Monday, February 17, 2014

Let's Get Groovy with Rekenreks!

Introducing Rekenreks:
Yea, Yea!  I finally found the time to complete a comprehensive packet on rekenreks!  So for those of you not familiar with this crazy named item...they are nothing more than arithmetic racks that were designed by a Dutch mathematician.  The rekenrek is a great visual model for developing number sense of 5, 10, and 20 (if using the double racks). They also support the strategy approach to learning. 
This packet contains over 50 flashcards, two rekenrek games, journal pages, story problems, rekenrek handwriting booklet, multiple blank pages for journaling or building with real beads. Click the picture to find out more and see a preview!  If your one of my AMSTI teachers, you know what to do...just an email!
There is a great packet of free ideas and lesson on introducing rekenreks in your classroom from The Math Learning Center.  It can be found here:

Making / Buying Rekenreks:
There are some great rekenreks out on the market but you can also just make a set.  The ones I purchased for my classroom were found at They are super quality and shipped fast.   If you want to go a little cheaper, K-5 Math Teaching Resources has easy step by step instructions on how to make a class set.  You can find the directions here:

Mechelle Thomas from Rogersville Elementary emailed me her wonderful creation!  She found the whiteboards in the dollar section at Target and had her husband drill the holes.  She completed the rekenreks using yarn and pony beads. BOOM she has an awesome class set.  Theses are great because the kiddos can use Expo markers to make number sentences right under the rekenreks! 

**My best advice is to be sure and make or buy the rekenreks with at least two
    rows.  This allows for a much greater instruction and range.**
How to Start:
  1. Allow the students time to explore and “play” with the rekenreks so they will be ready to work when you are.
  2. I use red and green dots on the ends of my rekenreks to help students use them the correct way.  The green is the start side…meaning we slide from that side and the red is where the beads stop.  Students should slide beads beginning with the red ones first.  A rekenrek is read just like a book left to right.

    3.  Start with small numbers 5 and under and encourage students to move the  beads in groups and not one by one.  Increase until they can move 5 (all the red) at one time all the way up to moving 10, 15, and 20.  A later goal would be to move beads for numbers like 8 which would be 5 red and 3 white in one group and not one by one.
Adding White Boards:
When students are ready…add a white board by having them place the rekenrek at the top and then write a matching number sentence below.  Great way to practice writing numbers, understanding order of operation, and constructing number sentences.
EEEKKK.....I just love Rekenreks!  Hope you have as much fun as I'm having!
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