Today We Start Using A Rekenrek

The Rekenrek is a powerful tool that will help children learn to subitize numbers. By seeing numbers as groups rather than the result of counting single units or counting on, children are able to conceptualize groups of numbers and how they can be combined to make new numbers. The beads on the Rekenrek are grouped by fives by colour, children can see number combinations easily.

Here are some videos to help you see how using the rekenrek at school is helping your child develop number sense. 

Please see the links below to online rekenreks.  Both games have screenshades to hide beads so that your child can figure out how many are missing.  At school we relate the rekenrek to a Double Decker Bus. Some questions to ask:

How many passengers are on the top deck? 
How many seats are left on the top deck?
How many passengers are on the bottom deck?
How many seats are left on the bottom deck?
How many passengers are on the bus altogether?
How many seats are left on the double decker bus altogether?
What if a person from the top came down to the bottom? How does this change things?

Remind your child to think about the beads in groups of 5 and remind them to use “Shortcuts” to figure out their answers like the girl in the story did.  Your child can also create their own math facts on paper based on different bead arrangements.

Online Rekenrek

Online Rekenrek

Download The Number Rack App On iPad 


This year in grade one we explore the concept of patterning in many different ways that are meaningful to the children. The children have many opportunities to identify, describe, extend and create repeating patterns.

A pattern is something that is arranged following a rule or rules.In grade one children are expected to create and extend their own patterns using at least one attribute (e.g. colour, shape, size, thickness) by the end of the school year. Patterns often occur naturally in play using materials in the classroom. Children in grade one often use patterns without even thinking about what they are doing. Patterns appear while building with blocks and other building materials, while creating designs with loose parts and math manipulatives or during work with the creative centre materials. I will be supporting your child’s growth in vocabulary related to patterning by pointing out the patterns I see in their work and introducing new terminology that will be the foundation for their future learning.

Patterns appear everywhere in our natural world as well.  The seasons occur in a pattern, the days of the week and the months of the year are a pattern as are many songs and some of the stories that we read at school.  Your child’s ability to recognize and talk about patterns in the natural world (e.g. on flowers), on clothing (e.g. a design on a shirt) or around your home (e.g. floor tiles) will increase throughout the grade one year as she or he becomes more familiar with patterning vocabulary.

Patterns are the foundation of our number system as well.  It is important that children learn to look for patterns in numbers in order to have a good understanding of number sense.

During our morning calendar discussions we regularly look for, talk about and describe the patterns we see on our 100 chart in the classroom and on the calendar. We have many opportunities for patterning when we count by 1’s, 2’s, 5’s and 10’s to 100, both forward and backward.

Making connections to what we are learning in patterning at school is easy to do at home. Try these activities with your child:

-use small materials you have at home to create patterns (e.g. Lego, cutlery, blocks)

-use a calendar and explain what events in your lives occur in a pattern (e.g. work/school days are Monday through Friday but every Saturday and Sunday is a day off;  swimming lessons are on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week) Be sure to talk about what stops the events from being a pattern (e.g. PD Days/Sick Days/Holidays).

-use a 100 chart on the internet to look for patterns as your child counts

-look for patterns in your home on furniture, on walls and flooring and on clothing


Patterning Vocabulary:
core: the smallest part of the pattern that repeats
extend: identify the pattern (the core) and keep repeating it
attribute: characteristic that describes how the object is changing


Teen Number Counting

I have noticed that some of the children have been mixing up numbers in the “teens.” Here are some practical ways you can help your child learn to recognize these and all numbers to 100.

-while watching your favourite sporting event on TV point out the numbers on the jerseys

-while trying to locate a tv show in the tv guide ask “What channel is that on?”

-while out for a walk play games with the numbers on houses: What number would that house be if it was one less/2 less? What number would that house be if it was 2 more/1 more? What number would that house be if you added all the numbers in the house number together?

-while at the grocery store look at the prices and read them together; some children are ready to start adding or taking away one or two cents or even a dollar

Here are some videos about the “teen numbers.”