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! 

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