Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I failed to put all the top beads on the right side when I took the photograph.  I noted it was important to establish the norm that all the beads should be on the right end of the string as the problem begins. The importance of this is that students learn that once the beads move from the right they become "in play" as they slide them from the right to the middle or left.

The suggestion is that the beads are moved in clusters whenever possible to do so.  To promote subitization by modeling sliding the beads in groups instead of counting them as individuals. Kinders would start with only 5 beads so that they can solidify the number relationships from zero to five.

When ten beads are used it is strongly suggested to use only two colors so that the focus is on five and ten.  Advanced students' Rekenrek can be extended to 40 beads which I will be doing with my second grade math class.  The emphasis is thinking in groups of 5 and 10 even as the numbers get larger.

The beginning demonstration should have all beads on the right side as you are facing it. Refer to this as orientaiton or "Start Position" and constantly reinforce that "Start Point" using the top row to demo to younger students.  Inquire what students notice about the Rekenrek and encourage all possible answers whether you hear 2 colors, some red, some white, five colors of each bead, ten beads in a row etc.  Some focus questions could be..."How many red beads are on the top line?" "How many beads are there in all?"  "Do you see more red beads, or white beads?"  It was suggested that after some open ended questions, inform the student to explore or work with the Rekenrek and come up with a discovery about the Rekenrek that they can share with their classmates.

Next, have them put the beads in start position.  Tell them without touching the beads count three beads in their mind. On the count of three slide all three beads at once across the string.  Do this with several numbers to encourage the movement of the beads in one push across the sting.  Okay more later....

I made one!

Well I tried making the Rekenrek and it will work.  The cost was $ 1.00 for the 6 x 9 whiteboard at Dollar Tree, red and white pony beads $ 1.97 for a pack of each color with 500 beads in them, and 1/4 inch elastic which is a great size because the beads are secure on the elastic which cost $ .97 for 4 yards.  I cut the elastic 15 1/2 inches long and tied it in the back.  It can be sewed too but didn't want to pull out the sewing machine after a long day working in my classroom.  Therefore the most expensive thing was the dry erase boards.  It could be slipped on and off like a rubber band when not in use and serve a dual purpose.  Here it is!

What I like about it is.....the students have the small whiteboard that they can write the
equation below the beads.  The little white board has the dry erase marker and eraser...I bought 5
boards just to see if it would work.  More later....coffee time.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Arithmetic Rack or Rekenrek as noted by Math Coach!

I explored the Rekenrek or arithmetic rack when I read about it on Math Coach's Blog. I was impressed with the research I did on it this weekend.  After all, with Common Core we will dig
deeper allowing students to develop powerful understandings of numbers, the meaning of those
numbers, their relationship to one another, and of course how to operate with them. I noted from
my readings that counters, number lines, base-10 blocks and other manipulative items are limited, as a means of cultivating number sense, or to fostering a student's understanding of both addition and subtraction.

It was stated that the Rekenrek or arithmetic rack has emerged as perhaps the most powerful of all
models for young learners. This tool combines the features of the number line, counters, and base-10 models, and I think we can make them easily.  Math Coach had a model on her blog.  I thought about
the dry erase boards from Dollar Tree which are not really that big. I considered using those putting the beads on elastic that could slide on and off easily. Like killing two birds with one stone.  I haven't tried it yet, but I will check it out. I did find the racks online and some were as cheap as $ 5.00 and perhaps, when I get my school allocations I might purchase enough for my small group teaching.

I created the one above in my Smart Notebook and my students will be capable of manipulating it since I teach them how to group objects. They suggested one move to create a number instead of single sliding of  beads. It was suggested that the model could be adapted to accommodate varied levels of students.  Kinders will only need one string to 5. It was stated that the Rekenrek combines features of the number line, counters and base-10 models which makes it highly effective.

The strategy focuses on the highlighting of groups of 5 which offers a visual for early learners as they enter the beginning stages of understanding that one number may be a combination of two or more other numbers. As I created the model above, the student will visually see the number 8 as two distinct parts or one group of 5 and three more.  On the other hand a student that is more advanced may see the number 15 as a group of 10 and 5 more.

It was noted that using the Rekenrek which focuses on 5 and 10 is instrumental in helping children visualize numbers, seeing them as collections of objects in groups.  "This strategy of seeing numbers "inside" other numbers - particularly 5 and 10 - is a precursor to the development of informal strategies for addition and subtraction that students will naturally acquire through repeated use of the Rekenrek." Basically it helps students see numbers as groups of 5 or 10, "doubles" and so on instead of counting every object in a set.

For example, think of subitizing as the ability of the student to instantly recognizance quantities up to 10 without depending on the routine counting.  Using this in an example with the model above, 8 is subitized, and seen as two groups-one group of 5, and one group of 3.  I will share more as I read on and explore more complex decomposition of numbers. This information was taken from my reading of Rekenrek by Dr. Jeffrey Frykholm.  I find this read exciting and plan on using it with my 2nd grade math students. Well off to relax after a long day in my classroom with a few more to come before I am ready to roll!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Here is what one would look like from another site. She may have posted that also. I am going to post the link so you can see what it would look like. It looks pretty simple to make and would be a great strategy for kindergarten teachers as well as first and second grade students.

I read an exciting post tonight from Math Coach's Corner regarding the Rekenrek strategy. She also showed how to make one on her blog.  You can click on my sidebar and go to her blog to see how she did it.  We talked about making ten bracelets in the math workshop but this is pretty much the same except it uses two rows of tens instead of one. Very interesting concept. I purchased the e book so I will let you know more about it.  Math Coach also posted a link to free lessons check it out. Click on the picture below and if I did it properly you will get free lessons.

Baskets, baskets, baskets are getting me organized

I have been to my classroom twice recently once to place my math items into these cute little baskets. I searched and searched to find the larger baskets to put my home to school folders into, but no luck so far. I hope to print Ladybugs flipped labels soon and can't wait to put them on the baskets. I love, love, love the pastels. If anyone knows where I can get the larger baskets like Ladybug showed today on her blog hit me with the information. I am very new to blogging....BRAND NEW!