Our day didn't start with math but I am very excited to share what happened in our learning room. My kids are not usually inclined to request math work. I offer it daily but I have to admit it used to be without a tangible purpose. To learn numbers just to know them makes no sense. To learn numbers to actually be able to use them is our ultimate goal. I want to cultivate a sense of urgency, a desire to learn about numbers because they are helpful to us. Today when we were following another presentation with wooden number cards, we were able to actually find a reason why it is important to learn these big numbers (hundreds and thousands).
Big Sister learned that big numbers help her learn about the year we were all born. It was something very simple, but it made a huge connection, and actually turned on a desire to learn more. She wanted to discover what number was bigger. She wanted to learn how to say them, write them, and build them using the wooden cards. It was a lot of self driven motivation. I truly feel she is showing me the way I need to present math to them. I need to make it relate to them, and make it become useful.
Once it clicked, she was all over those big numbers. She asked me to build number after number just to be able to say the total amount. Sometimes I wish the world was safer so I could show you her smiling and excited face (you get a glimpse above). She loved doing math.
Little Guy was very involved during the math presentation. He actually built a couple of numbers for his sister to read. He even tried saying a few. At the end, he was eager to organize the wooden numbers to put them away.
Now with new eyes, I see they read because they think reading is important and entertaining. Little guy reads to practice and to enjoy the fact that he knows how to do it.
Big Sister is reading more and more to be entertained. She is yet to start reading to learn something new (except with her dolphins books).
They write their journals because they like to express themselves. It is their way to put out their feelings, experiences, and thoughts.
Little Guy wrote that he was sick and needed a lot of liquids, that is me in the picture giving him his water bottle. Big Sister wrote about finding ladybugs around the house. Sometimes she finds them dead and she is wondering why. She thinks they are happy when they come to live in our habitat.
Little Guy practices working with words because it is fun. He loves to build rods with stacking cubes. Now he builds with letter cubes to turn them into word rods.
He also enjoys matching labels to images while practicing new sounds.
Big Sister writes in cursive because she thinks it is beautiful. She started to be interested when a pen pal sent her a letter using cursive writing, and was determined to learn how to do it too.
Little Guy found the word tiza (chalk) in his label cards. He decided he needed to use the chalk to practice the new letter z. He practiced because it was his idea to do so!
Finally, Little Guy writes new words because he enjoys the miniature objects and learning the names of new things.
For today they had the following words with z: pozo, tiza, zumo, azul, buzo, taza, lazo -note we didn't have enough z's- (water well, chalk, juice, blue, diver, mug, and ribbon loop).
I hope to find more ways in which learning is useful to them.
I wonder how others make math useful for their children. Feel free to share!