Rekenreks – A Cool Tool for Math

Do not faint, but this is an actuall blog post from moi!  LOL
Do you use Rekenreks in your classroom?  Do you know what Rekenreks are?  
Rekenreks are actually from the Netherlands and are based upon other forms of bead-based math manipulatives such as the abacus.
Rekenreks have two rows of beads with 10 beads (5 of one color and 5 of another color) on each of the rows.  (Ours happen to be blue and white, but most are red and white.  Ours are blue because it’s our school color.)
Rekenreks are fabulous for helping students to subitize numbers.  Subitizing is when students can instantly see how many objects are used and what number is represented.
So this amazing young man, Ethan, made 450 Rekenreks for our school.  It took him a couple of months to collect the materials and assemble them.  It was actually his Eagle Scout project.  Here he is with his gorgeous and talented mama, who happens to be my wonderful friend, and presenting the Rekenreks to our school with our Math Strategist, Chrese Jones and our principal, Pauline Mills.
So this week we have been working on a review of making 10.  We use Investigations math at our school as well as Number Talks.
This is Cherese giving a number talk using a teacher Rekenrek.  
For this Number Talk, the students were asked to put 8 on the top and 4 on the bottom.  They were then asked to figure out how many beads there were altogether.  The white board shows some of their thinking on how they figured out the amount quickly.  There is also an example of a student’s board.
Since we have been working on building 10, I of course had to scour Pinterest and I came across this amazing blog post by Mrs. Clancy of Joyful Learning in KC.  So I looked at her examples and decided to rev up our Rekenreks as well and implement what we had been working on in math.
Her lesson came from this book which I just ordered and you can order by clicking on the (affiliate) link
 So here is how our lesson turned out.  We read the story and then the students worked independently to create 10 on their Rekenreks.  Then they shared their ideas and strategies with their partner and finally we recorded them on our poster.  (Oh, how I love our poster maker at school!)
I do not have any Rekenrek resources, but there are quite a few on TPT.  I do not know Number Sense Guy, but he has quite a few resources in his store, if you want to check them out.
Also, Donna from Math Coach’s Corner (love her!) has a fantastic post on how to create these inexpensive Rekenreks for your classroom AND she has a link to a fabulous FREEBIE from The Math Learning Center that I used last year when we first got our Rekenreks.

I am looking forward to getting as much use out of these amazing tools as possible this year…and maybe you’ll be able to make some, too!
With that, Happy Rekenreking!

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