It all started with a video clip we watched from the Number Talks book that I blogged about last week (see the original post). After watching this video my team was super motivated to make a classroom set of rekenreks for each kindergarten classroom!
First, we had to devise a plan! We googled, we searched, and we binged images! None of the boards were dry erase, but we added this option to our plan. Once we figured out what we wanted our boards to look like, we needed to gather our materials. We thought about using just regular dry erase boards and drilling holes, which you could totally do. However, this method was going to be a little too costly for over 200 boards. Then, I remembered a third grade teacher whom I completed my TE 100 hours with who had used shower board to cover her old chalkboard. BINGO! I quickly went to the Home Depot website and found exactly what we were looking for -- Thrifty White 32 sq. ft. Hardboard Panel Board! Our PTO was kind enough to purchase the boards for us! Thank you PTO!
Since our boards were white, we decided to use red and blue pony beads. We wanted colors that would stand out against the white. We purchased our blue and red pony beads from School Specialty. For the teacher boards, we purchased 20 mm wooden beads from Joann's, and my loving husband spray painted them red and blue for my entire team!
The most difficult part of the plan was determining what type of material to string the beads on -- rope, pipe cleaners, etc. We would have like to use pipe cleaners, mostly because of their ability to hold the beads in place, but we couldn't find pipe cleaners that would be long enough to string across the boards and then twist in the back. After searching high and low for something to use and basically having only one day left until the big make and take day, I went to Home Depot hoping to find something that would work! I spoke with two nice gentlemen who could sense my pain, especially once I told them how many feet of rope I would need! I brought some of the pony beads along just to make sure they would slide over the rope. You will for sure want to do this! We found that our pony beads were a little larger than some of the ones from other craft stores, so the 1/8" diameter rope worked out perfectly.
The next part was tough! How in the world were we going to cut and drill all these boards?!?! We thought about asking one of our kind husbands, but decided that might be too much of an undertaking for one person. After all, we did need 210 boards, plus 8 teacher boards. That's a whole lot of cutting and drilling! Here's when we contacted the high school teacher who teaches wood shop and a few other trades courses. We very politely asked if his students would be willing to help us out -- a class project for them, if you will!
Now, here we were with all of our cut and drilled boards! What next?!?!
Step 1: Prevent the rope from fraying! We ran into a bit a of a snag with the rope. Once we cut it and tried to string the beads, the rope began to fray....SO we decided to melt the ends.
Well, there you have it folks -- step by step directions on how to make your very own dry erase rekenrek boards! It certainly wasn't an easy task, but totally worth all the agony and effort! Don't forget to grab my rekenrek FREEBIE from last week's post!
And don't forget to link back to Tara's Monday Made It post to check out more creativity in action!
You can also check out more number sense ideas on my "Number Sense" Pinterest board!
Now, I have a few questions for you! Would you use something other than rope for stringing the beads? How would you prevent the knot from loosening? Would you flip the colors in each row like we did (5 blue and 5 red on the top and then 5 red and 5 blue on the bottom)?