Nature Play On Vancouver Island

Nature Kindergarten On Vancouver Island

Student Success In Math Centres



Have a clear understanding of your goal. I see children as competent, curious and capable I know that the students will be joyful learners if I am doing my job well. Here are  the
goals considered when developing a  program:

1.    Students are invested in their community and enjoy
      rigorous work.
2.    Students work well in an organized, beautiful space.
3.    Students should be treated with interest, respect and 
       high expectations.
4.    Kindness, patience and time are integrated into the
5.    Knowing and reflecting their interests is a priority.


1.    Invest time to teach your expectations. Students 
       need to fully understand how to access materials, 
       clean up, bathroom rules, movement and how to 
       work with a learning partner.

2.    Provide explicit teaching on student jobs and
       responsibilities such as walking, transporting, 
       clean up.

3.    Label and organize materials so that students can
       easily find, use and return materials.

4.     Put your students in learning partners based upon 
        who works well together. It is important to take the
        social part into consideration. If students clash then 
        you'll have to manage behaviours.

5.     Keep assessment current and use the assessment
        to plan your program including the math centres.

6.     Provide choice for students. For example if a math
        centre is really popular try to offer multiples. I 
        include a must do centre and a choice centre.
7.     Monitor the time for math play. I usually have 10
       minutes for each centre. Students finish the centre                 and then can transition themselves to another choice.
       I don't use a bell system or move the children, instead
       they move to the second centre when finished. 

8.    Take the time to teach directions. If the students do 
       not understand what to do they will most likely be
       off task. 

9.    Make sure that you have a drop box for students to
       put finished products if the activity has one. Most of
      mine are games so there are only a few.  

10.   Teach and practice the end of math play i.e.: I ring
        a bell, they finish the activity, tidy up quietly and join 
        me for a story, math lesson and transition to the 
        next activity such as lunch or recess. If for some reason
        I am not ready I ring the bell and take another minute            with my small group. Early finishers have a choice of 
        two partner games to play at the gathering area while
        they wait, Number Flashes or How Many?,  both of 
        these are finger math games that require no resources. 
11.    Use familiar centres to provide continuous practice of
        concepts introduced. It reduces my work load and 
        provides students with confidence, allowing them
        to quickly settle into the activity. I often use the same
        games and switch up the challenge. For example, 
        math domino cards may have different representations 
        like number and dot number and another week the
        same game but shapes. No instruction is required.

12.    Teach new math centres in small groups. This allows
        your math centres to run smoothly. You are able to
        connect with the group while playing the game 
        with them, answer any questions and guide the play.
        It also allows you to target students with specific
        skill practice when needed. 

Thanks for stopping by,


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