Heading into a new year, after a long holiday break, calls for new engaging activities for students! It is especially important after a long break, to get students diving back into learning new skills and practicing key concepts. After a much needed holiday break, the last thing teachers want to do is spend a ton of time prepping and planning, right? I like to switch up my centers every single month to bring fresh, new ways to learn into the classroom. That is why I love these low prep January centers.
By January, we are over halfway through the school year (can you believe it?) and learning is in full swing. By now, you have probably introduced lots of new skills in the classroom. After a long break, centers that help to review skills learned in the first semester are really important. They also serve as a great way to get back into the classroom routine. They provide opportunities for reviewing academics a procedures after the winter break.
1. Teen Numbers Math Center
Teaching teen numbers is an important concept for young students to master, but getting there can be such a struggle. This winter center activity will help them practice this skill in a hands-on way that helps them to visualize that a teen number is ten plus more.
By starting with an already completed ten frame, students will practice building the teen number. It’s a great activity to encourage counting on, one to one correspondence, and firming up their understanding of these tricky teen numbers
Just grab some of your favorite winter manipulatives and let your students get busy building. I love mini erasers because they are so cute and just the right size. BUT . . . some small white pompoms make great snowballs for this winter activity too!
2. Subitizing and Comparing Numbers
As a busy teacher, I love when an activity provides opportunities to practice multiple skills. These math task cards do just that! Students will work on subitizing, writing numbers and comparing numbers in this fun snowman activity.
Subitizing numbers is a great skill for our young students. If you are not familiar with it, it is the ability to quickly recognize that a group is a specific number without actually counting them. Think of dice or dominoes. Using subitizing skills you have learned that four dots in a square formation with one in the middle represents the number five. We want students to develop this skill with commonly used groups (like dice) and uncommon groupings too.
Students will begin by looking at the dots on the snowman’s body. While I encourage them to use subitizing, students can also count and work on one to one correspondence too. They will write the number for each snowman on the snowman’s hat.
Then it’s time to do some comparing of numbers. Students will look at the two numbers are determine which has more or which has less. I can change this up depending on the skill we are working on. They will mark their answer by clipping a clothespin on the correct snowman.
I can quickly walk by and do a check to see how the student is doing with all the skills.
3. Number Sequencing
We all know that counting to 10 is an important skill for young students. But it is so easy for our students to fall into a rhythmic chant of the numbers that is just memorized. To make sure that students truly understand the concept of counting and number sequences, we need to provide them opportunities to work with numbers in a variety of ways.
I love using this number sequencing January center because it gives my students just that. Here students will work on one before and one after using numbers to ten. And since students will be starting with different numbers we are pushing them outside the comfortable counting chant they know all too well.
Each task card in this center is helping students to work on number sequences and missing numbers by starting at numbers other than 1. Students must identify the number and then determine what numbers are missing. It’s also a great activity for reinforcing the vocabulary more and less.
Students can use counting manipulatives to help them as needed, which makes it easy for each student to work right at their level. My students always have a fun time practicing sequencing with this activity. I love that it’s a fantastic way to build on those counting skills!
4. Beginning and Ending Sounds Literacy Centers
Beginning and ending sounds are important skills we teach our kindergarten students after learning the alphabet. Learning beginning and ending sounds are a crucial part of phonemic awareness and help students learn to connect letters and sounds to the concept of words.
This center helps students work on segmenting sounds in order to spell a word. Using CVC words, students will look at the picture and then say the word and listen for the beginning sound and the ending sound.
I really like to use magnetic letters for this activity. You don’t need them to stick to the cards, but they are just the right size to fill in each of the blank spaces in the word.
If you want to help students work on writing letters, I would suggest using a dry erase marker instead of letter manipulatives. This is a great way to get in some handwriting practice while still working on segmenting too.
5. Middle Sounds
Just like segmenting for beginning and ending sounds, learning to segment and identify the middle vowel sounds is an important skill for students.
Identifying middle sounds can be a bit more tricky than beginning and ending sounds because the sound is buried in the middle. This is often the hardest segmenting skill for students to master. It’s important to provide students with lots and lots of practice.
I love starting these cards in small groups so I can work with students and model how to really focus and stretch out that middle sound. Once students understand how to do this, I move these cards into our center rotations for practice.
The students love being able to use clothespins to identify the correct letter to complete each word. I love that with each pinch of the clothespin they are strengthening those hand muscles.
6. Segmenting and Spelling with CVC Words
The center just might be one of my students’ favorite January centers. The reason I believe this is the case is because they are realizing just how far they have come in a few months. With this segmenting and spelling center, students practice spelling CVC words. They are not provided with any letters which makes them feel the great accomplishment that comes with spelling the entire word.
Using letter tiles, magnetic letters, or a dry erase marker students will work on spelling CVC words. I teach my students to start by saying the name of the item quickly. Then, once it is in their head, they go back and say it slowly stopping after each letter. As they identify each sound, they drag the letter or write it into the first empty space. Then they say the word, stopping at the next sound. They continue this process until they have made it through the entire word. I like this procedure because it works well with longer words too. It’s a procedure they can learn and build on all year long.
Some students are able to pick up right where they left off, while others need to start back at the beginning each time. It’s a natural way to differentiate for them as they develop this important skill.
Low Prep January Centers
You can find all of these Low Prep January Centers in the Miss Kindergarten store. They are the perfect addition to your January centers and won’t take lots of supplies or prep time.
If you’d like to add some low prep but fun and engaging centers to your entire year, then make sure to check out the bundle!
Save These Low Prep Center Activities for Later!
If you love these ideas, make sure you save them to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can find them quickly and easily when you need them!