The BCAMT New Teachers’ Conference was held in Surrey, B.C. on February 16, 2013. The participants were eager to extend their knowledge and understanding about helping their students understand the math they are doing. Throughout the day there was a clear message that students need to be engaged in their own learning and comprehend the math they are doing. I presented a session for a wonderful group of K – Gr. 2 teachers about building a solid mathematical foundation using one of the many tools available. We focused on using ten frames to develop number sense. The group agreed that by using ten frames students are able to use a visual organizer to help them make sense of subitizing and partitioning numbers.
One of the most frequent requests I get asked in my job is “Do you have an ideas for Literacy/Numeracy centres?” Teachers are often looking for ideas to incorporate into their balanced Literacy and Numeracy programs. When setting up Literacy or Numeracy centres the focus should be on providing opportunities for children to explore and develop understanding with concepts that have already been introduced. Students should be given choices of tasks that will enable them to solve problems, use reasoning skills and communicate their understanding.
Centres can provide a wonderful mean to differentiate instruction for our students. ‘One size does not fit all!’ is one of my important messages these days. Students have different learning styles, interests, personalities and needs.
As a result of these requests, I have developed ‘seasonal’ Numeracy and Literacy centres. Since the last 6 years of my career I have focused on Numeracy, I was able to create kits for three seasons (Falling into Math K -2 Winter Math Fun K- 2, Spring into Math K – 2, and Sliding Into Math- Building Fluency Games). So far for Literacy I have created Winter Literacy Bliss.
These centres were developed to give teachers some ideas to use in their classrooms to provide problem solving tasks, authentic practice, and assessment for learning. When planning for Literacy or Numeracy centres, always consider the ways they will meet the needs of your students and how you will assess their learning to inform your instruction. It is not about how ‘cute’ the centres are. Let me know what you think about the centres!