Friday Two Cents: Discovering More Through Play


This week and next I will be working in a kindergarten class where the teacher has asked me to present a lesson centred on math. Math has always been my favourite subject second only to art and when given the opportunity, I raised to the challenge.

It is the beginning if the year and I know that these students are new to counting, especially in French. So I decided to begin by seeing how much do they know when it comes to counting. I came up with several activities to help them and the teacher assess where the students are in their math skills.
I began with some activities with the students using 10 frames, rekenreks, printing the numbers and a bingo game with snap cubes. I noticed a few things that made me see that no matter where I go and with whom I work with, children learn a lot though play. Several of the activities are centred on a play base system. Yes they are doing their work by learning to count in French and they are printing the numbers but to get to those numbers they have to use a spinner like you would use in a game. And the more I and the teacher played / participated in the activity, the more the students, 1) appeared to enjoy it, 2) hopefully learn something from the experience and 3) we learned where each student is in their counting.  
Every time I enter a classroom I always have this quote from Plato in the back of my mind…

 

‘You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.’ Plato

 

These activities I did with the students are a clear indication that Plato’s words ring true.

 

 

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Comic Strips: Out of Date Technology


 

ComicStrips

Last week we sent out the newsletter and the latest instalment of, The Craziest Things along with it. This month’s comic continues the battle of when to use technology and when not to. Or more importantly, can the new generation of students do the work without it.

This scene has been played out to me, not word for word but very close to this scenario. For my practicum placements the one subject I always taught was math. I find it easy to understand and whenever anyone had difficultly teaching it they would always come to me. I too had some difficulty in the beginning because I understand the subject at a high level but how was I to bring it down to the students’ level of understanding. I found a happy medium by when to use technology and when not to. Using a pencil and paper instead of a calculator that sort of thing.

I came up with the comic and the students seemed to like the outcome I hope you too will enjoy, The Craziest Things; Comic Strips: Out of Date Technology.

Nov2015NL03Pg08 copy

 

Art Inspiration: Art and Math in One Lesson


ArtInspirationPaulGLogo

During my practicum I had the opportunity to do the art lessons with the students. They are the younger primary but I wanted to do something that was different and challenging with them. Yet I also taught different lessons though out my stay there. One of the areas was Math. Yes many people do not like to teach or even learn math, but there are ways that you can introduce math concepts that are both fun and educational.

My mentor teacher and I were about to begin the next math unit with the students. It was the unit on 2 and 3 dimensional shapes. We wanted the students to be familiar with the different shapes we were going to use in the unit. Therefore I created a lesson plan for them around this idea. It was also fortunate that I had to use a type of lesson called a Choice Centres for one of my other classes. The Choice Centre strategy allows for a variety of activities providing different modalities and different levels of responses that help students investigate the topic further. Some adaptations can include drama, writing, reading, technology, viewing and experimenting. We were to use this model on a literacy lesson but our professor said we could use it on any subject matter, so long as we stayed true to the model. The model calls for a student to choose a centre and then stay there to explore the subject material. I adapted the lesson so that the students would be rotated to allow all the students an opportunity in each centre. The centres I created are as follows …   Centres (Materials And Instructional Notes)

  1. Blocks 3D shapes / construction toys
    1. Use building blocks and pattern blocks to create structures
    2. Use Kapla Blocks to model real structures
  2. Shape exploration 2D shapes – triangles, rectangles, squares, circles
    1. Use coloured 2D plastic shapes to explore patterns
    2. Different sized triangles, rectangles, squares and circles
  3. Work Sheets with 3D shapes (assessment for learning)
    1. Make the 3D shape into something real (ex. sphere – baseball)
  4. Geoboards – with elastics create different shapes
    1. Students will explore what shapes they can create using the boards and elastics. They can create, rectangles, squares and different shaped triangles.

LiteracyCarocel Important Notes For The Teacher

  • Circulate around the room and observe and listen to what the students are calling the shapes. Are they using the proper terms? What are they calling the 3D shapes? How are they using the material? Is their something you saw that you did not expect?
  • Have a timer (I use an iPad timer displayed on the screen) to allow the students to explore the different stations.
  • Have a class list to write down anecdotal notes of the students for assessment and documentation. (Assessment As during the learning)
Many people may think that this is not Art just a math lesson.  But I say when you create something don’t you use shapes.  When you paint a picutre of a flower doesn’t it start with a circle?  Or when you create Mondrian Art isn’t it divided into geomentric shapes?  Math and Art are a part of each other.  It is a match like ice cream and chocolate fudge.  They are great apart but fantasic together.

Below are some images of the lesson. Who said that art and free expression are not part of learning math?

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