- Topic: Subtraction: Book: Taking Away with Tigers by T. Steffora.
- Topics: Geometry, Spatial Reasoning: I went to a different part of the kitchen where the kids couldn’t see what I was doing, and using pattern blocks I made a shape. Then, I described the shape to the kids and they had to make it just from my description.
- Topics: Games, Addition: We again played the game where we rolled two dice with varying numbers of sides and then either jumped or clapped a number of times equal to the sum of the numbers on the dice.
- Topic: Reflections: I gave them a picture I drew with reflected versions of every letter hidden inside, and they had to find all the reflected letters.
- Topic: Graphs: The kids were given a grid with letters on the rows and numbers on the columns, and a set of coordinates grouped into one or more colors. They had to find those cells and color them the right color (similar to counted cross-stitch). You can download the materials here.
How Did It Go?
We had all five kids this week.
Taking Away with Tigers
A very simple introduction to subtraction; very easy for some kids but about right for others. The most interesting part was probably the tiger facts at the end. One kid’s review was “I didn’t care about that book.”
The kids were much better at this than I expected. They got almost every shape that I described, including “3D” shapes with some pieces standing on edge. One thing that helped was they all could look at what each other was doing; because I was away from the table, I don’t know whether it was one or two kids figuring it out and the others copying. But from a few times I came over a little early, it looked like many of them were working independently. They were able to choose shapes based on just the name (including hexagon and trapezoid), to get the right number of each shape, and to follow complex instructions like “Take two white diamonds and put them so each one is touching both the square and the hexagon”.
They continue to love this activity. I had a bunch of different kinds of dice; the kids have mostly caught on that they should choose the die with the most number of sides each time (so they can jump as much as possible). I had two different kids choose one die each, a third choose jump or clap, and a fourth role the dice, which helped keep everyone involved. The most number of times we had to jump was 35; counting past 20 is kind of slow for them, so most of them jumped 70+ times.
The kids enjoyed this quite a bit, and only needed help a couple of times. They understood the idea of covering half of a reflected letter in order to see the original letter. One note is that although some letters are part of other letters (e.g., F and E), each letter is present by itself, not as part of another letter. One tricky case was the reflected U, which they thought was a W.
This is the second time we’ve done this; they were quite a bit better than last time. All of the kids were able to make progress on their own this time, and several were noticeably faster than last time. Most of the kids still made a mistake or two. One interesting thing is that the kids had trouble telling what the pictures actually were; for example, one kid couldn’t tell it was a car until I told them, but then when they showed it to their mom, she knew it was a car right away.