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When you open up a math text with your children, it’s likely that they will groan and say, “Mmmaaath?” in a sort of dramatic whine. There are certain tricks I have used to make their textbook more interesting. I find early math much more amenable to these tricks. Bear, now at third/fourth grade math rarely needs or wants manipulatives so I have been at a bit of a loss for her, but thankfully, Life of Fred math and Beast Academy are keeping the “Aaawww, mmmmaaaath?” from escaping her lips.
So how do I add sparkle to a math lesson? For J-jo, I add manipulatives and games.
This particular page of a 1st grade Singapore book is teaching the numbers from ten to twenty. I glanced at the book, and then shut it, and took out our Montessori Teens board. I made ours by printing out a teens board from somewhere (here’s one) and then gluing popsicle sticks to it so that J-jo would get the same feel as if I had bought the pricey version. He can slide the numbers between the popsicle sticks and this is a very satisfying task at his age. You could easily just draw your own teens board on the fly.
You can see a different way I did the same lesson with Bear three years ago.
I teach my children to say their teens the Rightstart way, so J-jo is learning that eleven is also known as one ten one., twelve is called one ten two, and so on. This will help him remember to write the one first when writing his teen numbers (I had third graders who always wrote 21 when they meant 12).
J-jo then builds the numbers with the cuisenaire rods.
Using the text book as reference and creating hands-on math lessons makes the subject less tedious. It brings play into the lesson and allows students to figure out patterns as they explore the material through the manipulatives. It makes prepping for math longer, but am I not called to be the best teacher I can be? (And lest you think I have the energy to always make math fun, I don’t. It’s often just drudgery done via pencil and paper.) However, I owe it to my students to make the effort as often as I can.
Outside My Window:
Snow! A rare treat. The kids had so much fun playing out there while I stayed inside supervising from the window. I don’t like snow. I don’t like cold. I wish we were in Costa Rica right now enjoying beaches and warmth. However, snow is beautiful and my children’s pure delight in being able to play in snow was great and I was thankful to be part of that. To be part of the joys of everyday life.
This new-to-me blog about dealing with the grief of losing children. I had a really bad January with regards to grief, but a great talk with a dear friend today has been a huge blessing and I feel a great weight lifted.
In the schoolroom:
J-jo is trying to read everything and anything he can place his hands on. He can comfortably read Little Bear (affil. link) or Frog and Toad (affil. link) or those such books, but I love his enthusiasm as he sits there with a huge pile and tries to read each book.
By the way, if you don’t feel like (or just can’t) spend the money on All About Reading to get your child to read, there are wonderful free, or nearly-free resources out there. Teaching Reading With Bob Books is gimmick-free, simple and only requires the Bob books.
I’ve been contemplating what to do for next year’s curriculum, specifically for writing. I’m looking forward to reading more of Brandy’s series on writing, as it may give me more wisdom about it. I feel like Bear has outgrown Writing With Ease. She’s halfway through Book 2 but it is too easy for her. She does the summaries without the questions and does the copywork as a cold dictation. I have WWE3 and it’s just more of the same and doesn’t really get any harder than what we’ve already altered WWE2 to be. I have been reading Chelli’s scope and sequence for writing. For third grade, Chelli includes:
From the kitchen:
I have a basic scone recipe that I adapt. I add Parmesan and chopped spinach as a variation all the time and the kids love it, so today I tried to alter that since I was out of spinach and the snow meant no quick trip to the store. My husband and I loved the red pepper and zucchini variation. The kids on the other hand vehemently agreed the spinach version was better.
On My Nightstand:
Still in the process of reading Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child (affil. link) and Desiring the Kingdom. I love the first and am only forcing myself to read the second. Ten Ways is hard to put down. I just want to keep reading it and end up going to sleep too late.
In the Works:
I found joy a bit difficult this month as the grief settled in again like an unwelcome friend. I’m writing a post on finding joy in the small things to help me refocus.