Math Centers - Review Previous Skills

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Students will be able to independently practice graphing, teen numbers, and addition.

Big Idea

In order to pull small groups during math instruction, the rest of the students need engaging activities that they can complete independently. These centers allow students to practice a variety of math skills including addition.

Problem of the Day

5 minutes

I start each math lesson with a Problem of the Day.  I use the procedures outlined here on Problem of the Day Procedures.

Today's Problem of the Day:

Sarah has 3 pencils.  Robert has 5 pencils.  How many pencils do they have all together?

For this problem, I created a Notebook file with a picture of a pencil with infinite cloner so that students can use it to represent the problem using pictures.  I also put a number sentence frame on the bottom to help students set up the number sentence.  If you do not have a SMARTBoard, you can use the PDF file.  You could also have the students solve the problem by drawing a picture or using real pencils or other manipulatives.

I have one student come up and work on this problem.  I remind student to check his or her work when they are finished and have the class tell if they agree or disagree by showing a thumbs up or thumbs down.  I am also looking for students to explain how they solved the problem (Mathematical Practice 3: Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others).

Introducing Centers

25 minutes

I use math centers in my classroom as a way to reinforce the skills that are being taught.  Students are able to practice the skills we are currently working on as well go back and revisit the skills taught in previous units.  The math centers give students are chance to work independently or with their peers to complete a task.  The students are not just learning and practicing number skills, they are also working on social skills including taking turns, sharing, and working cooperatively.  Having students working in centers also allows me time to pull small groups of student to my table to work on skills specific to their needs.

I have the students move into a circle.  I remind students to sit on the hard floor so that there is space for everyone.  I bring up all of the center trays.  I explain and model how to complete each center.  This week's centers are:

Addition Word Problems (I used a Lakeshore Read and Solve Word Problems Center.  You can also use these Addition Word Problem Cards that I made.)
Easter Egg Addition (Available free from Teachers Pay Teachers)
Goldfish Graphing (Available free from Teachers Pay Teachers)
Piggy Bank Addition (Available free from Mrs. Ricca's Kindergarten)
Sweater Math Match-Up (Available free from Teachers Pay Teachers)


Each center is explained in the video located in the next section.

Explanation of Centers

The following centers are kept in a stack of plastic drawers in my classroom.  Each drawer has a number on it which corresponds to the numbers on the student tables.  The students take the center out of their numbered drawer, compete the center and return it to that same drawer when it is time to clean up.

Click on each center below to see a video explanation.

Addition Word Problems
Easter Egg Addition
Goldfish Graphing
Piggy Bank Addition
Sweater Math Match-Up


20 minutes

Once I have introduced all of the centers, I have the students go back to their seats.  I remind students of our center rules.  Students need to work quietly and stay at their seats.  Materials need to remain on the table and be cleaned up quickly and quietly when the clean up song comes on.  I call up one student from each table to come back and get their center.  I circulate through the room to make sure that all of the centers are being done correctly.  We have been doing centers for a while now and all of these centers are about skills that we have already covered, so I pull e groups today to work on decomposing.  

Once students are set with centers, I begin working on decomposing numbers with small groups. I give students a number and have the students count out that many counters and then show me two different ways to decompose the number.  I group the students based on how they did on this question on the addition test.  The questions on decomposing numbers were the most missed questions. 

Prior to taking the last group, I count down from 5 and say "Freeze."  When I say this, all students stop what they are doing, put their hands on their heads and look at me.  This is a procedure that we use throughout the day.  I say to students, "You have about five minutes left.  Remember when the clean up song comes on, you need to quietly put all of your materials back in your container and return it to the math center drawer.  It needs to be in the drawer that matches your table number."  I let the students work for five more minutes and then turn on Tidy Up by Dr. Jean. There are many wonderful transition songs to be found, for free, online if you'd like to use music for transitions too. Students clean up and return to their seats. 

Students Working:

Addition Word Problems
Easter Egg Addition
Goldfish Graphing
Sweather Math Match-Up