Fall Comparison Centers

With Fall right around the corner, I decided to structure some new comparing number centers around some of my favorite Fall attributes. Not only will the kiddos practice math concepts, but they will form associations of some colors and objects that represent the crisp Autumn season.

Over the next three months, my kinders are going to be comparing numbers to 5, 10, and finally to 20 in November. For some students, comparing numbers is very tricky to grasp mostly because of the interchangeable vocabulary. For this reason, I've decided to pull out all the fun and most engaging pieces for my students to use while practice comparisons and learning key phrases.

My engaging collection includes (but is not limited to) playdoh, giant dice, dry erase/chalkboard dice, mini dice, a deck of cards, number spinners, Target $1 Spot erasers, building blocks, expo markers, and potentionally sunflower seeds to look like pumpkin seeds. I use these type of tools for my students to feel excited about the learning process because once they're hooked - our learning soars!

For September, I will add the acorn/basket mat to our bi-weekly rotations. We are comparing numbers to 5 and some will be ready to compare to 10+.

There are two different options for this mat. You can use a deck of cards (pictured above) or practice rolling two dice and having the students compare the numbers in a similar fashion.  Students will work in pairs to share a deck of cards and counters. (Apples erasers are from Target last year) Students will take turn flipping two cards over and comparing the numbers orally. As I'm walking by, I expect to hear, "4 is greater than 3" or "3 is less than 4". Using this mat, students are comparing, using academic vocabulary, writing numbers, costing, and representing. 

During October,  I will pull the candy corn mat. The concept is identical, but I plan on switching my pieces out to keep my students excited about the resource. This time, I'll replace my Apple "counters" for some playdoh cans and switch out my cards for some oversized dice. 

Another suggestion, if you purchased the chalkboard or dry erase dice from Target last summer. You could easily toss those in with numbers to 12 and let students compare even higher than 10 since you're inputting the numbers of your choice. Chalkboard/dry erase dice make it easy to meet the needs of all your students. 

In November, my kindergarten students will represent and compare numbers up to 20. I plan on using my pumpkin mat for this. As of now, I'm pretty sold on the idea of letting the kids use expo markers to draw in little seeds to represent the numbers. (Another fun way - dry beans or sunflower seeds)

Again, I've used the came concept and skill type to ensure the success of my students. I've only switched up the pieces and the way the mat looks to keep their engagement level going strong. For November, I will use the spinner within the resource (not pictured), chalkboard dice, and a double deck of cards to help my students practice comparing numbers to 20. 

I think this center will be a great addition to my classroom. It's engaging, fun, and will keep my students accountable. You can view this center and purchase it by visiting my Teachers Pay Teachers Shop!

Center Space

Personally, I think having as little to no dead space in a classroom would be ideal. My classroom was built in 1950 and was not set up to house as many items or children as it does today. With this, I knew that something had to give in order to provide my students with the learning opportunities that I had in mind for them.

To maximize space, I build my classroom around the focus of our learning centers. I teach kindergarten and center time is crucial during the day. My students get the majority of their hands on practice during reading and math rotations, so I want them to be comfortable and enjoy this time. I've utilized the four corners of my room for centers and use furniture to create dividers as much as possible.

My center locations do not move - they're labeled areas and my center buckets correspond with the location. Within these areas, I've implemented flexible seating because the majority of our learning minutes are around the room in centers or at the small group table (which also houses flex seating options). For word work, I was able to give this small area an affordable facelift this year, and I'm beyond thrilled with the outcome.

If you're looking to add on or enhance your word work center, I highly recommend grabbing an oil drip pan and some industrial strength velcro from Walmart and attaching them to a solid surface or old furniture. The oil drip pan is pretty large and hangs easily with this velcro. The velcro package claims to hold the weight of 10lbs so the pan should not move or fall down easily.  To learn more about the oil drip pan from Walmart - visit this link.