Math center is the place where students are able to integrate math into their reading.
It is typically easier to integrate reading into math; I love to read stories in math.
It is a lot harder to connect math into reading, so I work very hard to do this every week with my math center! Cross-curricular activities are extremely important in Kindergarten as they really strengthen students' learning while making meaningful real-life connections! And, with the shift to more informational text, I like to make sure that students can still be exposed to and enjoy literature when possible!
Finally, this center makes math and reading FUN!
Although this is a literacy center, I can typically cover multiple math standards as well. As detailed in this particular lesson, students will be working with K.CC.A.1, K.CC.A.3, K.CC.B.4, and K.MD.B.3. In the end, it is really important to teach our students that math can be found within many different types of reading!
What I use to begin:
A book with a math-related skill that I have previously read in whole group
(I use a book that we have read in whole group because I know that students will all have had access to the same information. Also, I like to use books that students enjoyed and are familiar with because they are more likely to make the cross-curricular-connection between reading and math.)
This center may sound difficult but it isn’t as complicated as it may seem.
There are many ways that I can create this center to support my standards!
Students can read a story and then do a simple counting or graphing activity with the characters or items in the story. They can sort and count types of characters in a story using classification skills.
Students love to make patterns with the characters from stories. They can even experience addition and subtraction through the plot of different stories! I love to include stories with number words as well! In the end, there are so many options to choose from where I don’t have to create too much!
What I do to set up the center:
- I put a copy of the math-related story in the bucket.
- I make sure all of the materials needed are in the bucket.
- I make sure the math activity has characters or items related to the story.
- I make sure to either include a response sheet or have students complete an activity that I can check to use as my assessment.
- I include additional math activities for extra practice for students who finish early.
- I make sure students have access to needed manipulatives or tools.
* For the first round of centers in the year, I let students copy part of my example that is available in the bucket. I do this so they will know from the beginning what my expectations will be for completing their work and to build their confidence from their first exposure.
For example, I might begin my center at the beginning of the year by having students complete a color by number with Mrs. Bindergarten (to connect the story to math). Since this would be their first time to independently complete a math activity at centers, I will have an example of the color by number where I have colored some of each number with the correct color. Students can use my sheet as a reference and then finish the rest. At the end, they can count how many they see of each number and that is what I can assess.
*I tend to have students do math activities every other round of centers. I like to alternate between activities and math-related books. I really like for students to create math books that support our standards, where they count and label or draw numbers of items on pages; this is something they can take home to read to practice reading and math fluency!
*As the year goes on, I make sure that the activities in this center are aligned with what our current math skill might be.
For example, when we are working on patterns, I will have them put the characters from a story, like Ms. Bindergarten in patterns. When we are working on counting, I might have students draw certain numbers of coconuts on the trees and even extend to add them (and relate it to Chicka Chicka Boom Boom). Or, after reading Mrs. Bindergarten's 100th Day of Kindergarten, students can complete this cute Counting by 10's to 100 Math Activity.
*This center is really easy to mold to the needs of my students and it can match any book or book series we are working with!
Here is a really cute activity we did for ordering numbers. We read Ten Apples Up On Top by Dr. Seuss and then connected that to number order in our math center. Students worked on this Math Activity for Ten Apples Up On Top and then they worked ona Practice Sheet for Ten Apples Up On Top.
The student directions are as follows:
- Look over and read or re-tell the story with your partner.
(This part is important so students can practice their speaking and listening skills while also coming to an agreement or common summary. When students talk their way through this, they are able to start the activity with the same beginning point.)
- Complete your math activity with manipulatives.
(Manipulatives are important in this case. Manipulatives are able to provide students with diverse entry points while also supporting those who may need a more concrete connection. It is also important here that students are able to differentiate between types of manipulatives (or learning tools) and when to use them.)
*Here is a picture of my students using some manipulatives to complete a Brown Bear, Brown Bear counting and graphing activity.
- Complete your response sheet or book, based on your work with the manipulatives, OR, complete your work and leave it available for the teacher to check it.
(It is important that students have ownership of their work. Here, whether students turn something in or explain something to the teacher, they are able to be assessed and also to feel confident that they know the material.)
*Here is a close-up image of the manipulatives needed for the Brown Bear, Brown Bear counting and graphing activity response sheet.
- Check your work with your partner. Turn it in.
(It is crucial that students check their work with a partner. Especially with math, students can arrive at the same answer in different ways; it is always good when students can teach each other. I always love to hear students respectfully disagreeing with each other and then talking through a problem and justifying their answer.)
- Find another math activity you’d like to review and work on it (alone or with your partner).
(Some students will always finish early. It is important at math center that students be able to still focus on reading-connected math activities. I make sure that math activities are available for students to review all sorts of math standards to help with spiral review and the development of continual learning.)
As with all of my centers, I check my students' work after center time is over. I make sure to write anecdotal notes for parents as well as reinforcements or refinements. Reinforcements and refinements are important to both students and parents because they provide both good and bad feedback and tell students hoe they can improve their efforts.
In addition to grading students' work, I also try to talk to students at one point during this center.
I love to go and hear students' thoughts as they relate their math skills to their reading topic. It is important that students be able to verbalize their reasoning because it shows their ownership and understanding of the standards or topics being covered. If students can successfully talk about something with understanding, they can usually do it very well!
Sometimes, I may decide to throw the response sheet by the wayside and instead have students leave their work and explain it to me- this way, I can assess them orally and visually see their manipulative representations!