2 weeks since my last blog post. What a lot of math has transpired in that time. I have managed to add some students and lose some students. Have started doing some work with a local school here doing math before and after school in short half hour segments.
Teaching math today, all day. In my first class a seven year old had a secret he wanted to tell me. I said tell me your secret later lets do math. All through the class he kept telling me he wasn't going to tell me his secret...I kept telling him it was fine I didn't want to know his secret, I wanted to do math. (counting by threes at this point).
At last he couldn't stand it anymore. "I'm gonna tell you my secret."
"You are never alone," he half whispers. "The earth talks to you. The earth talks to you, so you are never alone."
"Really?"... Read More
"Really. Does that make you happy?"
"Good: it should."
Back to math...
Another class with the younger students...the child in this picture is 4. He can tell you the quadratic formula if you ask him, and he can tell you how many 4's in 32.
All we are doing is counting and comparing. He can see quite easily that there are eight 4s in 32. He doesn't even have to count by fours although he can thanks to multiplication rock and the Mortensen Skip Count songs...before we did 32, we did 12, and 20. The word "division" didn't even come up...we can introduce that concept later.
The three year old who has motor skills that are not as refined as his brother's had his own blocks to measure...he was counting how many 3's were in 12 at the same time as his brother was measuring 32. They had been working together but then they each got their own "problem" to solve. He was happy to report that there really are four threes in 12. And that four 3s is the same as 12.
Note how I have the blocks pushed up against the tray so they can't get away from him as he lines them up: put the child in a situation where they can not fail.
Now they can take the blocks and build towers with them...this requires motor skills and as they build I ask how many blocks they have AND how many they have. In other words we count three blocks and that's the same as 12 since he is using 4s.
The towers fall over several times but it's no big deal, we just build it and count it again. In this case we are only using the blocks we measured with...
So the three year old only has to stack a few blocks, he measured 15 next and then built his tower. He only had five blocks to deal with. The look of satisfaction on his face when he got then to stay after he let go of them was priceless.
All at once we develop self esteem, fine motor skills, counting, and multiplication and set up for future division concepts all in one easy lesson.