Monday, April 1, 2013

Hands On Learning Centers

I love having simple, inexpensive, easy-to-make,  Hands-On Learning Centers for the children to use.  The kids can choose from a variety of centers I have out during Independent Center time or if they finish an activity early.  These centers are also great for RTI.  I love that it just seems like playing, while it is constantly reinforcing concepts and giving the children opportunities to interact with each other.  Plus, the activities take no time to make and if anything breaks, it can easily be replaced.  Of course I love my more expensive, store-bought centers, too, but these are great centers that I can easily make and use in the classroom or send home with a student for extra reinforcement without spending much money at all!

The Spoon Matching Centers have been lots of fun for the kids this year!  When you make them, just remember to write one set higher on the spoon than the other set. :)

I add some different Math Spoon Match sets to the mix for a little variety on certain days.   I also have dots on some spoons to go with the number instead of the addition facts for another set.  I have a separate set of only facts to 5 for most of my kids now.  Some of them love the challenge of facts to 10.  You could also have the kids record the addition facts on a recording sheet after finishing the sorting as an assessment. I usually have the kids work in pairs and check each other.  They love any chance they get to be the "teacher" and take this very seriously! 

These Stacking Cups (just the little plastic Dixie cup size) are so much fun.  This is my "5" set.  I made these red and store them in a red bin, so they don't get mixed up with another number set of another color.  I have noticed that working with these cups has  helped the kids when we do "Number Talks" on the rug.  It helps them think of different ways to make numbers- tally marks, dots, writing the word, facts. 
When I work with a small group, sometimes I will choose 3 of the "5" cups and hide a nickel under one of the cups.  They have to tell me the number fact they think the nickel is under.  This is a little filler at the end of a small group lesson time, and it is just a way to work the nickel (5 cents) into the "5" cups.  I have a set of "10" cups- and, you guessed it, I hide a dime underneath. 

I also have a set of stacking cups with numbers 0-20 on them to reinforce number recognition.  My kids are pretty solid with number recognition now- except for an occasional 12 and 20 mix up.  Sometimes I only use the 11-20 cups just to reinforce the children saying the teen numbers and working with them.  

The cups came in a HUGE bag on sale, so I had lots to use!  :)  These are some of my sight word cups.  My wonderful mother comes in to help work with a group of my children during my center time.  If a child is having a tricky time with certain words, sometimes I will have her use those cups- and hide a bear counter under one to have the child guess where it may be. Any fun game we can think of to help reinforce tricky words!   If  3 words are really tricky for a child, I might make 5 cups each of those words and have that child use only those  15 cups to play with and then take that set home.  They think it is a wonderful gift and lots of fun- instead of sight word reading practice.   

The other fun game of the week seemed to be this one.  I haven't come up with a clever name for it yet.  I made it because our window shade broke, and instead of a broken window shade, I saw a great game board for the class!  I wrote 4 sets of our sight words on the shade in 4 different colors. The four players each sit by a color and have that color teddy bear counters to put on the word.  The kids take turns saying a word and all the others find that word and mark it with a counter.  I also have fly swatters and I thought of swatting the word, but the counters are less CRAZY and then the children know which words have been called.  This is such a great way to watch the kids help each other and take turns. 

On the back, I have one set of sight words written bigger that I use for a beanbag toss game.  The next broken shade is going to be NUMBERS!  

There you have some of our favorite non-technological, hands-on,
easy-and-inexpensive-to-make center activities!

Thank you for visiting.   Happy Teaching!

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