Friday, January 4, 2013

Daily Calendar Math with Sunshine

Sunshine, 2nd grade, struggles a bit with math and I've been struggling to find ways to help him understand and retain the math concepts he needs for 2nd grade.  You'd think, as a person with a math teaching background, this would be an easy task for me, but I tend to draw a blank on ideas.

He loves to play games, so we've been playing lots of math games and more math games.

I signed him up for DreamBox, and while I think it's an excellent format that makes ALL the games educationally relevant (unlike many video math games in which kids can too easily spend time playing the "reward" games of no educational merit), the concepts quickly outpaced his math skills and he grew frustrated.

We're still using Singapore Primary Math and I started him out in book 1A this year, which is a good fit for him.  We're moving very slowly through it.

So, thanks to the wonders of Pinterest, I've finally hit upon a great tool for efficiently working on the many skills he needs to keep current.  A daily math "calendar."  It's really more of a Number-of-the-Day, with the number being tied to the calendar.  He doesn't need practice with actual calendar concepts as he is schedule-driven and came to understand those ideas quite young.

So without further ado, here is what we have going:
 This is on our white board in the dining room, where we do school.  I think the skills are fairly self-explanatory.  For the addition and subtraction sentences, I give him the format _+_ = 3 and _-_=3 and he fills in the blanks.  He can choose any numbers that work.  I am reminding him that for the subtraction sentence, the initial number has to be larger than the answer (I know, there are technical terms for those numbers--even as a math teacher, I never learned them.  One is a subtrahend, I think, and the answer is the difference.  Don't really care.)

The second day we added a few things:  the spelling of the number (four), and some dots to illustrate whether the number was odd or even.

 The math tools we're using include Base Ten blocks (my favorite!) for the Tens/Ones work and a Hundreds Chart for the 1More/10 More/100 More work and for the skip counting.   We also pulled in a number line with negative numbers today to find what was 10 less than 4.  He hopped his pen down the number line and recorded the answer, but I didn't include much explanation about the concept.

I'm really excited about this simple way to daily practice a number of basic skills!  I'm thrilled that I thought of it at the beginning of the new year so we can begin in a place that is easy for him to experience success, yet we'll be able to gently progress to quite an advanced level as we work up to 365!  And he thinks it's really fun, so that's an added bonus.  It will be a daily routine, which he thrives on, so it will be easy to maintain.

For now, we're doing it on the white board, but I may print it on a piece of cardstock and laminate it for him to erase and do daily with an overhead marker. This would be an easy way to do it with multiple kids, too, and avoid competition over the whiteboard.

I also found a page for Pepper that I may have her do which includes arrays, prime factorization, rounding and reduction of fractions. I have to modify some of the skills to be relevant before I give it to her.