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math centre


Now that the snow has finally come, this is a great time to hunt for “jewels” in the playground.  To begin you need several ice cube trays and fill with water and add a drop of food colouring of your choice into the water.  Allow to freeze overnight.  The next day before heading outside for playtime, fill up plastic baggies and take them with you. Spread them out in designated areas or you can hide them and use them for math questions…..can you find 10?, Can you sort these by colour and count? etc. 

We called them jewels to make it exciting!


In the Early Learning Kindergarten Program, one of our curriculum areas is numeracy.  Throughout the year, we have integrated numeracy into our daily routines.  But this week, I wanted to focus on number recognition.

In our math centre, I put a spinner with the numbers 5 to 12 on it.  I also printed off 3 sheets with that had  8 squares on it and inside each square was a number of objects to match the numbers on the spinner.  I laminated the sheets so I could use them again, and again.  I chose those numbers because all of our students can already recognize the numbers 1 to 4.

During a large group instruction time, I introduced the game to the children.  I explained that 3 children could play at one time.  The first child could spin the spinner.  That child had to find the square that had the matching number of objects to the number the spinner landed on.  The children could continue to play until one child filled their card and matched all of the numbers.  I took a turn once so they could see how to do it.  I also made sure I was sitting beside the math centre for most of the first day, in case they students needed help when they were playing.

To use to mark matches on the squares, I used magnetic numbers.  They gave them visual reinforcement.  However, you could use bingo chips, coins, or anything else that works for your classroom.


For the past couple of days, I have been ensuring that each child in our Early Learning Kindergarten class had an opportunity to conduct a survey. 

Once each child was done, I met with them individually to assess their knowledge of what the survey meant.  I asked them to tell me something about the survey using the word “more” and something using the word “yes”.  Almost every child told me which column had more, and which had less, using complete sentences.  I think this knowledge comes from the graph we do every morning.

Now that I know the children are capable of interpreting surveys and graphs, I decided to use a different survey.  In the Nelson Mathematics book, there is a survey that you can reproduce that says “Do you like ___ more than ___”.  I photocopied this survey and used “apple” and “banana” for the blanks.  I used stickers for those that can’t read the words.

The first group of children today enjoyed this survey too.  I left additional copies in our math centre, and a few of the children chose to do the survey during play time.


Today I demonstrated how to conduct a simple survey to our Early Learning Kindergarten class.  I drew 2 columns, each with 10 squares in it.  At the bottom of one column, I had a smiley face.  At the bottom of the other, I drew a sad face.  At the top of the page, I drew an ice cream cone.  I asked the children who liked ice cream, and then wrote their names in the boxes.  Once I had both columns with some names in them (there was only one in the “don’t like” column!), I asked if more people liked ice cream or didn’t like ice cream.  We reviewed the concept of more/less. 

I printed off some copies of the survey and put them in the math centre with some clipboards and pencils.  I told the students they could do surveys anytime they chose to.  Some surveys had pictures of ice creams, some had pictures of pizza and some had pictures of spiders.  This gave the children the ability to choose which one they wished to do. I also showed the children how to make a checkmark, or an “x” in the squares.  This gave them the option of completing a survey more easily if a child wasn’t ready to print other students’ names. 

The children enjoyed going around the room and asking their friends questions.  This activity also gave some of the more quiet, and shy students an opportunity to approach more children and practise their social skills.


In our math centre today, I put candy cane shapes and different coloured pom poms.  The children glued the pom poms on the candy cane in a pattern.  I wanted to see if they remembered how to create patterns on their own from when we did our unit on patterns a month ago.  To my delight, each child that did this activity remembered AB patterns, and some even remembered AABB and ABC patterns.

Once they were done their pattern, they brought it over to me and we practised counting skills by counting how many pom poms they used.


Today we reviewed AABB patterns. I decided to use concrete tools to help the children learn the pattern. So, I used the children themselves!
First, I had the children line up according to gender. I used half of the class as the example, and let the other students tell me how to line the children up to form an AABB pattern. Then, I switched groups and had the children use hair colour (blonde & brunette) to create the pattern. The students who had been in the gender line up had the opportunity to tell me how to organize this pattern.
Once we had finished, we divided into groups of 6 children. Each group had their own space within the classroom and were asked to create their own patterns using themselves. I made sure each group had both junior and senior kindergarten students.
One group used the clour of their pants. Another used velcro shoes and shoes with laces. The other groups recreated the gender and hair colour patterns.
It was great seeing the students learning the concept of patterns with concrete examples.


The children are still interested in shapes.  So today, I decided to let them use shapes to create with.

At the math centre, I provided pre-cut shapes for the children who do not have scissor skills, and traced shapes for the children who are capable of cutting the shapes out on their own, or those who want to try with the help of one of the teachers.  I also provided sheets of paper, glue, and markers.  The children cut, or used the pre-cut shapes to create pictures.

Some of the children created people.  They used squares as the body, circles for the head and rectangles for arms and legs.  Some children created vehicles using the rectangles as the body of the car and circles for wheels.  One little boy created a rocket ship.

The children really enjoyed having the ability and freedom to create whatever picture they wanted to, and it was a great way to reinforce basic shapes.


The children are still excited and talking about the sunflowers.  This has been leading to discussing other flowers as well.  Some of the students are even bringing us flowers from their gardens at home.

Because of their interest in flowers, I changed out the math centre to a seed sorting activity.  We have plastic sorting trays and containers of mixed seeds.  I put out sunflower seeds, corn, pumpkin seeds and bean seeds.  These seeds are a little larger and easier for the students to handle. 

Once I sat at the math centre, and began sorting the seeds, the children wanted to know what I was doing.  I had sparked their interest.  They all wanted to show me that they know how to sort the seeds into different groups, especially our new students.  They wanted to do the activity during free play, as well as during our math play time. 

Tomorrow, I am going to incorporate our science centre (while the children are still interested) into something about seeds.