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Kindergarten Readiness Using the Rekenrek as a Visual Model for Strategic Reasoning in Mathematics Presented by Susan Prieto and April Wilkin

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What is a Rekenrek? The rekenrek combines key features of other manipulative models like counters, the number line, and base-10 models. It is comprised of two strings of 10 beads each, strategically broken into groups of five. The rekenrek therefore entices students to think in groups of 5 and 10. The structure of the rekenrek offers visual pictures for young learners, encouraging them to “ see ” numbers within other numbers… to see groups of 5 and 10.

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Why a Rekenrek? Calculating Frame Designed to support the natural mathematical development of children Once children understand addition and subtraction, it ’ s important that they automatize the basic facts using patterns and relationships A visual model that supports young learners discover number relationships

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What good is it? With the rekenrek, young learners learn quickly to “ see ” the number 7 in two distinct parts: One group of 5, and 2 more. Similarly, 13 is seen as one group of 10 (5 red and 5 white), and three more.

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Time to Make a Rekenrek Step 1: Cut 4 small slits in the cardboard Step 2: String beads :20 beads 10 Red (or other color), 10 White (or other color) - Two pipe cleaners of 10 beads Step 3: Slip the ends of the pipe cleaner through the slits on the cardboard so that the beads are on the front of the cardboard, and the twist the pipe cleaners together on the backside.

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Activity 1: Getting Familiar with the Rekenrek Skills: familiarization with the Rekenrek, subatize 5 and 10, develop vocabulary Materials: Rekenrek, something to hide the bottom row (8x5 index card, or cloth)

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Instructions: Start with the top row only; Push over 2 beads: “How many do you see? How can you prove it? Celebrate the multiple ways of “seeing” the numbers, especially ones that do not involve one-to-one counting.” Repeat: push over 4 beads; 5 beads Now… instruct students that they have only two seconds (or need quickly) to tell how many beads are visible. Suggested sequence: 6, 10, 9, 7, 8, 5, 3, 4 Discuss what child notices about the beads. How many do you see? How can you prove it? We want kids 1-10 to become anchors that they quickly visualize.

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Activity 2: See and Slide Skills: –Develop number sense strategies using 5 and 10 as anchor numbers –Visualize the numbers 1-20 –Build numbers efficiently Materials: –Rekenrek –Numbers 1-10 (and 10-20 when child is ready)

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Instructions: Choose a number card. Have child slide that number of beads on the rekenrek using only one move. When making numbers 11-20 challenge the child to use only 2 moves. Ask your child to share his/her thinking. If your child continues to count one by one, ask him/her if there’s another way. Remind your child to use only one slide for 1-10 or 2 slides for 11-20.

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Activity 3: Many ways to Find a Sum Skills: Skills: –Use the anchor numbers 5 and 10 to visualize numbers –Use the “ counting up ” strategy to solve problems with missing addends –Build fluency with tens facts Materials: A rekenrek, paper, pencil, number cards 1-10, something to hide the bottom row of the rekenrek

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Instructions Slide red beads to the left and white beads to the right. Slide red beads to the left and white beads to the right. Choose a number between 1-10 Choose a number between 1-10 Make the number by sliding beads from each side into the middle. Ask, “ I wonder if there is more than one way? ” Make the number by sliding beads from each side into the middle. Ask, “ I wonder if there is more than one way? ” Record combinations so your child might discover a pattern. Record combinations so your child might discover a pattern.

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There are many activities you can do! Show me… 1-5; Show me 5-10 Make 10, Using Two Rows Combinations, 0 - 10 Combinations, 10 - 20 Doubles Almost a Double It ’ s Automatic… Math Facts The Rekenrek like a Number Line Subtraction Contextual Word Problems and the Rekenrek

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Look for patterns, encourage your child to explain his/her thinking often! How do you know? How did that look in your head/brain? How can you prove that? Is there another way do it?

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Wonderful Sources I used: The Math Learning Center, by Barbara Blake Learning to Think Mathematically With the Rekenrek, A Resource for Teachers, A Tool for Young Children, by Jeff Frykholm

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