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Saturday, September 14, 2013

What the heck is a Rekenrek???

You may have heard your child talk about using a Rekenrek in math class and you're wondering...what the heck is a Rekenrek?
"Research has consistently indicated the importance of helping children visualize number quantities as a collection of objects. Most adults, for example, do not need to count the individual dots on dice to know the value of each face. With similar intent in mind, using the Rekenrek with its inherent focus on 5 and 10 is instrumental in helping children visualize numbers, seeing them as collections of objects in groups. This strategy of seeing numbers “inside” other numbers – particularly 5 and 10 – is a precursor to the development of informal strategies for addition and subtraction that students will naturally acquire through repeated use with the Rekenrek."...Dr. Jeffrey Frykholm

After doing some research, I decided to incorporate the use of Rekenreks into my math instruction. I use a large Rekenrek to model and clarify. Each scholar has their own Rekenrek to manipulate and show what they know.
These kid sized Rekenreks are easy to make. I used laminated card stock, pipe cleaners and pony beads. The kids seem to be really engaged when we use them.

I have been using the Rekenrek to develop counting skills. Most kindergartners can rote count to 10, 20, even 100, but many lack the 1:1 skill required for accurate counting. I have also used them to model/practice number combinations. For example:

I am really looking forward to discovering the power of Rekenreks as we build number sense in kindergarten this year!

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