Math Center Ideas For Kindergarten That Are Actually Fun

Most teachers are familiar with using math centers in the classroom. Centers provide a great way to practice skills while encouraging group interaction. They also allow students to work with concepts while teachers employ direct instruction with an individual student or small group of students. Centers can provide the perfect opportunity for students to use manipulatives for practice. 

Math instruction, especially for younger students, is often most effective with manipulatives. Children learn math concepts more easily when they are able to touch, move, and see them in action. They can explore challenging concepts with manipulatives, and increase their confidence before moving on to algorithms or memorization. 

Ready to use centers and manipulatives in the classroom, but not sure where to start? Here is an easy way to get started with math centers.

First, choose an area that will store your math centers where students can access them. You may use a particular bookcase, or even a rolling cart that can be moved as needed. Next, choose containers for your manipulatives. Fabric bins with a clear window for labels are a great choice, as you can put one of the manipulatives in the window to identify what belongs in that bin. Even the youngest students can then clean up easily.

 You will also need containers for your task cards (or “recipes”), and a container for the worksheets needed. Worksheets can be placed in clear pockets and students can use dry erase markers if you like the idea of using less paper. Be sure students know where to turn in assignments if you would like to check them. 

Now that you have your “Math Cafe” ready, you can add the assignments to match your needs! Each recipe card should list the manipulatives needed, how many students should be in the group, and worksheets needed. It should also include picture cues for younger students. Students can then choose a recipe card and complete the tasks independently. 

math centers

The tasks do not need to be super involved- just simple, fun, and engaging. Need some help finding the right tasks for kindergarten? Check out my Kindergarten Math Centers Yearlong Bundle. This bundle includes enough math salad bar or math cafe task cards for 14 math units.

math centers

You’ll also get posters, assessments, photos, material lists, crafts, and more!

Here’s a video tutorial on how to set it up in your classroom

 

Your students will love visiting the Math Cafe and practicing their skills!

For more kindergarten tips, check out my post on homework ideas for kindergarten students.

math centers


 

Dental Health Activities for Kindergarten and First Grade

Did you know that February is Children’s Dental Health Month? Usually, February is a perfect month to celebrate dental health, but really any time of year you can work it into your lessons is great because it is always a topic of interest for children.  Children lose teeth all the time. If you are like other primary teachers, you have a tooth chart to mark the big day a student loses a tooth.

Students buzz about how excited they are to get a visit from the Tooth Fairy! The lost tooth is a treasured possession of the student until they get the cash.

Dental Health and Losing a Tooth

Consider combining the two throughout the school year. Here are some great ideas for teaching about dental health:

  • Read Dental Health Books
  • Demonstrate how to Floss and Brush
  • Discuss the Importance of Toothpaste
  • Invite a Dentist to Speak to Students
  • Chart Lost Teeth Monthly
  • Make a Special Pouch to Carry the Tooth Home
  • Teach a Poem about Dental Health

Students love to feel like they are part of a secret club, so why not create a Lost Tooth Club for students?  You can track the exciting day on a tooth chart, design a special bag to hold lost teeth, give them a certificate and have them sing a song to commemorate the special occasion.

The Lost Tooth Troop

Dental Health Unit

Check out this adorable and simple TOOTH POCKET the students can just place under the pillow. The parent can easily find the tooth, remove it and place the cash inside the pocket.Lost Tooth Bag

Laminate these monthly teeth posters to use a dry erase marker to track the month that students lose teeth.  At the end of the year, you can graph the lost teeth, see which month that most students lose teeth, and figure out who has not lost any teeth for the year.Tooth Chart for Kindergarten

Students love interactive notebooks! Have them draw the steps to brushing teeth under the flaps or list adjectives about dental health in their book.Dental Health Interactive Notebook

 

Lost Tooth Envelope

Check out so Awesome Classroom Management Strategies


 

 

5 Awesome Classroom Management Strategies That Really Work

Going to school is very fun and exciting for the younger elementary students. They are experiencing new things and making new friends every day. It can be thrilling for them. However, it is important to set boundaries so that students know that while it is amazing for them to have new experiences, school is a place to learn. Their main job is to listen and learn, and the teacher’s job is to teach.  

The best way to get your classroom running smoothly is by structuring it in a way that students know what is expected of them. To accomplish this, you can start by thinking about how you want your classroom to be run. Look around online or chat with other teachers for inspiration.  

Here are some classroom management strategies you can incorporate into your classroom: 

Build good relationships with your students

This one is the first and most basic management strategy. You want your students to trust you so that they turn to you when there is a problem. They are also more inclined to follow the rules with a teacher they are comfortable with. 

Use a behavior chart for classroom management

This is a clear, visual way for students to understand the behavior that you expect of them. As the year goes on, they will grow to understand it better and strive to do well.

 My editable behavior chart makes it easy for you to track your student’s behavior. It also comes with a data-collecting graph to chart data as well as a poster about Big Problems and Little Problems. classroom management

Assign classroom jobs

I love assigning jobs to my students.  (You can read all about it here.) Giving jobs gives your students a sense of purpose and responsibility in the classroom. It also helps you because it keeps your classroom running smoothly when everyone completes their jobs. Ideas for jobs include line leader, paper passer, book monitor, homework checker, etc. 

These editable classroom jobs help make it easy for you! There are 25 pre-made jobs in two different styles to choose from.  You can also use the editable PowerPoint to personalize your own job chart! The chalkboard makes it easy to fit into any classroom.

Classroom management

Designate a calm down corner

Younger students are still learning how to regulate their emotions. Sometimes they get a little too worked up or upset about something and just need a place to breathe deeply. Assigning a certain area in your classroom as the “Calm Down Corner” will give your students a designated place to go when they need a few minutes of quiet to calm down. 

This calm down corner resource comes with visual cue cards, calm down corner ideas, posters, and printables to collect data, identify triggers and calm down actions.

classroom management

 

Offer Praise

One of the best ways to get students to behave is to praise good behavior. Doing this instead of only correcting bad behavior is a way of using positive reinforcement. Students love to hear that they are doing a good job and praising them when they are will give them a strong incentive to continue that behavior. 

When your classroom management strategies are working and everything is running smoothly, it is magic! When you and your students have found your groove, you can focus more on fun and learning instead of focusing on rules and bad behavior. 

I hope these strategies and resources help you out! If you have a classroom management strategy that you love, I would love to hear about it in the comments!


 

How To Have Fun With Phonics

Phonics are an important part of early reading instruction, and therefore a big part of kindergarten and first grade classrooms. Making connections between written and spoken letters and sounds is absolutely necessary in learning to read, so phonics lessons are well worth the time! In order to teach young students most effectively, a broad range of activities are needed. Children love variety, and luckily there are plenty of ways to teach phonics! 

Learning the relationships between letters and sounds can be- well- a not so interesting topic. In order to keep kids excited and learning, teachers can incorporate fun activities. Phonics lessons can include a broad range of styles, so there are lots of options when choosing the best activities for your class. 

Here are some of my favorite activities for teaching phonics. 

One of the easiest, yet most effective strategies is to use songs! Jack Hartmann phonics songs are easily available on the web, and your students will love singing along while they are learning. 

Another fun activity is frog hop blending. Students can move a toy frog (or a finger) along individual sounds, then blend them together to make a word. 

Make and take books are a perfect option to practice phonics skills and word families at home. Students can create the books at school and practice reading the sounds at home. Throughout the year, you may choose to focus on different word families that the kids can read to their parents. 

As students become more skilled with phonics, you may want to try word building and sentence building activities. They can use familiar letter sounds to create new words, and eventually create entire sentences. 

Looking for a variety of phonics activities for daily use? I have you covered! Check out my Phonics Worksheets for Kindergarten and First Grade

phonics

This bundle includes an entire year’s worth of daily lessons. 

Here are just a few of the resources included: 

  • letter identification 
  • letter sounds
  • building words
  • word family work
  • building sentences
  • writing stories 
  • Sight word lists
  • ABC letter cards
  • Word family books
  • Phonics pocket phones

phonics

With one easy download you’ll be ready to tackle these lessons each day with time-tested strategies.

For more reading strategies, check out my post here! 

What are your favorite reading activities? Let me know in the comments!

phonics