Posted on October 22, 2017
Last week's blog was about counting and choosing a good strategy that works best for you. This week, I wanted to point out that math is more than just counting. Yes, numbers are a huge part of math, but sorting, observing, and reading are also integrated into our math curriculum and very much an important part of mathematical thinking. For instance, our activity using the colored attributes requires that before jumping into this activity, the children had to take a look at the cards and figure out what each card represents.
Notice that the cards have shapes or words. The words were not everyday words that we see or read in our level books. As I placed the attribute cards, I asked the the children what they noticed. One student said, "Some are shapes," while another said, "Some have letters/words on them." As I had the children look back at our sorting button activities, I asked, Is there a way we can sort the cards?
The children put all the shapes into one group and the words into another group.
We then looked at all the words I asked, What do you notice about the letters? "Some letters are black." "Some letters are white (meaning you can color the letters)."
As we sounded out the white letters, the children noticed that they were all color words. They realized this was a big clue for them to remember what words are color words.
We then sounded out the black letters. These were descriptive words. We then noticed that one was the opposite/antonym of the other. "Hey, the word big is written in big letters and small is written in small letters." Another student siad, "Thin is written in thin letters and thick is written in thick letters." These are similar observatio strategies that the children use when reading their level books. When sounding out the word and not knowig what it is, the children look at the illustrations for clues.
The next day, we sorted the cards and then practiced sounding/reading the words. Within a few days the children were able to read the words independently. On the following day, the kinders worked with the cards and attributes. The matched the word to the attribute.
As you can see, there is more than counting in math. The children had to really look/observe the words to be able to sort them into two groups (color and words), sound out the words, and look closely at the details of the letter to realize they could sort the words into two more groups. Reading, writing, and observing skills are integrated into our math learning.
Math is more than just counting.