I'm going to revamp an old series I ran a few years ago.
Welcome to Math on Mondays.
I love, love, love teaching primary math. It's so much fun and there are so many fun games you can play with the kids. And the kids usually love these too.
Before I start with today's topic, I just wanted to give you a basic (very basic) overview of what the most important parts of the curriculum are here in BC. They are very similar to the Common Core goals in the U.S.
About 5 or 6 years ago, our math curriculum changed dramatically here in BC. Now the focus has changed from simply getting the correct answer, to explaining HOW you got the answer you did.
Things got really vocabulary heavy overnight.
You need to know the math vocabulary to explain your thinking clearly. Well, I teach in an area of around 75%- 80% English as a Second Language learners. We call them ELL here in Vancouver.
That means there needs to be a lot of time for the children to 'play' and use the language that they are learning. We call it "Talking the Math" or "Using Math Words".
Of course, GUIDED play is what I mean.
So today I thought I'd give you some steps that I use with my students to achieve guided play. Because, really, by Grade 2, they should be able to use manipulatives as learning tools more than playthings.
So on to Today's Topic.
What is junk??? Well, you could actually call it Re-Using - remember the 3 R's of Recyling.?? Basically I use whatever I can save until I have enough to make a jar of 'Junk'. I used to teach at an Inner City school where the parents did not have a lot of money to donate to the school and the PAC (PTA) did not really exists at all. So what that meant is that I needed to get resourceful and collect whatever I could to make tubs of manipulatives. You can also ask the parents to donate things from home. I'll explain more about this later on in this post.
When I first introduce the junk to the class I usually sit them all in a big circle on the carpet, but my class is too big for my carpet this year, so I need to get them to work at their tables. I give the children a few minutes to play with the junk they have. Then I give them a task like make a pattern. I leave it really open-ended at first. Some kids just want to play, and if they don't do my task the first day, that's OK. Every 5 minutes or less we rotate around to the next seat and use that Junk.
It takes about a week, but the kids really need to get that touchy-feely stuff out of their systems. And after a while we can get down to learning some concepts with this junk. Also, the best thing about this Junk is it's free. And another great thing about it is that it is mostly objects that the kids see in their daily lives, so it helps them make connections between concepts and the world around them.
Here's a sampling of some of the "JUNK" in my classroom collection.
FROM A HARDWARE STORE
OLD SCRAPBOOKING LETTERS
SEQUINS FROM AN ART STORE
LEFTOVER DIE CUTS FROM HOME
BEADS, BEADS, BEADS...
JUICE BOTTLE LIDS
KEYS FROM A HARDWARE STORE
Be imaginative, you can use all sorts of things.
There's around 20 different kinds of things in my Junk Jobs collection.
Next time I'll show you how I store these things.