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What Worked Well Wednesday Is All About Rekenreks & Common Core Math!

Rekenreks Big and Small:

Since I retired last summer, I decided to write about something that worked in my classroom last October. I made this giant classroom Rekenrek and my students made their own seasonal ones.
Rekenreks are so cool. Students can instantly recognize any number of beads from 1-10 because they have five red and five white beads so they quickly learn that all of the red beads plus one white equals six.
Scroll down to see how to make your own classroom Rekenreks...
Using our big classroom Rekenrek along with our small seasonal Rekenreks.

I just love Rekenreks.  I learned about them just over two years ago and I have included them in my presentations at conferences for about that long.  They just make math real and the small ones are perfect for Number Talks.

My students LOVED using their Rekenreks with ten frame cards, numeral cards, and number word cards. They just looked at the card and showed the same value on the Rekenrek. This worked great with partners.

Rekenreks Big:

Here is my giant classroom size Rekenrek: (and that's Seba, the cat.)
I think my cat was subitizing.  :o)

(Scroll down to see how to make one for your classroom for under $10.)

Rekenreks Small:

I liked making seasonal Rekenreks with my TK class. Last fall, we made pumpkin Rekenreks with only one row of ten beads; five red and five white.  

Fun Foam pumpkins, pipe cleaners, 5 red pony beads & 5 white pony beads.
I drew 2 tiny dots where the pipe cleaners should pierce the Fun Foam.

We made our first Rekenreks with only one bar of ten beads.
Later, we will add a second bar for the numbers 11-20.

Getting to make their own Rekenrek was FUN and they took better care of them because they made them.
They wrote their name on the back with a felt tip marker.

We added an additional row of ten beads when we made our winter Rekenreks.

So, What Is A Rekenrek?

It's a number rack that was designed by Adrien Treffers, a mathematics curriculum researcher at the Freudenthal Institute in Holland.  By building each row of your Rekenrek with five white beads and five red beads, students can instantly subitize (or instantly recognize the value) the number of beads you slide from the right side to the left side.  

Once students realize that there are five red beads and five white beads, it's easy to quickly slide any number of beads from the right side to the left side without counting.  

They use the 5 red beads as an anchor and they can quickly find six by sliding one white bead, along with the red ones, over to the left side.  It's just as easy to locate the 2nd white bead to slide with the red beads to show seven.

You can download, for FREE, a great booklet filled with ideas for using Rekenreks from the Math Learning Center web site.  CLICK HERE for the direct link.

You should also check out the Math Learning Center's web site by CLICKING HERE.
They have tons of ideas under the <resources> tab.

How To Make A Classroom Rekenrek:

It cost me about $9 for everything and it takes about 30 minutes to make one; 15 minutes if you have help.  

Step 1:  Buy materials

2 pool noodles (The 99 Cent Store still has these.  They are up at the very front of the store.)
2 10-foot lengths of 1/2" PVC pipe  (You need just over 13 feet to make the one above.)
2 elbow joints (for 1/2" pipe)
4 T joints (for 1/2" pipe)
4 end caps (for 1/2" pipe)
A can of solvent (like Goof Off) to remove the lettering on the pipes
Paper towels for removing the lettering

My receipt from Lowe's 

You will also need a bread knife for cutting the pool noodles and a PVC pipe cutter or saw.

Step 2:  Cut the PVC

You will need 2 pieces for the sides that are 36", 2 pieces for the bars that are 30", and 2 pieces for the feet that are 20".  Cut the 20" pieces in half to 10" each.  Cut the 36" piece into 2 pieces:  1 should be 26" and the other should be 10".

My husband cut the PVC while I cut the pool noodles.
By working together, we were able to complete this project in half the time, just 15 minutes.

Step 3:  Cut the pool noodles

Mark the pool noodles to measure 1 1/4" pieces.  You will need 5 of one color and 5 of the other color.  
Using a serrated bread knife, try to make straight cuts.  You can trim them down with scissors if needed.

A serrated bread knife works best for cutting pool noodles.
Use the extra noodles to share with a colleague or check out Pinterest for all the
amazing things you can do with pool noodles in the classroom.

Step 4:  Assemble your Rekenrek

Slide the pool noodles onto the bars and attach the sides and bars to the joints.
You can add glue to the inside of the joints to make it more durable. 

One elbow joint and one T joint.

From left to right: Elbow joint, 10" of PVC, T-joint, 26" of PVC, T-joint, 10" of PVC, cap.
The next part will be the other 10" piece of PVC for the 2nd half of the stand and a cap.

The feet.  Each side is 10 inches.

One complete side.
The top half is 10" tall.  The bottom is 26" tall.

You can see the writing on the pipes.  Next step is to remove that.

Step 5:  Clean the pipes

Clean the writing off with a solvent like Goof Off.  Spray it on a paper towel (outside) and rub it on the lettering until it is all gone.  Rinse the solvent off of the pipes before bringing it to school.

That's all there is to it !!!

And there's an app for that:

Click the image to view the app.
Perfect for iPads or iPad minis.  Also works on iPods and iPhones.

  Or you can buy them here:

Click the image to see the product's site.

Looking for more FALL MATH ideas?
Check out the bloggers who link up below:

Alphabet Small Group Intervention Tools

Hi friends! This is Yukari from A Pinch of Kinder and I have been thinking long and hard for what to share with you for my featured post! 

Today I'm posting about something that is very important to my planning and that is interventions. We are very data driven at our school for both language and math. But what do we do with all of that data we collect? Here is what I do for language at the beginning of the year. 

First I assess all students on their letter identification and sound production and record the data.  Here are the sheets that I use. Click on the image below to download them for free!

Since I teach JK/SK (or Pre-K/K) we only perform letter interventions at the beginning of the year for our SK's.  So I look through the SK assessment sheets and write down the students name for each letter they still need to learn the letter name or sound for.

It looks like this:

I used fake names to show you what it might look like!
Do you know what TV show they are from? :P

Then I get to grouping my students for interventions.

I teach my intervention groups in McCracken letter order.  I'm sure you can do it in any order but this is what has worked well for me.  The McCracken letter order is:

M, S, F, B, T
C, A, R, L, P
O, D, G, N, W
I, H, J, K, V
Q, Y, U, Z, X

I can usually get through 3-4 letters a week.

So for the first week I might plan:

Monday: Meet with M group #1: Morgan, Mindy and Danny

Tuesday: Meet with M group #2: Jeremy, Beverly and Tamra

Wednesday: Meet with S group #1: Danny, Morgan

Thursday: Meet with S group #2: Tamra, Jeremy

Friday: Meet with F group #1: Morgan, Jeremy, Mindy, Beverly and Tamra (I will only meet with 2-3 kids but I write all of their names down so that I make enough copies for everyone who needs an F book.  Then I will meet with the second group on the following Monday.)

Here is what my intervention basket looks like:

It includes: Whiteboards, The Alphabet QR Books, Alphabet Linking Charts, Verbal Path for the Formation of Letters Sheet, Crayons, Markers, Expo Markers, Date Stamper and the Letter Booklets. And pencils/erasers. But they are missing from the picture because someone took my pencil bin when I wasn't looking and now I can't find it... #reallife

For the actual intervention lesson we:

1. Recite the alphabet linking chart (mine is from the LLI kit, there are lots of free ones if you search on TPT!) or read our QR Code Alphabet Book.

(You can read more about the QR Code Alphabet Book by clicking here.)

2. Write our name on our letter booklet and talk about the letter and letter sound we will be learning today.

3. Learn the path of motion (I use the "Verbal Path for the Formation of Letters" sheet from the LLI kit as a guide but you can make up your own wording too) for the uppercase and lowercase letter and practice printing them.

For example for A you might say

"Slant, slant, across"

and for a you might say

"Make a c and pull down"

4. Read the mini book portion together.  Students take turns answering what the picture on each page is using the initial sound.  Then I read the sentence and model pointing at each word as I read.  Finally the students read.

5. Have students color the circles with the focus letter in it.

6.  I start pulling 1 student at a time to do the last page with me while the others are working on step 5.  I have the student say the word for the picture and circle the picture if it has the focus letter at the beginning and put an X if it does not.  I like to do this 1 on 1 so I get a quick assessment on their beginning sound identification each time we meet.

Once they are done their booklet it goes in their book boxes and they have a book they can read independently at independent reading time.  At the end of the week they take the books home to share with their family :)

We also send home these personalized alphabet books.  I use the data I gain from our September alphabet assessment to put these books together.  

This post is already getting super long so if you want to learn more about the personalized alphabet books you can read more about that here.

And as a thank you for reading this long post I am giving you a free week of alphabet intervention booklets! It includes the letters M, S and F.  Click on the image below to download the booklets!

I will also leave all of my intervention resources 20% off until Wednesday! Click on the image below if you would like to check them out.

I hope that this is useful for those of you who are new to Kindergarten! 

Thank you for reading!

What Worked Well Wednesday - Kindergarten Spelling Program

Hi everyone! 

 It's Cori from Mrs. B's Beehive, for our weekly What Worked Well Wednesday post!  Today I wanted to share with you the resources I use for my spelling program!

When I first started teaching, I created a spelling program based on sight words.  As the years went by, I began to feel that a program based on sight words was only encouraging memorization.  I felt like that strategy wasn't getting to the core of what a spelling program should be, which in my opinion was to apply the phonics and language skills that they had learned in my language arts program to spell unknown words.

I searched around TPT for a product that might meet my needs, and came across this one from Khrys Bosland:

Supplemental Spelling Program for Kindergarten {Reading St

My school does not use Reading Street, but the set-up and the structure of the spelling lists were perfect, and I believe that this is a resource that could be used in any classroom, regardless of what basal program you use.

The product comes with spelling lists for each week.  I don't begin my lists until week 7 of the school year, when the students are just starting to get some letter sound knowledge, and we've already established homework packet routines.

The program starts out with 4 words, and by the end of the year, it increases to 10.  Many of the words used for the spelling lists are common CVC, CCVC, and CVCe words.  I take this opportunity to also review word families.  I use Marsha Maguire's word family posters to display words that we have already went over in our spelling program.  At the end of each week, we add the words that we worked on to our word family wall.

During the week, the students have a practice sheet, where they can choose different ways to practice writing their spelling words.  This sheet is turned in at the end of the week.  If  you would like a free copy of this spelling word practice sheet to use, just click on the image below!

On Friday we take our spelling tests.  We are just starting for this year, so some students are easily writing all the words, some students are just getting the beginning sounds, and some students are writing jibberish : ) The joys of teaching kindergarten, and all the different levels that our students enter into our class with! : )

After setting up my spelling program like this, I noticed a HUGE jump in my students reading scores at the end of the year!  I had all but two students at first grade reading level and many above that at the end of the year.  Every year, my class is comprised of 100% ELL's, some know more English than others.  Their capacity to learn not only how to speak a new language, but to read and write in it as well never ceases to amaze me.  The two that were below, came in with zero English at the beginning of the year, and even though they did not get to first grade level, they made ENORMOUS strides in their reading and writing.  I credit the increase in my students' reading scores to this new spelling program, that encompasses so much of the phonics and word family skills they need to be successful, and utilizes very little class time to reinforce these skills!

I hope this spelling information can be of use to you!  Please link up below with the Kinder Tribe to share what worked well for you in your classrooms!!

Getting Started with Writer's Workshop

Hello Kinder friends!  It's Heather here from Learning with Mrs. Langley and I am excited to be sharing with you today.

Do you teach Writer's Workshop?  Have you ever wondered how to get started?  This post is for you!  I've had a lot of questions lately about how I get my workshop started every year so today I will share with you! 

#1 Check out these authors!
I've witnessed teachers jumping into WW without any background. Writer's Workshop is centered around writer's choice, daily writing practice, and individual conferring from the teacher.  It's important to understand this before getting started.  Here are my a few of my favorite authors that keep me going. 

#2 Get ready with materials. 
Even before you teach your first mini lesson you will need to have some key materials ready to go.  I teach all of my mini lessons at an easel on large chart paper so at the beginning of the year I make sure I have plenty of chart paper ready.  
The students will be using notebooks so I like to make sure I have plastic folders they can keep their papers in.  I also keep a date stamp so we can stamp their page each day.  This is really fun to look back with parents at conferences and see what they were writing about on a certain day and also to document growth.

#3 Paper
I start out our Writer's Workshop routine at the beginning of the year with this paper: 
Plain and simple so we can focus on illustrations and telling a story through pictures.  We use this for at least the first 4-5 weeks before we start writing any words at the bottom to go with our story.  It's all about story telling in the beginning!
 Click on the picture to get this FREEBIE in my store.
#4 Resources
Many of your first mini lessons will be about using resources.  I include these resources in the back of the journals for students to use.  I don't add them until I teach the mini lesson.  It makes it more exciting for them to get something new! 
Click on the picture to get this FREEBIE in my store.
#5 Mini Lessons
The HARDEST part about teaching writer's workshop for me has always been the lessons.  Where do I go next?  What do I teach first?  My favorite mini lesson ideas come from Jessica Meacham.  She has so many resources on her website and I get all of my mini lesson guidance from her.  You will not be disappointed, I promise. 

Another great resource is Busy Teacher's Cafe.  They have links to all kinds of resources.  I used this one a lot when I taught upper grades.

My favorite part of the day is Writer's Workshop.  Magical things happen when you sit back and let them write.  

"I am fighting a dragon and saving my girlfriend."

    They are so proud to share their stories during share time.  It's the very best part of the day!   Remember those colored folders we use as notebooks?  I schedule a different color every day to share, that way they always know when it's their turn.  They love to share!

Thanks so much for stopping by Kinder Tribe today.  It was so fun sharing with you today.  
Thank you! Heather