Oct 3, 2008

Math: let it not be dull

When I was a kid, I did well in school. I loved loved LOVED to read, I had a good memory and was an excellent guesser. But I hated math. It was just so boring! We had a rather dull curriculum (in those days, there wasn't many options out there) and math was the worst. It was all worksheets and timed drills. I used to make up personalities to go with each number and made up stories about their lives that made math bearable. I'm horrible at math and I believe it is a direct result of those bored-out-my-mind early years.
My son is a genius at math. He loves the order and the rhythm of it. He is four-and-a-half, and he can add and subtract. He can add +1 in his head, and can add any single digit problem you could give him with the add of a 100 chart. He is working on 1st grade Horizons math and so far, has not had one bit of problem. He gets his math work done before his five-and-a-half-year-old sister does.
And THAT is the point of my post. Kaytie hates math. She is bored. She is unchallenged. And I don't want what happened to me to happen to her I don't want her to be bad at it just because it is dull.
So I do things like this: I write out their problems on our magnetic dry erase boards and easel, and let them use magnetic letters to answer the problems.

I give them games to play that utilize their math skills.

I give them animal counters to mark their spot when they are practicing skip-counting with their 100 charts.

If you click on this picture it will enlarge and you can see that only the dogs are facing Kaytie. She turned all the other animals the other way, because (for today, at least) she only likes dogs. See, I told you she is like me! lol

I give them math cubes and a segmented strip of paper to practice place value. (I also put slips of paper in the pocket chart along with number cards, but I don't have a picture of that)

I gave them a number and they had to put the correct number of cubes in the tens place and the ones place.

And this is a game I read about, but I just went to the blog where I thought I read about it, and it isn't there. So I will keep looking, and hopefully, will find it and give proper credit. If you know what blog this was one, post a comment, please?
But anyway, this game is cool. Nate loved it and Kaytie enjoyed it reasonably well. They solved the addition problem, then picked a car and drove it to the parking spot that matched their answer. I am always looking for ways that I can check their work at a glance, since I am always simultaniously helping two children with two different projects (if I let them work together they "cheat" off of each other) and prepping for the next subject. If I had only one child I would be soooooo bored! But anyway, this was one of those ideas that helped me keep up with checking their math work!


lindafay said...

Dear Mother of all these adorable children on your blog,

You've shared some great math ideas. I've linked you in my delicious sidebar.


joelle said...

I truly love your blog. Your kids are like mine. My 3.5 is good at math and my 5.5 does not like it but is good in language arts. I love your ideas and will definitely try them at my house. Thanks and thanks.


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