math workshop part 2: rekenreks, ten frames, number lines oh my! | Teaching in the Tongass

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

math workshop part 2: rekenreks, ten frames, number lines oh my!

This is the second post in my Math Workshop series. 
math workshop

You can catch-up by reading the previous post here.  Last time I wrote about individual fluency practice using Roll and Write.  It's also very important to do whole group fluency practice.  This can be done in a variety of ways. The first way I want to talk about involves using a manipulative tool called a Rekenrek.  If you've learned about subitizing, chances are you've seen a Rekenrek.  This is a fantastic tool to use in addition to ten frames.  If you don't already know what or how to use this tool for math instruction, I highly recommend that you  READ THIS.  If you don't have the funds to buy a fancy shmancy display Rekenrek or student versions, you can easily make your own. 

I haven't used my Rekenreks for a while now, but plan on it this year. My 2nd graders this year will be needing the extra support and visual aid.  Thankfully, I bought a great little curriculum set a few years ago that goes really well with the use of Rekenreks. It even comes with big books (these are my favorite part) that introduce the mathematical concept you are working on! This helps students visualize and put numbers to a context (like a story problem), which I have found is really important for these younger kiddos.

Before I bought this one, my husband made one (I gave it to a dear teacher friend though, so no photo for you!).  I bought spray paint, wooden dowels, wooden balls and he used some scrap wood and his drill to make one. If you aren't inclined to do that sort of thing but are fortunate enough to have a crafty man in your life (or woman for that matter), show them what it looks like and see if they'd be willing to try! Don't forget the thank you beer muffin basket!
The second way I teach whole group fluency is with ten frames and a deck of jumbo display cards or ten frame cards.  I keep one ten frame set for display above my Math Focus Wall, and another set is used as flash cards.  You can find these in my Editable Chalkboard Decor Pack.
If you have a deck of cards or even index cards with numbers on them, you can practice whole group fluency. I found these at a local store.
While my kids are sitting on the floor, or are standing in line while we are waiting to go out the door, I flash a ten frame card.  Depending on the skill we are working on, I could be asking them to tell me "the other part of ten, double or double plus one" (etc.).  For instance, I hold up a 6, the class says "4" if we are practicing tens partners.  Or I hold up a 7, the class says "14" if we are practicing doubles.  

Nancy bestowed many different number lines upon me, but these are my favorite ones. I keep one on my dry erase board for whole group minilessons, and a class set in a ziploc bag for games time. I've added velcro to the student number lines so they will stick to the carpet when kids are playing math games, and magnet strips to my display number line so it will stick to my magnetic whiteboard.

I hope you've found something valuable in this post! Please let me know if you have any questions by commenting below!

Go on to the next post in this series:



  1. This was a great post! Thanks so much for linking up! I'm glad you showed the velcro trick... these are things I slap my forehead over and think, WHY didn't I think of that?!?! Brilliant! I have a couple 4th graders who would benefit from having a pipe cleaner rekenrek. Thanks for reminding me about those!

  2. I'm loving your Math Workshop blogs. I've never used rekenreks, but I think I'll give them a try.

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