Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Number and Math Sense

Children instinctively search for order and sense in their environment. This helps them to see and make connections in the world around them.

In the classroom we have concrete, hands-on materials which represent number ideas.
The math materials can assist the child's need to organize, classify and rank objects.
Kian: Hey it's longest to shortest!

Every hands-on, sensorial impression they experience is filed away in their mind to be recalled later.
Dena knows just how big 10 is because she remembers holding the 10th red/blue rod.
The numerals the children see are the labels for the quantity, the true number group.
Tori is placing the 6th red/blue rod under the numeral that symbolizes that specific quantity.
The numeral card tells the child which rod to bring. Tori has experienced what "6" is, (she had to reach to count from the red end to the blue end) and can now apply that knowledge.

At times disagreements about correct answers may arise.
Rather than simply providing the correct answer, the children involved may hear the question: Can you show me how you got your answer?
The child is then able to demonstrate their thought process, and share their knowledge.
Perhaps a child will hear: I get a different answer, lets each try again and see what we come up with.
Morah Katie: Kian, will you please bring me the 6 red/blue rod?
Kian walks across the classroom and into the "space" room, he has to remember the rod requested, find it and bring it back.
Morah Katie: I get a different answer, let's each count it.
This "double check" allows the child to rethink a strategy, or perhaps simply slow down in the activity. What is important is that the child is provided with an opportunity to repeat the process and/or reexamine their own ideas.
Kian is able to return, self-correct, and bring the correct red/blue rod.

In addition to the manipulative items in the classroom, the classroom is also designed to facilitate the development of mathematical knowledge in indirect ways.

Negotiations and conflict resolution is an indirect way to assist number concepts.
If we have 3 children who want to work at a table with 2 chairs, will there be enough for everyone? What can we do to solve this problem?
Perhaps just bring another chair, or perhaps go to a bigger table.
Guiding the children to find positive solutions help them to see connections and relationships between things.

It is important to have children think about number and quantities of objects which are meaningful to them.
If we sing about 5 green and freckled frogs but have 9 children, how many times will we need to sing the song so everyone gets a turn?
As we sing about 5 stars winking at us, and 1 star shoots away leaving us with 4 (and so on until there are none) we are singing and subtracting!

Each morning the host of the day counts how many friends are at school.
The host and a friend set the snack table for all the children.
What happens if a few children don't have chairs?
The host can recount the chairs at the table, or perhaps count how many children are still standing.
In the end, being sure each child has a chair is an important part of this social experience, as well as building one to one correspondence.

Logical and mathematical thinking is an internal process, in which the child needs to build relationships and connections in their world.
This can only be done and achieved at the child's pace and interest.
The teacher's job is to focus on the process of this construction rather than the results.

There is nothing quite as exciting as watching the face of a child who is in the midst of an "aha!" moment. The fact that the child knows that 8+2=10 is just a bonus.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

So much happens in a day at The Gan.
It is hard to catch all the fun wonderful moments.
The following is a peek into the interests and activities of the children.

Matching and rhyming and working together

Freeze Dance is a great game. We need to listen and be in control of our dancing bodies in order to freeze like a statue when the music stops.

Creating with our hands and imagination

Playing pretend, will we create a restaurant? Do we need to go shopping?

Music is always welcome

Exploring with light


These moments catch the tangible activity, and viewing them we can see the intangible joys, such as friendships, being created.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I have a little sukkah
With 4 walls and door
It doesn't have a ceiling
It doesn't have a floor
The Schach will be the ceiling
The earth will be the floor
I'll take my Etrog and my Lulav
I'm ready now for sure

Sukkah Sukkah Sukkah
I like to sit in you
I like to wave my lulav
and my etrog too
(to the tune of I have a little Dreidle)
Morah Tzive read us a story about a young boy preparing for Sukkot.
In the story the boy helps his father build a sukkah.
We learned that a sukkah is a structure with four walls and door, but no ceiling or floor!
We learned that the roof of a sukkah needs to let a bit of the sky in, if it rains we may feel some of the raindrops.
We learned that the hebrew name for the roof is schach, made from branches that have been cut or have fallen.
We built miniature sukkah's with popsicle sticks.
To make the schach we went on a nature walk to collect leaves and twigs.
We wove green paper together for our schach and added the leaves from our walk.
We have a finished sukkah of our own.
Morah Katie: Saturn is a planet in our solar system.
Kian: It has circles.
Morah Katie: It has rings. What do you think the rings are made of?
Levi: Gases
Morah Katie: Good guess, many of the planets have gases surrounding them, the rings blur and look gassy. But, the rings of Saturn are made of something solid and cold.
Tori: Rocks.
Morah Katie: Rocks are solid, sometimes rocks can be cold, but not all the time. Any other guesses?
Morah Katie: The rings of Saturn are made of large pieces of ice. Some are as large as a house! Close your eyes and picture your house, imagine it as an ice cube. Imagine it orbiting Saturn.
Dena: That's silly!
We hold a Lulav with an Etrog
we make a blessing loud and clear.
We wave the Lulav in all directions,
We're so happy Sukkot is here.
(To the tune of Oh my darling clementine)
Lulav and Etrog
We each held the lulav and etrog and said the blessing.

We know that the four kinds of plants are an etrog, a frond of a date palm tree, a branch of a myrtle tree, and a branch from a willow tree.
We made a paper lulav and etrog to bring home.
Morah Katie: Which branch is the longest?
Levi: The palm.
Morah Katie: How can you tell the difference between the myrtle and the willow?
Tori: Willow is bigger and dark green.
Morah Katie: What would an etrog feel like in your hand?
Dena: Bumpy.

We walked to see the sukkah and play at the train yard, on our way we noticed the
Levi: It's following us!
Noah: The wind moves it.
Kian: The sun makes it go.
Levi: The sun doesn't move, the moon does.
Once in the train yard, the conversation continued.
Tori: We won't see the moon now, the fence is blocking it.
Shalom: But look (points over fence)
Tori: It came with us!!!

We finished our week with singing, dancing and lunch in the Sukkah.