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Early in my publishing career, I was working with an author on an updated book series. In the course of our discussion, he mentioned the Rekenrek, a tool for building early numeracy. This was, at the time, a very new tool in the United States even though its use could be tracked back for many years in the Netherlands. I was intrigued, but not quite sure what we could do with this tool that would help teachers enhance their instructional practice. Fast forward several years, and the Rekenrek is far more familiar. Many educators are embracing this tool with varying degrees of success. To make this implementation a little easier, Don Balka has developed two activity books for the Rekenrek: Working with the Rekenrek (with Ruth Harbin Miles) and Working with the 100-Bead Rekenrek. These books provide both teacher support and engaging student activities to help us all use the Rekenrek more effectively. If you’re looking for some ideas to get started with the Rekenrek, here are two new ideas based on these resources.Read More
A new manipulative has emerged that appears to provide many students with a better understanding of early number concepts. The Rekenrek, arithmetic rack, or counting rack was developed at the Freudenthal Institute in the Netherlands by Adrian Treffers. Resembling an abacus, the Rekenrek typically consists of two rows of ten beads, with each row having five red beads and five white beads. The Rekenrek takes its place in the primary grades classroom alongside other popular models for developing early mathematics concepts, such as Unifix Cubes, base ten blocks, ten-frames and counters. The focus in using a Rekenrek is on fives and tens. Rekenreks are also available with four rows of beads or ten rows of beads to deal with numbers 21 through 100.Read More
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