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Monday, February 10, 2014

In the beginning, there was.... Math

So at my current school we begin each year with a mini 'about me' unit. We look at our community, our rules etc... and usually link Math in through Stats or Measurement. This means by the time they get to me, they have already charted their heights, eye colours, fav food, etc before. Been there, done that, Miss. We want something different. Yesterday I gave each child a handful of pom poms each. You want to get a child interested in Math? Try pom poms. Totally focussed and on task, we set about sorting the pom poms into categories. Most children went for the standard- colour sorting- to begin with.
Then we began to talk about other ways to classify our pom poms; size and sparkly v.s. non-sparkly were other popular possibilities. At this point, I want to say that I needed to model the sorting on the board- identifying common attributes and sorting data was the focus of the lesson. I made a mental note to glue some pom poms onto magnets for future lessons. Today I gave them each a scoop of pom poms and we sorted them quickly in a couple of different ways. I then asked the children to sort by colour and we learned about using tally marks to record our data. They really liked the idea that the fifth tally mark 'wraps' its arms around its group to make a tidy bundle. We then recorded our own data on our own tally charts.
Tomorrow we shall revisit sorting and tally marks, with a final destination of making our own block graph (which has already been introduced through our 'favourite food' and 'number of letters in our names' graphs from last week). Annnnnnnnnnnd... once we have achieved the dizzying heights of a block graph, we will repeat it all again. This time, with buttons. Because if there is anything the children like as much as pom poms... it has to be buttons. I plan on setting this up as an independent activity in their Math tumble. I will provide a variety of objects to sort (pom poms, buttons, toy cars, little crafty wooden bits and some wooden shapes), with some blank tally charts and grids for block charts. Lofty ambitions, I know. But we all need to dream.

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