Saturday, December 31, 2011

One, Two, Skip a Few!

Recently ran across a math-related book I've never read. (Crazy, I know!) :)  One, Two, Skip a Few! contains number rhymes perfect for the preK-Kindergarten set. But I could also see it used as a model for writing math-related poetry in the upper grades.

It contains a few familiar poems such as "One, two, three, four, five, Once I caught a fish alive..." but it also includes many poems new to me. Some include vocabulary for ordinal numbers: first, second, third, etc. Others include examples of concepts like multiplication...

"Twice one are two,
Violets white and blue.
Twice two are four,
Sunflowers at the door."
(continues up to twice twelve...)

Great book to add to a math-related children's library! And inexpensively out-of-print, to boot! Looking for more math-related children's titles? The gigantic booklist has been updated!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Math Monday Blog Hop Break

Let's take a week off from the Math Monday Blog Hop to enjoy restful time with friends and family. In the meantime, if you are antsy to think about math, visit the list of 100s of math-related children's books or enjoy some of the many marvelous lessons in Math Monday Blog Hops from this past year.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and have a great last couple days in 2011!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Math Monday Blog Hop #37 (December 19, 2011)

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Math Monday Blog Hop #36 (December 12, 2011)

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Math App...Improves Fraction Test Scores

Last year I bought my first math app ever, Motion Math, and reviewed it in a blog entry. A friend just sent me an article, "Proof in Study: Math App Inproves Test Scores (And Engagement)", talking about an independent study in which Motion Math "showed that fifth graders' fractions test scores improved an average of over 15% after playing Motion Math for 20 minutes daily over a five-day period, a significant increase compared to the control group." It also showed an increase in their overall liking of fractions. Although I think my son does show a natural affinity toward fractions, we seem to be cruising through our fraction curriculum at breakneck speed... Maybe his exposure to Motion Math helped?

I find this all very interesting. I wonder where apps in education are headed...? Do you use math apps in the classroom or with your homeschool student?

(And I don't work for Motion Math or get any kickbacks, btw. I even had to plunk down the .99 for my own game! :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Rabbit Problem (linking math and lit)

The Rabbit Problem is not a book about math. It says so on the cover. But you can't always judge a book by it's cover. ;)

According to the back cover, "This book is based on a problem that was solved in the 13th Century by the Mathematician Fibonacci, but it is NOT (I repeat NOT) a book about math. It is a book about rabbits... Lots of rabbits!"

And it's adorable. In a rabbit-infestation sort of way. Every 2-page section depicts a calendar spread from a month in the year. In January, we have one rabbit. On the calendar, you see an invitation "to be my friend." In February, rabbit has a friend rabbit and the population grows to 2 (one pair). By March, the population reaches 4 (two pairs) and the reader finds a rabbit baby book to flip through. Throughout the year, the population grows and grows. Pages often include flips and flaps for readers to open. Oh, and don't overlook the rabbit chew holes! Humorous notations are on many calendar dates. The final page pops-up to show rabbits galore. 288, perhaps? (And, no, I'm not counting them to check!)

Not about math. Yeah, right. ;)

Here's a bit more rabbit, Fibonacci-style, to chew on.

P.S. At the moment I wrote this blog entry, I noticed the book was advertised for a pretty good discount.

P.P.S. And check out the gargantuan book list for more math-lit connections!

Disclaimer: If you order from Amazon links on love2learn2day, all commissions go toward foster care through Grace and Hope at no additional cost to you. THANK YOU!  

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fraction Visuals ( you have fraction anxiety??)

Here are a couple visuals to share from our current unit on fractions. (Bridges, Grade 3) I love this stuff...and wish someone had taught me fractions this way. To this day, I still harbor feelings of anxiety about fractions due to the way I was taught. (Or NOT taught.) Do you have fraction anxiety? How do you teach fractions?

Sharing licorice with different numbers of friends...lots of fractions! During this lesson my student said, "This is easy! It's just like multiplication!"

We made quilt blocks and looked at many different fractions as we cut pieces and formed the squares.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Learning Basic Skills Through Music (preK/K hit!!)

Although don't consider myself a preK/K specialist, lately I'm finding myself more and more immersed in that world as I teach a little co-op group. We are having such fun. Today I used a CD by Hap Palmer, Learning Basic Skills Through Music Vol. 2, that my kiddos couldn't get enough of!!

On the CD, Palmer asks kids to follow directions to learn a wide variety of basic skills. We did two songs today. The first song, "Parade of Colors," asks kids to march around, sit when the bell rings, and then stand/sit when a color is mentioned. Our mini-unit today was about "mittens" so I gave each child a paper mitten in a different color. They absolutely glowed when their color was called! They asked to do the song four times...wanted to do it a fifth, but I convinced them it was time to stop for snack. :)

The other song we tried, "Let's Dance," asked kids to move forward, backward, left and right. Since our theme was mittens, I had them all put a mitten on their right hand we'd know which side was right. I planned to follow this with a reading of Tana Hoban's book, All About Where, but we ran short on time. Like most of Hoban's books, this one contains beautiful photographs and includes the words: above, on, behind, under, out, against, across, between, in, through, beside, among, below, over, around. Children can then discuss how the words apply to objects in the photos.

The CD I have contains several math-related songs to work on identifying shapes or numbers. Children move toward certain numbers or shapes or try to match one posted in the room.

Both resources are excellent in preK/K for any sort of a group, whether at home or at school. Wish I would have know about the CDs a long time ago. I'm eager to check out Volume 1 of the same set after reading the reviews on Amazon. (You can hear samples of Vol. 1 on the Amazon page...Vol. 1 is the black cover below...Vol. 2 that I own is the red cover.)

Disclaimer: If you order from Amazon, all commissions go toward foster care through Grace and Hope at no additional cost to you. THANK YOU! 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Math Monday Blog Hop #35 (December 5, 2011)

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Math Advent Calendars - new ones!

The NRICH site has two new math calendars for this Advent season. You'll find a primary and secondary version containing math activities to do each day until Christmas Eve. Enjoy!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Game Review: Cartoon It!

Cartoon It! is totally unlike any game we've ever played.

The game begins as each player is given 30 seconds to memorize the features of a cartoon character on a card. When time ends, the player turns the card over and uses the "Features Board" to assist him in recalling all the parts of the cartoon. He draws the cartoon with as much accuracy as possible. Points are awarded for number of correct features; a bonus point is given to the player who finishes first.

We played this for the first time over Thanksgiving break with a mixed group, ages 5-adult. One adult was always done first, so we quickly decided to forego giving a bonus point for finishing first. If we allowed players the time they needed, all players got full points every time. (It's slightly embarrassing to admit that the 5yo often remembered as well as the adults. I shouldn't be surprised considering the fact that my kids regularly beat me at Memory.) Since everyone was successful, it became less a competitive game and more of an opportunity to work on drawing and memorization. We experienced amusement, merriment, and occasional awe as we viewed all the drawings. When the rest of us quit, my almost-6yo kept drawing on his own, using the cards and the features board. I could see it inspiring some children to draw more often.

I think this is the perfect game for the right person/group. It's a great little tool for children to practice memorization and drawing skills. I like the visual/spatial qualities. I could see a group of slightly older children having an uproariously good time, comparing their cartoons to the originals. The game fills a unique niche in the market and could be a fun group activity for holiday play. It would also make a fun classroom game for early finishers...especially those who like to draw.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy and no other compensation. This is my personal opinion. If you order from Amazon, all commissions go toward foster care through Grace and Hope at no additional cost to you. THANK YOU! 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Game Review: Speed! Multiplication/Skip Counting

Speed! is a "two-person game that uses skip counting to teach multiplication." (from the game directions)

The game comes with 8 decks of cards for skip counting 2s-9s. The photo (above) is from the 2s deck which contains 4 sets of identical cards numbered: 2,4,6,8,10,12,14,16,18,20. A visual representation of "beads" matches the card number.

To play, each person is given half the deck. Several cards are placed on the playing surface; each player then races to discard from a line-up of four cards in front of him/her. Players may lay cards one skip count higher or lower than the cards in the center. So, for example, you could lay either a 4 or an 8 on a 6. YouTube shows the game in play.

Game Strengths:
* My 9yo son enjoyed the game. (He does already know his times tables, but I think he would have enjoyed it equally, even if he didn't know them.) When I asked him for a comment on the game, he said, "It's FUN!" Why? "Because it's like multiplication!"
* I like the idea of practicing skip counting through a game. Skip counting is a foundational step toward developing understanding of multiplication. I think that alone makes it worthwhile.
* Sturdy box and colorful cards. Sturdy game boxes make me happy. :)

Additional Thoughts:
*Both my son and I felt like it was a little difficult to read the numbers on the card corners. While I was glad that a visual representation was included (beads), they were quite small and in the larger numbers got rather muddled as the beads spiraled due to the large number count.
*I think skip counting is a very important skill and foundational in learning multiplication (and this provides practice), but I'm not quite sold on the idea that this will "teach multiplication." The directions do suggest trying multiplication after the child is familiar with the increments in a deck by asking questions like, "What is the 1st (or 6th, etc.) number in Two Speed?" I suppose if you were really diligent about this, it could result in learning multiplication, but it's not how I'd approach it.
*We often finished the game in a tie because neither of us could lay the remaining few cards in our hand. While I don't think that all games need to end with one winner (probably best for those of us who have issues with competition!) I think it would be more fun to race to a certain conclusion. After we played awhile, we decided that the person with the least number of cards left was the winner. I'm tempted to alter our cards so that half of each deck is marked for one person and then play it more like one of our favorite games, Dutch Blitz. In that game, you play until the first person gets rid of his/her blitz pile of 10 cards...and the person with the most cards placed on the table would then win. (If anyone wants this alternative play strategy explained in more depth, holler.)

Bottom Line: If your kids (in the classroom or at home) are learning skip counting, you'll find this useful. With 8 decks, you could have up to 16 kids playing at once, all at their own level. While I personally wouldn't rely on it to teach multiplication, it does provide practice toward foundational understanding.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy and no other compensation. This is my personal opinion. If you order from Amazon, all commissions go toward foster care through Grace and Hope at no additional cost to you. THANK YOU! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Math Monday Blog Hop #34 (November 28, 2011)

Sorry I'm a day late. Busy, busy, busy around here! A late Happy Thanksgiving to all! :)

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Game Review: Spot It!

Shopping on Cyber Monday? Check out these math-related gifts and games or these great math children's books.

Here's a game that's new to us...

I'd not heard of Spot It! before friends gave it to us as a hostess gift about a week ago. Since that time, it's been played and enjoyed by one of my classes as well as by a variety of groups/ages that have been around for the Thanksgiving holiday. It's the perfect size for a stocking stuffer. And would make a great classroom or family game. I recommend it as you think about your Cyber Monday gift list...

Spot It! comes with a deck of round cards in a little tin container. To play, you lay two cards on the playing surface. All players try to find the ONE symbol that matches on both cards. You will only find ONE symbol that matches on any pair of cards. Can you spot the matching symbol below? (They will always color match but they do not need to be the same size.)

The player who calls the matching symbol first wins one of the cards. The last card played is left on the table and a new card from the deck is added. Play continues as everyone tries to be the first to spot the symbol that matches.

We played the game as children arrived for one of my private classes. Kids of all ages participated in trying to find the matching symbols. At our holiday gatherings we played with ages 5-adult. Since everyone can participate, it's an excellent activity to include many ages and group sizes. Rules include 4 variations that would lend a bit of variety to game play.

Lastly, I think someone should use this as an upper-level math exploration...  All week, guests have been trying to figure out how they could make a game with 55 cards in which every card has one...and only one...symbol that is identical on another card. You can pick up any two cards in the entire deck and find just one symbol that is identical on both. Explain what the parameters would have to be to make this mathematically possible.

Disclaimer: I received my game as a gift and have no affiliation with the company. If you order from Amazon, all commissions go toward foster care through Grace and Hope at no additional cost to you. THANK YOU!  

Friday, November 25, 2011

Equilibrio, Architecto, Cliko (Blocks for Big Kids)

I'll be highlighting some of our all-time favorite math games/manipulatives as you think about gift giving this season. This is one of our absolute favorites...a block product for older kids (5 to adult) that develops mathematical skills. It would make an excellent classroom Math Station or homeschool Workbox.

When I first wrote this post, I used it with my then 7yo. He continues to use it at age 9. My youngest started working some of the easier puzzles at age 4 and is now quite good at the beginning levels at age 5. Some of the more complex puzzles are difficult for these sets really do reach all age levels.

********Original post follows:

The Equilibrio, Architecto, and Cliko line by FoxMind rank in my top ten for math education products. I began using them a year ago with my 7yo. The products vary in complexity even within a given book and can be used with children through adults. Here's a brief overview:

Equilibrio could, I suppose, be considered the first in the "series" as the recommended age is 5 and up.

 The boxed set comes with a set of 18 specialty blocks that are used to erect structures illustrated in the spiral-bound challenge book. The structures begin deceptively simple ("Oh, this is soooooo easy!") and become increasingly difficult as you progress through 60 different structures. Levels of difficulty are indicated at the bottom of the page, as are guides that tell exactly which blocks are used in the structure. My son can easily build the early structures on his own, but he needs help as the book progresses. A lot of balance is necessary for some of the more difficult buildings. [If you buy the Architecto set below, you get the blocks and need an Equilibrio: book only.]

Architecto, recommended for ages 7 & up, is slightly different, although it uses the same blocks.

This book illustrates 3-D models. At the bottom of each page you see which blocks are used, but you have to look at the 3-D model, using "fairly sophisticated logical analysis and spatial perception" in order to build it. 50 illustrations/building puzzles are included.

Finally, Cliko, the granddaddy of challenges, is recommended for 8 years and up for people who "enjoy sophisticated puzzles." [Link is just to the book and assumes you already own the blocks through one of the above sets.]

In this book you again see a photo of a structure along with a list of blocks needed to complete it. This book, however, shows certain viewpoints of the structure...and the player needs to consider all viewpoints in order to determine whether a structure is feasible or not; sometimes the structure is shown at 3 different camera angles. Tough stuff. My 7yo can do beginning levels. I'm not sure if I can do the most advanced.

Note: You need one set of blocks to complete the structures in all books. The books can be purchased separately. So if you buy one book/block set, you just need other books (without blocks) to do the other activities/puzzles. Clear as mush? :)

Disclaimer: I bought my own set--one set of blocks and all 3 books--and have no contact with the company that produces it. If you use the Amazon link to buy your own, Grace and Hope (foster care for kids in China) will make a few cents (at no cost to you.) My blog policy, however, is that I don't blog about things that I don't like. I love this.

Happy Building! ;)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Free December Calendar Markers - Teddy Bear & Box Pattern

The Math Learning Center, a nonprofit organization, has a ton of free resources on its website. I plan to do the "Teddy Bear & Box Calendar Pattern" for December. On the Kindergarten Supplement page you can download both the calendar pieces (pdf, in color) and lesson plans for FREE. (Look under "Geometry" for C4 Teddy Bear & Box and C4 December Calendar Markers.)

With these markers, students describe the location of a teddy bear relative to a box "using words such as inside, outside, behind, in front of, to the left of, to the right of, above and below."  Kindergarteners will love this!! :) At school or at home!

Pictures posted with permission of The Math Learning Center.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Math Monday Blog Hop #33 (November 21, 2011)

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Game Review: Chocolate Fix (great for early math finishers!)

Trying to think of a good gift for your child? A child's classroom? Chocolate Fix might just fit the bill...or fix your gift list! :) My 9yo received this for his birthday and it's been used and loved by him, his teen brother, and my husband. The 8 and up designation makes sense; I think it would be a bit difficult for younger kids.

A perfect blend of fun and logical deduction, a single player must manipulate 9 chocolate game pieces according to the clues given on puzzle cards to come up with the correct arrangement of chocolates. If you play Sudoku, you'll recognize similarities. (For more details, the ThinkFun site --click on "how to play"--features a visual sequence showing how the game is played). Forty puzzle cards are included in a little spiral-bound flip-it book and are ranked by difficulty: beginner, intermediate, advanced, and expert. The set is stored in a drawstring bag for easy traveling.

I grabbed the photo from the ThinkFun website as our game edition (last year's) didn't come with the shape and color placeholders. This is an excellent addition as it would make it much easier to keep track of what is known vs. what is unknown. 

I love the problem solving inherent in the game. This would make a wonderful Math Station/"early finisher" activity for a single student at school or Math Workbox in homeschool. Look at this article on using it to teach geometry.

Over the next few days, I'll be highlighting some of our favorite math games and books. Holiday shopping begin! :)

Disclaimer: I bought my own game and have no affiliation with ThinkFun. If you order from Amazon, all commissions go toward foster care through Grace and Hope at no additional cost to you. THANK YOU! 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Kids LOVE this Patterning Activity!!!

Last month, I demonstrated how to make your own Pattern Pull. I have to report on my experiences with it since...

This year, my son is participating in a preK/K co-op. When I taught, I introduced the Pattern Pull to this group of 4 & 5-year-olds. You should have heard the squeals and excitement!!!  They were thrilled to guess what would come out of the sleeve next. Each time, I'd tease them by VERY. VERY. SLOWLY. pulling the pattern out. It could have been Christmas morning for the excitement they showed. If you have preK-2nd graders, this is such a great, cheap, easy math activity. When I finished with the group session, I gave the kids access to the materials during "choice time."

Can't recommend this highly enough! :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Leaf Placemats, Collages, Thanksgiving Decor!

Around here, we still have a LOT of leaves falling. This project would make a great Thanksgiving decoration...

While studying "L is for Leaf," we read Read Leaf, Yellow Leaf. For each student I anchored a sheet of contact paper, sticky side up, to the table with a tiny piece of tape in each corner. Students then covered the contact paper with leaves. I used dried leaves although I think fresh fallen leaves would work as long as they weren't wet. Because we were studying "L is for Leaf," each student then put a cut "L" on top of their leaves. You could substitute a Thanksgiving sticker or picture if you were making Thanksgiving placemats. I then put a top layer of contact paper on the collage and trimmed the edges. We hung our projects, so I hole-punched the top and made a loop with yarn.

 We also read two more books that explore how you can make pictures out of leaves, Look What I Did with a Leaf! and Leaf Man. Collages like this could also be used on contact paper for decorations or placemats.

Linking up to stART.

Disclaimer: If you order from Amazon, all commissions go toward foster care through Grace and Hope at no additional cost to you. THANK YOU!  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Turkey Calendar

When I saw the calendar pattern that Little Miss Kindergarten did with turkeys, I just had to try it! And then when I saw the Fancy Nancy handprint turkeys at Almost Unschoolers, I wanted to include that idea. (Both of these bloggers are brilliant!) With their great ideas and a free online lesson from The Math Learning Center, you can do this, too! Before Thanksgiving!

Here's the plan:

1. Read Fancy Nancy Our Thanksgiving Banquet. You'll be inspired to create fancy handprint turkeys.

2. Read Setting the Turkeys Free(link below). In this adorable book, "A young boy uses his hands, paint, sequins, and everything imaginable to make beautiful turkeys in his picture. Soon his imagination takes over, and the turkeys take on a life of their own."

3. Have kids make a set of 30 fancy handprint turkeys on squares that will fit into a calendar pocket chart. (I use the large one.) If you want to have multiple access points to your pattern, use two background colors like Little Miss Kindergarten did. I used only one background color.

4. Print this free lesson plan from The Math Learning Center for a butterfly calendar: C3 Flying Butterflies. (You'll find it under "geometry.") The lesson calls for you to print butterflies calendar grid cards (also free) and have the kids explore the pattern as the butterflies point in four directions: up, to the right, down, to the left. Follow the lesson, using turkey cards instead of butterflies. To do this, you'll want to arrange the pattern for yourself first, then add dates to the cards so that the date is always in the correct location, even when the turkeys turn.

5. Do the lesson with your classroom or homeschool child. You can do it with one card at a time (if you start on Nov. 1st) or do a week or more of cards at a time if you start later in the month. We've been doing about a week at a time.

In doing this with a 5.75yo, I found it helpful to add some additional support, both to recognize the pattern and to understand direction. I tried a lot of things:

*I had the child point each direction as we reviewed each card. As we reviewed each card, we also chanted the direction aloud: "up, to the right, down, to the left...up, to the right, down, to the left."
*When the pointing seemed a little weak, I added whole body movement. We stretched to the ceiling, moved to touch a chair to the right, touched the floor, and moved to touch a chair to the left.
*When the directions/pattern still seemed a little weak, we made a pointer with our Purplinker and pointed in each direction as we chanted through the pattern.
*I made a bunch of arrow cards (see pink in photo) and had the student put the cards in each pocket to show (again!) which direction the turkey feathers were pointing.

The student started to be able to predict the pattern with some consistency around day 15. So he didn't find this pattern easy. But it's so worthwhile! Anybody else know teenagers...perhaps adults...who still don't know right from their left? ;)

Note: Behind each of our turkeys you can see the white cards peeking out which contain our daily journal entries. It works great to put the calendar pattern in front of each entry.

Thank you!: This lesson is thanks to The Math Learning Center, Little Miss Kindergarten, and Almost Unschoolers. Linking up to stART and TGIF Linky Party.

Disclaimer: If you order from Amazon, all commissions go toward foster care through Grace and Hope at no additional cost to you. THANK YOU!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fun with Time...Books & Foldable

Have a little time on your hands? Maybe it's time to learn about TIME! Here's some fun that we've been having:

Books on Time...Here's What We've Been Reading:

Just a Minute!
Fred is confused about what a "minute" is because his family members keep saying "just a minute" but then proceed to take a VERY. LONG. TIME. Cute book.

Clocks and More Clocks
Mr. Higgins thinks that the clocks in his house don't keep correct time. He'll check a clock on one floor in his house, find it's 3:00, only to go upstairs and find that the clock there says 3:01. Since he can never catch clocks on different floors showing the same exact time, he's convinced there is something wrong. My 9yo totally caught the humor and kept shaking his head throughout the reading.

Telling Time
Great introduction to the concept of time. More advanced than your usual concept book, addressing everything from seconds to hours, analog and digital clocks, and years to millennia. 

Hands-on with Time

Judy Clock
Each student took a Judy Clock and moved the hour and minute hand as we talked about them. I then called out various times and had students check to see that they had the same time as their neighbor.

Time Foldable
My students made their own foldable books about time. We made foldable books with four sections. (Sorta like this "flip flap with 4 flaps.") Each child picked four times during the day. On the top of a flap, he wrote the activity that takes place during a certain time and drew a picture. On the inside of that flap, we stamped a blank clock. Each student showed the time with a Judy Clock and then copied the Judy Clock time onto the blank clock. For example, a child wrote "get up" and illustrated the front of the flap with a picture of getting out of bed. He then showed his wake up time on a Judy Clock (6:45) and copied that information onto the stamp inside the flap. I told my students they could then quiz other people to see if they could figure out when each event took place...and then have their readers open the flap to check.

Disclaimer: If you order from Amazon, all commissions go toward foster care through Grace and Hope at no additional cost to you. THANK YOU!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Math Monday Blog Hop #32 (November 14, 2011)

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Journaling with a Calendar Pocket Chart !!

When I first saw this idea posted on The Math Learning Center blog (see photo #6), I couldn't believe I'd never thought of it before. It's so simple yet so awesome...

I've always had kids journal. Always used a calendar grid pocket chart (5"x5" pockets). But never put them together. So now I'm having kids record things that happen during the day to put on our wall calendar pocket chart. We try to either write at the end of the day or write in the morning about the previous day.

At the end of the month, I'm collecting the cards, holes punched on one corner, to make into a "book of the month," gathered on a ring. It will be tremendously fun for us to look back and see what we did each month.

This does mean that my calendar patterns have to go in front of our journal squares. Either that, or I need to hang a separate calendar. This month we're using turkey handprints for our calendar pattern and they fit nicely in front of the journal squares.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Math Monday Blog Hop #31 (November 7, 2011)

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Friday, November 4, 2011

Kanoodle: A Kid's Review

My 9yo received Kanoodle for his birthday. In the past week it's been in perpetual use by both my 9 and 5yo...and occasionally by their father. Guest poster, LilDude (9), is here to tell you about this game...

Kanoodle is a game that you can play but it's like a puzzle. You put some of the pieces in (the ones they tell you to), and the rest you try and put in so they all fit in the board.You can do 2-D or 3-D pyramid puzzles.

The pieces are like little beads connected together. All of the pieces have different shapes. There are 12 pieces and you try to make them all fit on a 5-by-11 hole board. There are 100+ different puzzles to try and do. There are six levels: pro, super pro, champ, whiz, expert and genius. I think it's a good game because there is a of stuff that you can do with it.

There is an instruction manual. The case it comes in is small--a little bigger than a deck of cards--so it's easy to carry around. I'm amazed that they thought of all those puzzles.

On a scale of 1-10, I'd give this an 8 because it's fun but if you do one of the last puzzles it's really hard. I like doing the pyramid puzzles.

Mom Report: Love this! It feels like a toy but is great for visual/spatial reasoning. It would make a great Math Station at school or Workbox at home. Based on our experience, it also makes a great gift!

Disclaimer: I bought my own Kanoodle game and have no company affiliation. If you order from Amazon, all commissions go toward foster care through Grace and Hope at no additional cost to you. THANK YOU!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Subitizing: Counting Rope & Speedy Pictures Game

I've been intrigued with the concept of subitizing or "instantly seeing the quantity" ever since reading about it in a recent issues of Teaching Children Mathematics. I've started using our DIY counting rope to flash quantities in front of my 5yo. Want to join us? If you're a homeschooler, just make a counting rope and pull a small number of beads to one end. Then hold up the rope for a brief look (long enough to see the beads but not long enough to count each bead individually.) Teachers could put the counting rope under a document camera or lay game chips on an overhead for a similar experience.

Then, extend learning with this "Speedy Pictures" game.  You can choose to flash a visual representation of a number using fingers, dice, rekenrek, eggs, or number discs. The flash time may be increased or decreased, according to student needs. Students get a moment or two to see the quantity--but not count one by one--before being asked to enter a total. This activity would make a great computer-based Math Station.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Square Cat Giveaway Winner...

Winner of Square Cat is...

Anonymous said...
Square cats would have trouble cuddling in their owners' laps, because they can't curl up into a round ball! urchiken at gmail dot com

Monday, October 31, 2011

Math Monday Blog Hop #30

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Graph Your Halloween Candy!

Quick repost from last year. Don't forget to graph! 

Jedi Master say...

"A good Jedi must always graph his Halloween candy before eating it. May the force be with you!!"

 Fastest graph, EVER! ;)

Jedi Masters need chocolate, too. Think the Jedi would notice if a piece of his graph disappeared? ;)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Life in Numbers II...Real Life Problem Solving

Earlier this week, I posted about a fabulous idea Courtney shared at A Middle School Survival Guide having students make Math Journal or Notebook covers telling math ideas about themselves. I've found that these covers become a fabulous jumping-off point for PROBLEM SOLVING.

After students finish their covers, have them generate several problems on 3x5" notecards that use the information they created. For example, on my cover, I posted the following:

I went ahead and wrote my problem on the cover itself, but would have students write on cards. My question, "How many hours do I sleep each night? Each week?" could then be posed to other students. In the classroom, I could put my cover under the document camera and ask students to answer the question posed on my card(s). They could then share a variety of strategies for solving the problem. In a homeschool setting, children could write problems for siblings or parents to solve. Problems could be written at a wide variety of levels, making them grade and age appropriate.

At the Northwest Math Conference I went to a workshop entitled, "Taking the Numb Out of Numbers" by Don Fraser (Ontario, Canada). He began by telling the group of 30 of us, "Did you know that in a group of 23 or 24 there is a 50% chance that at least two people in the group will have the same birthday?" He then gave us a graph showing us the probability of sharing the same birthday in groups of varying sizes. In a group our size--30 people--the likelihood was 70%. We graphed the days/months for birthdays in the room. Interestingly enough, none of us shared the same birthday...we were in the 30%. After looking at the data, Don asked us to come up with problem solving questions--real life questions--based on the information we'd collected. It was amazing to see how many questions we could generate, at all different levels of mathematical knowledge and proficiency.

Don encouraged us to begin each day by reading a "story" and having kids make up a question/word problem. Going back to the math notebook covers, imagine the possibilities if you put ONE child's notebook cover up each day and asked kids to generate questions from the "stories" found there. The problem solving possibilities are endless!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Capacity Scarecrows

When I saw Mathwire's lesson plan, Measurement Man, using "scarecrows to visually represent the relationship between gallon, quart, pint, cup" I knew what we were going to do today!

I set out several containers and asked my student to predict/estimate how many of each would fit into others, just by looking. He recorded ideas in his notebook.

He put the containers in order by capacity. I asked him to figure out how many:

  • cups in a pint?
  • pints in a quart?
  • quarts in a half gallon?
  • half gallons in a gallon?
He measured water, recording his results. I then asked him to look at his data to figure out:
  • cups in a quart?
  • quarts in a half gallon?
We then proceeded to make Measurement Man. As we worked, he told me how many of each measurement were equivalent to others.

Another student worked at a 5yo level and choose to make a monster face on his man.

Thank you, MATHWIRE, for another awesome lesson!

P.S. When we were showing these to Daddy and older siblings tonight, my student was quizzed again about various equivalencies. Funny thing? Dad and sibs had to check the scarecrows to see if he was right. :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Math Journals & Notebooks

This is one of the times I feel very grateful to have connections to both the public school and homeschool community. Excitement bubbles in the homeschool world over lapbooks (we do an "on-steroids" version called Portfolders), closely followed by notebooks, where students demonstrate learning through student-made folders, foldables and creative notebook pages. Some homeschoolers focus specifically on math. Recently, I've seen a lot of fabulous information on teacher blogs about using journals/notebooks in the context of math. Since we are using math notebooks this year,  I'm enjoying...

1. Designing our journal covers
I love this idea. This teacher had her students design journal covers using "Math About Me." Students used numbers, pictures, word problems, etc. to represent themselves mathematically. In an upcoming post, I'll share ours...along with some fun extensions.

2. Basic Journal Pages
I'm using blacklines from the Bridges Math Journal as pages. The bulk of the pages are centimeter grid paper which makes it helpful when we're doing math problems, drawing graphs, making diagrams, etc. The back of the journal includes visuals in a blank math glossary (designed for students to fill in) which matches the Word Resource Cards that we use. I'm going to have my student refer to the visual glossary and the Word Resource Cards whenever we add vocabulary to the journal.

3. We'll use flaps, foldables and other interactive models.
In our Portfolders, we use a lot of flips and flaps to demonstrate learning in fun, interactive ways. Dinah Zike is the Queen of Foldables and has many great resources, including Big Book of Math and Notebook Foldables. Some of these are displayed at Simply2ndResources.

So what exactly are math journals/notebooks for? We'll be using them to...
  • Write our own definitions of math vocabulary used in our daily lessons.
  • Demonstrate our understanding of math using pictures, numbers, diagrams, etc... 
  • Refer back to math concepts that we explored earlier in the year. We'll continue to add to our knowledge by revising and adding to what we've already written.
  • Provide ample opportunity to write in the context of math.
  • Explore problem solving in creative ways, often using children's books.
  • Look at math in many settings: daily life, historical, games & more
These are other places I'll be visiting!

Runde's Room

Jimmie on Math Notebooking

Math Journals Boost Real Learning

I'll be back soon with examples from our notebooks! Would you like to share yours?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Math Monday Blog Hop #29

So much to share! Upcoming posts include math journals & notebooks, more math tools from the "one buck" store, gift ideas for the holiday season and more. Also, remember to enter the giveaway for a copy of Square Cat. Just a week remains!

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Make-It-Yourself-Math...Counting Rope

At the Northwest Math conference I felt very privileged to sit in on several Kim Sutton workshops. If you've seen her, you know how amazing she is. If you haven't, I highly recommend checking into her work at Creative Mathematics.

In one of her workshops, she briefly held up a "Counting Rope." I thought it a very nifty math manipulative and received permission from Kim to make a video showing how to make your own. This is an incredible visual model for demonstrating addition, subtraction, counting and more!

If you like the video, I encourage you to comment here or on YouTube, showing your appreciation to Kim for allowing me to pass on this information. And look for Kim's book, Do The Math (scroll down on this page), for activities using the counting rope. Enjoy!

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