Last school year I (as well as, many, many other teachers in my county and surrounding counties) had the opportunity to visit a school in my district that was using Kathy Richardson's books (Developing Number Concepts) to create math centers. I saw students actively engaged the entire time and centers that were differentiated for each student. I visited this school in the spring when the students were working on number combinations (addition/subtraction) so I had to spend some time thinking about how to organize my counting centers for this semester. Last spring I had enough manipulatives to use for the number combination centers, but I knew that I was going to have to get creative for the counting centers because I would need more things for them to count, especially as they go up in the the ranges (0-6, 0-10, 11-20).
As I was making the centers, I knew the students would need to spread out to complete the centers and they would need more room. Having four or five students working from one tub at the table might prevent them from have enough of the same counters. I have been storing my manipulatives in the drawer organizers in my closet, so I divided the manipulatives for each center into 4 drawers (5 centers, each center has 4 students) and plan to give each student a drawer. They can take their drawer anywhere near their center (table, floor) and complete the activity. Every week they will get a different drawer when they go to that center. The counters in each drawer are monochromatic so the students would create and see the set for the number instead of a combination for that number. This will also help as the students clean up at the end of center time.
The students will cover the lines with cubes and count how many cubes cover the line. For two weeks they will just lay the cards out and put the cubes by the lines. The third week, they will use dot/number cards to match the number of cubes. The fourth week they will use a recording sheet to record how many cubes. I color coded the cards with dots.
The students will use cubes to fill in the shapes. They will go through the same routine as the line puzzles.
For this activity, the students will use links to measure the string. I am going to encourage them not to link them to make a chain so they do not have to take them apart.
The students will pull a dot card from the cup and place that many counters on the story boards.
These centers will be used for many weeks. There are different sets of cards for each of the 3 number ranges, so I will just need to switch them out when the student is ready to work with larger numbers.