Creating a "Math Rich" Environment

I know I may be one of the only kindergarten teachers to ever say this, but I LOVE math! Of course I couldn't be a K teacher if I didn't love reading too, but I am just a math person by nature. Now every teacher knows the importance of having a "print rich" classroom, but what about a "math rich" classroom? Have you ever thought about how much math is in your classroom environment? I'm sure you already have things in your room that promote a math rich environment, but I think this needs to be something we are being purposeful about when planning the setup of a classroom.

I'm here to share some ways that I tried to create a math rich environment in my kindergarten class last year.

1. Having AN ASSORTMENT of number lines hanging.
I plan to do a post on how I incorporate number lines and hundred charts in the next couple of days so I won't go too much into detail yet. However, it's important to me that I have numbers displayed in numerous arrangements around the room. Guess what? That horizontal line of numbers hanging on the wall isn't going to magically make every student understand numbers, just because it hangs there all year. 

Here's our vertical number line. We made this together and it shows quantities with each number.

Here is our horizontal number line. These numbers show tally marks with each number, since that's a state standard here in VA.
In this photo please do two more things:
* Ignore the fact that my alphabet is falling off the wall. Any time the building gets humid the starts melting away like butter.
 *Also look at my math vocabulary board. This is ESSENTIAL to my math rich classroom. The VA Dept. of Education created these vocabulary cards to include all of our vocabulary as well as a picture to illustrate it. As you can see I did the same with my other subjects as well. I couldn't have one board with fabulous illustrations, and the others without. My OCD hates that there are a few hanging over the border, but trust that I will find a way to fix that this year!

Here is a close up of that vocabulary board.

I also have this engaging number line from my math specialist.
Let me say,  in my kinder-centric mind, the best math specialists are those that understand kinder, and boy does she! 
It can be extended anywhere by tens anywhere from 0-10 to 0-100. My favorite part it that it comes with an assortment of cards for differentiation.
We have this number line that easily becomes a workstation.

2. Line-up Spots
I made these numbered line up spots to help my students learn how to stand in a line at the beginning of the year AND to prevent all of the racing to be first and "SHE CUTTTTTTTTTT!!" meltdowns. You can organize this in a lot of different ways. I gave students a number that changed often, they got into that spot in line. This also ensures meticulous student placement. They loved choosing their own number as a reward. Some teachers prefer to give students a permanent number though. Whatever works best for you!
Sadly those were stuck on with tape as you can see. They held up very nicely through a portion of the year, but this year I am definitely hoping to invest in sit spots for this purpose.

This was a great way to practice an assortment of numeracy skills.

3. Number Rhymes
I keep my number rhymes hanging because number formation is something we work on ALL YEAR LONG. You can find tons of these anchor charts if you search for number rhymes on Pinterest or Teachers Pay Teachers.

4. Piggy Banks
We use these for behavior management. Tables earn coins for a number of positive behaviors. This allows us to practice one of our most difficult standards everyday in a meaningful way. 

5. Clocks
Please excuse the terrible picture, but i had to crop another photo since I don't have any pictures of these. I hang three clocks showing the times for resource (special), lunch and recess. The students were very curious about the clocks from the beginning, which had them asking to learn how to tell time all year. They also came in handy for many teachable moments! I loved doing it this year, but next year I will look for clocks that are not divided into quarters. It just makes them more difficult to see when they are hanging. 

(You'll also see our ordinal numbers below the clocks.)

I found another picture!

6. Daily Schedule
I keep a daily schedule posted that shows both analog and digital times for each part of our day. I found that here and I absolutely love it. I put magnets on the back so that the pieces can be easily moved around and laminated them so I can use a dry erase marker to write the times, as they do change a few times early in the year. This allows students to begin connecting events with time, understanding that time relates to an order of events, and gives them a visual of what time looks like early in the year.

Here is our daily schedule and our calendar area, which of course is a big addition to our math rich environment.

Of course with all of these things, I make sure that I use them and I expose my kinders to them explicitly. You can have these things hanging in your classroom, but if you don't USE them to enhance learning and teach the students to use them and even just to be aware that they are in the room, or how they relate to their world, they will serve very little purpose.

I challenge you to reflect on your classroom environment last year, and how you would compare the "math richness" to the "print richness." Ignore the fact that I'm making up words, remember, I'm a math person. :)

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