TIME for some Math

Time is a favorite math unit that I teach, especially with my kindergartners because they are so intrigued by the concept of time!

Time is not actually a common core standard, but it is a component on the report card at my school so we teach it. It is a mini unit taught towards the end of the year, and mastery is not expected. But with the right resources, even kindergarteners can master telling time to the hour – and they love it!

clock 2Learning the parts of a clock – Students need to learn the different parts of a clock before they can understand how to tell time. I have the students build their own clocks, but putting the numbers on the face, and having moveable hands. This allows them to understand how a clock works. Brainpop Jr. also has a great video for introducing the concept of time and the parts of a clock.

Keep it hands on – In order for kindergarteners to engage in the activities, but also to grasp the abstract concept of time, they need to be able to manipulate a clock themselves. I have a few moveable clocks that the students can use to change the time. They can use these clocks to play matching games. I also give them a time, and they have to show that time on their clock. There are a number of ways to use these clocks, but it is key it be hands on.


time .jpgDigital vs. Analog – It is important for students to use both the analog and digital clocks. Students learn to read both digital times, as well as analog clocks. I also teach them to write the digital time after reading an analog clock. The more they practice reading and writing times, the easier it will become for them. Students also learn to draw the hands onto a clock.

Students are the Teachers – Once the students have had practice with the hands on clocks, they can be the teachers to their peers. Having students teach each other keeps them engaged, but also helps them to gain a deeper understanding of the concept. I will call up two students at a time to participate and teach the class. They will show a time on the clock, and teach their peers how to write the digital time to go with it.

Games with Time – There are multiple games that students can play with clocks and time. These help to reinforce the skills they have learned throughout the mini unit.

Partner Clock Match – students are in partners or groups of 3. One partner gives a time and the other partner has to make that time on their clock. If both clocks match, the team gets a point. The game is over when your team gets five points.

Clock Matching Game – I found this on TeachersPayTeachers and it is a great game for centers! The students match analog clock pictures with the digital time. I copied the cards on colored card stock so multiple students can play at one center without the cards getting mixed up.

Whisper down the Lane, Clock Edition – It is just like whisper down the lane, but each person has to whisper the time. After you hear the time, you set your clock to that time and then whisper it. By the end, everyone’s clock should say the same time!


Author Study – James Dean – Pete the Cat

IMG_2061Pete the Cat is a favorite character of kindergartners, but also a favorite character of mine! Pete is a cool cat who goes on all sorts of adventures with many of his friends. Pete is always learning how to be a good friend, take turns, share, and get through tough days! These fun, creative books are not only funny, but they teach wonderful morales to young students! There are so many different ways to incorporate Pete the Cat into your curriculum. Below are a couple ways I have done this in my kindergarten room!

Many of the familiar Pete the Cat stories are easy readers. These are familiar stories to the students and help them to become more confident when reading independently. When students are ready, I allow them to read these Pete the Cat stories to our class.

List of Pete the Cat Books Here!

Pete the Cat: I Love my White ShoesIMG_8600

pete the cat cover.pngThis fun rhyming book has a pattern to it, making it easier for students to read along with the teacher. Throughout the story, Pete steps into different things (strawberries, mud, blueberries, etc.) and each time it changes his white shoes into a different color. For this activity, I have students create their own Pete the Cat story. They have to choose what Pete will step in, and what color his shoes will become. This is a great introduction to the concept of “cause and effect”.


Pete the Cat: Four Groovy ButtonsIMG_8631

pete the cat cover 2This book is all about subtraction – a perfect connection between language arts and math! During this story, Pete loses his buttons one by one. Each time, he sings a song, and then tells you the subtraction number sentence. For this book, I have students create their own subtraction stories. First, they have to pick how many buttons Pete will start with. Then, they have to decide how many buttons will fall off. Finally, they answer the question – how many buttons does Pete have left?



In my classroom, I select a Star of the Week who gets to take home a Pete the Cat stuffed animal each week. Then they write about their adventures with Pete in a class journal. At the end of the year, we look back on all of the different Star of the Week adventures with Pete! Here are a few pictures of Pete’s adventures!

Measurement Madness

It’s like March Madness, but with measurement! In the month of March, my focus is in math is on measurement!

In kindergarten, students must understand length, weight, and capacity. They must learn to compare objects based off these measurable attributes. They learn to use both non-standard and standard forms of measurement. Below are some of the hands-on activities I do with my students to learn all about measurement!

Length – Students first learn to measure using non-standard forms of measurement (such as snap cubes or paper clips). They measure different objects on their papers, but also in the classroom. When they measure with different objects, they learn that they get different answers. Because the paper clips are larger, you need less of them. Longer and shorter are two important vocabulary words used throughout this unit.

length 1

This leads into learning about the ruler! Students learn that an inch is a standard unit of measure. By using a ruler, you can measure different objects and get an accurate answer. Then, I have my students make their very own ruler and measure items around the room with it!


Weight – Students learn that when measuring weight, you measure how heavy or light something is. Those are two more important math vocabulary words! They learn about two different scales – the kind you see at the doctor that measures how heavy you are and a balance that compares two objects.

In the classroom, I use a balance scale to do a variety of activities. First, I use the balance to compare different objects. We learn that when an object is heavier, it falls down. The lighter object stays up. Students can take turns putting different objects in the scale and comparing their weight.

You can also use the balance scale to measure how heavy something is. I put the object we are measuring in one side, and then add snap cubes to the other side. Once the balance is level, that means they are equal. We then count the snap cubes. You can then measure another object with snap cubes and compare the weight by comparing the numbers. I love to call students up to be the “teachers” for this activity!

Capacity – Capacity can be a difficult, and almost abstract concept for kindergarteners. I focus IMG_8529mainly on students understanding that larger containers can hold more, while smaller containers hold less. These are two big math vocabulary words used throughout kindergarten!

A fun hands on activity I do in the classroom is measuring how many cups a container can hold. You can fill the containers with anything you have – I happen to have a lot of foam shapes! We fill different sized containers and count how many cups fit in each. This visual really helps students to grasp the concept of capacity!


Addition Math Centers inspired by Kathy Richardson

kathy richardson.jpgFluency with addition facts is essential, even in kindergarten, but the least we can do as teachers is make them fun! The Kathy Richardson curriculum, Developing Number Concepts, has inspired these math centers that I use in my classroom.

I call it “tubbing” because each center has a tub of manipulatives students use to learn their addition facts. Students work to complete their number books. Each student is working to learn the addition facts of different numbers, based on their individual academic level. Below is an explanation of each “tub”.

Students take out the number of manipulatives that match their number book. For example, if a student is learning the addition facts for number five, they take out five manipulatives at each tub.IMG_8368

Lima Beans – The manipulative is double sided plastic lima beans – red and white. Students drop the lima beans on the table and count how many red and how many white. They color the lima beans in their number books and write a corresponding number sentence.

IMG_8367Counters – The manipulative is double sided counters – red and yellow. Students drop the counters on the table and count how many red and how many yellow. They color the counters in their number books and write the corresponding number sentence.IMG_8366

Grab Bags – The manipulatives are brown paper bags with blue and green snap cubes inside. Without looking, students take out the correct number of snap cubes and count how many blue and how many green. They draw the colored snap cubes in their number books and write the corresponding number sentence.

IMG_8369Pennies – The manipulatives are simple – pennies. Students drop the pennies on the table and count how many heads and how many tails. They fill in the chart accordingly. img_8370.jpg

How Many am I Hiding? – This is the one partner game I have when using number books. For manipulatives I use small dry macaroni, but it can be any small item that students can hide in their hands (ex. buttons). One partner hides some of the macaroni behind their back, showing the others. The second partner has to guess “how many am I hiding?” Once they guess correctly, they fill in the chart accordingly. The students take turns hiding and writing.

img_8371.jpgPaint dots – This is an extra tub that is optional. I usually add two blank pages to the end of each book. This is where the students can complete the paint dots activity. I also tell students that they cannot go to paint dots until the rest of their book is finished because paint dots is the hardest tub to complete. It requires students to know and remember the combinations without a specific manipulative. For paint dots, students create combinations adding up to their specific number. They can use one or two colors, and then write the corresponding number sentence below.

I introduce the tubs one activity at a time. Once the students have learned each game, they are ready to do the math centers together. I run the number book centers differently than my normal centers because students can move from one tub to another without having to wait or ask the teacher. Once they have finished a page, they can find a new tub to go to.

Once students have finished their book, as well as the paint dots, I test their addition facts by playing how many I am hiding with them one-on-one. If the student is able to complete all of their addition facts without hesitation, they can move on to the next number. The number books go from four to ten. These working number books can be used during throughout the second half of the year in math. I usually take the tubs out on Fridays, or if we finish another math assignment early.


Language Arts Centers

Language arts centers in my classroom are the best way to have students independently working on a variety of reading and writing skills. This time also allows me to meet with individual groups of students for guided reading.

My center chart – it lists the 10 different centers and which students are assigned to that center.

Each week I have ten working centers that students rotate through as the week goes on. Students will do two or three centers, depending on the week. For example, if it is a five-day week, we will complete two centers a day. By the end of the week, students will have completed all ten centers. By having ten centers, students have a variety of working centers and play centers. It also limits the number of students in each group, which I believe helps with their ability to independently work. My centers run about 15-20 minutes each, totaling about 40 minutes of center work a day.

I often have parent helpers come in during center time as well. This is especially helpful in the beginning of the year, when students are still learning the center procedures. I explain a few of the parent led centers below.


poem center 1
Poem Center

Poem Center – In this center, students work on a variety of reading skills through the use of poetry. Each week, students have a different poem to work with. The activity changes, depending on the poem. Students can practice finding sight words, illustrating a picture, or a written response to the poem.

Alphabet/Word Work Center 

word work center
Word Work Center – Sight Word Dominoes

This center changes and adapts as the year goes on. In the beginning of the year, students work on learning and using the letters of the alphabet. As the year goes on, this center can be used for working on sight words, or CVC words. This center can be a worksheet or a hands-on game.

writing center
Writing center – Mixed Up Sentences

Writing Center – This center also changes and adapts at the year goes on. In the beginning of the year, it works on learning sentence structure and inventive spelling. Towards the middle and end of the year, it works on applying that knowledge to independent writing. Students may work on mixed up sentences or “squiggle writing”. Students may have a specific writing prompt, or free write. The writing center can also be a “write the room” activity.

Handwriting Center

Handwriting Center -The handwriting center is a way to incorporate the handwriting program my school uses – Handwriting Without Tears. Students have their own personal handwriting workbooks that teach the formation of letters and words. These workbooks are used when I have a parent helper in the center. Otherwise, the handwriting center has whiteboards where students can practice writing the alphabet, sight words, or “write the room”.


listening center
Listening Center

Listening Center – This center is where students listen to a book on CD and do a written response to it. The book either aligns with the current author study or language arts unit.

Math Center – The math center is my way of connecting different areas of curriculum. The math centers can be a worksheet or a hands-on math game. It aligns with our current math unit.

Math Center – Teen bingo

Science Center – The science center in my way of connecting different areas of curriculum. The science center can be a writing response to a science lesson, or a hands-on science game. I also occasionally use the weekly Scholastic Let’s Find Out readers in the science center. This would be when I have a parent helper in the center.

Science center – File folder games

Computers – Students use the classroom computers to practice language arts skills. Two common kid-friendly websites I use include starfall.com and abcya.com.

Library Center – The library center is where students can do free reading in our classroom library. I have pillows and stuffed animals in the library as well to create a comfortable, safe reading environment.

library center
Library Center

Puzzles Center – The puzzles center is one of the play centers I incorporate into my language arts centers. I have a variety of learning puzzles that practice reading, rhyming, and spelling. Students can choose which puzzles they would like to do.