Monday, October 19, 2009


Tonight I began a new read aloud with my children: Winnie the Pooh. I loved hearing my mom read these books to me over and over when I was a child, and also the companion volumes of children's poetry written by A.A. Milne. We had British editions and I practically read them until they fell apart.

By the way, our last family read-aloud story was Puck the Gnome which Natalie loved more than any of the other girls. So I can absolutely attest to the fact that it is perfectly suited to the First Grade Child of 7.

In school (my 1st/2nd grade class), today was our first day of the first Math block of the year and I spent it on the subject of the Equals sign. This isn't traditional but something that is sorely lacking in Math education so I put it in as an introductory concept. NCTM is always going on and on about it. Try this with your child:

7 = 5 + ___

Most kids will say 12. They add together the first two numbers and the answer goes in the blank. They don't look at the math symbols or, if they do, they don't know that equals means the two sides have to balance, have to be the same amount. They have never been taught it! So we spent some time on it and I even got into a little pre-algebra with the idea of a Mystery Number. I am tying it into Halloween, that there's a mystery number hiding under a ghost sheet as his Halloween costume and we have to figure out what number he is. I am taking in a sheet tomorrow so that we can act some problems out. I think I'll have the kids divide up into groups and plan math skits to present to the class. So, for example,

10 = 8 +

What is the Mystery Number?

I told my class that we will begin each day with a Mystery Number problem from now to Halloween.

Ron Jarmon's book is terrific for listing all the different kinds of math problems your child should be able to do by the end of 2nd grade, and all the variety of presentations. It is THE BEST for assessment. Pricey, I know, but worth the investment if you plan to homeschool for the bulk of elementary.