my set up here: How to Set Up Math Centers for Kindergarten
If you need EVERYTHING to teach Kindergarten, you can get the Kindergarten Curriculum which has ALL SUBJECTS Bundled for the entire school year. Homeschoolers love this bundle!
Do you do anything special for math to celebrate the 100th Day of School? Read about my ideas.