Recently Teacher Tom had a great post about math on his blog. And, as is my custom, I've been pondering his words since.
|Spontaneous math at the chalkboard|
I love that preschoolers and kindergartners are learning all types of things at the same time. They don't just focus on literacy at one time and math another time. They learn social skills, practical skills, emotional and coping skills, and reading and math skills all at the same time, balled up in their everyday play.
I thought about Teacher Tom's observations and applied those observations to my class. We, too, spend time classifying and grouping. We create or find patterns. We even weigh and measure.
|Ready for counting|
|Weighing and noting weights|
|Sorting names and words|
|Notice that lids and blocks are grouped together|
|One name, one turn|
|Sorting by color to set the table|
|Sorting animals for the zoo|
|Writing numbers, because we choose to do it|
|Measuring (and they are both the same)|
Kids: "There are 4 boys! We have 5 girls!"
Me: "4 boys. 5 girls. So how many children do we have?"
Kids: "9 kids."
Me: "And we have 2 adults. 9 kids, 2 adults. How many people are here?"
Kids: "Counting you, we have 5 boys. And 6 girls when we count Mrs. Cindy."
Me: "Okay. 5 boys, 6 girls. How many people?"
Me: "Do we have more boys or more girls?"
Our routine doesn't always follow this order or even all of these observations. Sometimes we get into how many more boys we have than girls and so forth. Sometimes we group in other ways (dresses vs. pants; shoes that tie and shoes that don't tie; and so forth). But each week we go through this routine in some form.
In the past other groups have done this type of thing from time to time. But my current class does this every week...at least so far. I didn't push this activity on them. And, we only do it for a short time (so interest remains high). And I follow the kids' lead, so it stays a game rather than a "lesson."
And this routine was developed by the kids themselves. Each week they start the game, as they gather to sit in the group. Last week I was still helping a friend finish and move to the group and I could hear voices excitedly saying: "3 boys." "No, 4 boys." "3, 4, 5 girls." "But we didn't count Mr. Scott."
I love the sound of voices excited about math. Even if they don't realize it.