Monday, 12 November 2012

Math Bins.........

Okay, I said the dirty words.

Math bins.

I don't like the way it tastes in my mouth either-so if you gasped when you read the title of this entry, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

If you didn't gasp, and you said "ooooooh, gotta click this linky dink, to gather me some ideas to stuff into my math bins" Give yourself a fancy pat on the back.

I'll tell you why I think "math bins" are dirty words.

Misleading. Those words mislead my brain to think worksheets. lame. uber boring. non-engaging.

You know what they say about ASSuming ;)

I will be honest. My new teaching partner likes her math bins. When she suggested we do them in our class, I died a little inside. BUT. BIG OLD BUT.

Today was our first day using math bins, and let me tell you. I love them.

Here's how it works in our class.

4 different coloured math bins. 4 different coloured peer groups. 2 teacher directed activities, 2 child directed. Math bins last 7-10 minutes.

4 different activities that target our learning focus. Basically, our learning focus is whatever we need to get assessed. Each group does one math bin per day, the following day we rotate activities and after Thursday, everyone has had a turn at every center.

Are our math bins optional? Not really. Are they full of worksheets? NO!

This week we are focusing on Number Sense. 1 to 1 correspondence and I.D. numerals and counting.

So here's the activity I led today.

Each child reaches into the basket of squares, closes their eyes and pulls out a handful of tiles. They then count their tiles and record their catch on their paper.
Did everyone seem engaged? yes. I made it like a game. I got excited about hearing them count to 17 or 8 or whatever they pulled out of the basket. I also encouraged them to "beat their own record".
Now-I think I like this for the 2 biggest reasons of 1) the activities are engaging. We plan them with that in mind. The kids have to be interested in doing the centers, or they wont be serving a purpose anymore. AND 2) They only have to sit and do them for 7-10 minutes per day. Its a quick little window, that helps them build stamina for sitting at a table, and for allowing us a brief little assessment period per day.
The other teacher directed activity this week is hand prints. They stamp their hands on paper, and add one sticker per finger. They count to 10, and it's a great illustrator of whether or not they get the 1 to 1 correspondence.
I know this post was a little wordy. I'm sorry.
I will keep you posted on some of the different activities that we implement in our math bins. I was not excited about this idea at first, but with a little conversation between my partner and I, I quickly started to see the benefits.
Today as we implemented our first math bins session-I REALLY saw the benefits.  Which is why I will pat this ELK program on the back once again.
Two minds are better then one. Bouncing ideas off of one another, trying them out and then reflecting as a teacher/DECE team, is absolutely an integral part of this program, and today proved it! :)
The program is only as strong as the team implementing it.



  1. Love this! I am going to do this tomorrow for one of my centers. Do you have any pictures or ideas for the others ones?

    1. I will post more math bins activities soon!

  2. Yeah, what were the other math bins you are doing this week? Do you have the hand grabbing worksheet available?
    Awesome ideas for 1-1 correspondence!
    Thank you

    1. Kristin, I emailed you the template for the grab a handful page. I will post about out other math bins tonight if I can. :) thanks for reading!

  3. can i also have that grab and record template?! Awesome!

    colleen, k2

  4. Just read your blog.....what wonderful ideas. Can you send me a copy of the hand template? Thanks.

  5. I just search google looking for a Grab and count recording sheet and yours popped up. Love it! If you would be willing to share, my email is I teach transitional kinder and will be doing this game with my kids this week!

  6. If you're willing to share the grab and record sheet, I would love a copy. It's a great idea. Thanks.