Saturday, August 24, 2013

And the School Room Comes Together...

In the past week, I've been prepping my school room. Last night I wrote in my journal, "Worked on schoolroom (cool!)" Then I looked back to see what I wrote a year ago. It read, "Decorated school room more. Looks cool."  Notice a pattern here? (And perhaps a lack of creativity in adjectives?)

When I say "decorated" it's not really accurate. I put up the essentials. Organize. But leave the wall space for student work. After all, that's what the room is for, right? STUDENTS! And their WORK! :)

Over the years, I've taught in both public school classrooms and in rooms in my house (homeschool), but in the last year, I've taken over an outbuilding to contain my ever-expanding homeschool community classes. The large cabinet, a gift from my sister-in-law, enables me to finally contain all my teaching junk treasures. (At least the materials I need access to in this space. The rest spills into my office and into storage in our barn!) The cabinet will soon fill; I'm slowly moving supplies from one location to another. Visit the room:

Although I'm excited about everything I'll be teaching, in the last couple days I've focused mostly on getting ready to teach fifth grade Bridges Second Edition. My Number Corner area is ready to go with both the Calendar Collector (volume--uses cubes) and Calendar Grid (fractions & decimals--cards are turned over right now--we'll collect data in Sept) on display.

Number Corner

Calendar Collector--we'll be making models with cubes (not those shown--harder!) and calculating volume

Calendar Grid

September, here we come!!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Book Review: The Boy Who Loved Math

Let's see, how can I put this...

This math teacher adores the new book, The Boy Who Loved Math. (!)

The whole premise is a big quirky. I mean, who writes a children's book about a Hungarian mathematician and expects to have a hit? But author Deborah Heiligman and illustrator Leuyen Pham--hilarious pictures!--dazzle me with the story of Paul Erdos.

The hugely precocious youngster, born in Budapest in 1913, can do crazy things; by age 4 he can mentally calculate the number of seconds that have passed since a visitor was born. Yet, spoiled rotten by his mother and Fraulein nanny, he does not even know how to butter his own bread.

School is not a good fit for Paul as he hates rules. His Mama, a germaphobe, is happy to keep him home where he can solve math problems all day. Mama and Fraulein continue to cut his meat, dress him, and tie his shoes.

In high school, Paul returns to school, and by 20, he is world-famous for his mathematical skills. At 21, he is invited to England, and must finally learn to butter his own bread. For the remainder of his life, he travels the world, spending about 19 hours a day doing the thing he loves: MATH.

Curricular connections (beyond the obvious, general, "math" one):
  • prime numbers--Paul is fascinated with them and a couple pages are dedicated to them
  • WWI and WWII--Paul is Jewish. In the author's notes we read, "Most of Paul's relatives were murdered in World War II."
  • biography/mathematician/Erdos number--p. 30, "If you did math with Paul you get an Erdos number of 1. If you worked with someone who worked with Paul, your Erdos number is 2. People are so proud of their Erdos numbers." Is this like the academic form of Six Degrees from Kevin Bacon?? ;)
Check out the author's website for Erdos links to explore. This is a book that will be enjoyed by preschoolers through adults. My 7 & 11yo boys and I were all entranced.

Want to read more math-y titles? Check out the gigantic list.
    Disclosure:  Any purchases made through the Amazon link will result in a small commission (at no cost to you) which will be given to Grace and Hope, providing foster care for children in China. Thanks!

    Sunday, August 11, 2013

    What Are Your MATH Plans?

    It's been a very busy summer. I've been occupied (in no particular order) with:
    • sick people (first a child and now a Lysol trigger finger has gotten plenty of exercise!)
    • packing - both a child for the first year of college and the entire family for a week of camping
    • gardening - I've frozen a tremendous amount of green beans and hope to put up a lot more produce
    • supporting teachers - blogging (not here, obviously!), writing, and teaching workshops
    • lesson planning - thinking about this fall!!!
    Our vacation didn't start til the end of June and won't end until early September, but my math wheels are turning with new ideas as I plan for Bridges Second Edition. I also want to incorporate math apps (free), children's literature, and notebooks. (Math all day, every day?) :) 

    Have you started planning your year? Some of you have probably already begun. I'm curious to know what you are using for math this year, whether in the classroom or in a homeschool setting.

    Share your plans! :)
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