The students at Dellview Elementary may not be able to tell you the name of the new math tool they’ve been using, but they sure get excited when their teacher pulls out a rekenrek for today’s lesson.
This campus received classroom sets of rekenreks for every kindergarten through 2nd grade classroom from a grant awarded by the North East Educational Foundation (NEEF).
A rekenrek is a Dutch arithmetic rack similar to an abacus. It is designed to help elementary students understand addition, subtraction and even multiplication by the visual movement of these 20 beads.
Before receiving the grant to purchase these tools, Dellview’s Mathematics Instructional Coach Wendy Castillo used post-it notes that never stuck and boards made from manila paper.
“The new tools have definitely increased excitement all around – students, teachers, administration, and myself,” Castillo said. “The kids are even more engaged and the teachers have the resources they need to help our young students understand challenging number concepts.”
Sitting in on one lesson, it becomes obvious the rekenrek increases focus because the kids feel like they are playing a game. The teacher demonstrates a number and within a second, hands are shooting into the air with the answer.
In addition to rekenreks, the NEEF grant funded other number composition and decomposition games for each kindergarten through 2nd grade classroom, $500 of children’s math literature lessons and hands-on measurement tools for 2nd and 3rd graders.
“Outside funds like this grant are essential for advancing our math program because our state budget for instructional resources continues to be cut,” said Castillo.