Spatial Reasoning – I’ve Been Talking About it For Years!

This article, from KQED News, written by Deborah Farmer Kris reiterates what we have been talking about at Math at Home for years;  Spatial Reasoning is an extremely important competency that can be taught and supported very early in life.  She provides ideas for activities that encourage spatial thinking and describes why using spatial vocabulary is critical for young children’s development in this area.

Check it out here!

More Awesome Soft Building Things for Your Programs

By now, everyone knows I love dominoes.  I have blogged about them here and here and they have come up in several other posts about classroom manipulatives.  Last week, one of our readers, Ivan (Thank you Ivan) was perusing the blog and landed on my post about the Really BIG Dominoes from the Chicago Children’s Museum. He connected me with the website where we can order the big, soft dominoes and loads of other really cool, big and soft materials designed for young children.

You can find them here. http://www.safespaceconcepts.com/

Take a look at the page called “Tools for Discovery” and explore the wonderful materials they have that support early math learning.  I love the huge Tic-Tac-Toe board

TicTacToe

and the cooperative arch building set.

KeystoneArch6

Tic-Tac-Toe is a game that even very young children can begin playing.  They practice taking turns, recognizing the symbols X and O, and exploring spatial relations.  Unlike older children, Tic-Tac-Toe often ends with a winner, rather than a cat’s game, but that is OK.  In order to really master Tic-Tac-Toe children have to be able to see more than one aspect of the game at once, which is nearly impossible for young children to do. It is actually much more fun to play it with young children and observe how committed they are to completing a row of Xs or Os.

The arch building set requires a certain amount of cooperation between children, which in and of itself, is difficult.  This kind of arch is especially tricky because it demands an understanding of the “keystone concept.”  I bet you know a lot of adults who don’t understand this concept.  Anyway, I think this set will provide a lot of satisfying play in a classroom.  The  blocks are numbered which provides extra clues to how to assemble the arch.  You may find that the children can build it successfully horizontally before they figure out how to get it together vertically.

Take a minute to check out these cool products and so much more.  I am afraid to look at the prices so I am recommending these products even though I don’t know how much they cost.  I didn’t want the cost to get in the way of my delight with the products.

Children’s Books with Loads of Math

This list, although not close to being complete, is a nice beginning if you want to enhance your children’s library with books loaded with mathematical concepts.  It comes from Judy Schickendanz’s book, Increasing the Power of Instruction: Integration of Language, Literacy, and Math Across the Preschool Day (NAEYC, 2008).

Check it out.

Tom Copeland’s – The Child Care Small Business Owner’s Best Friend

This blog focuses solely on the business of child care.  Tom writes about tax preparation, hiring and firing, the law, advocacy, and a host of other topics that are applicable to our work.

What I love about this Blog is that he will write about things that you are thinking about.  He responds to all posted questions with answers that are easy to understand and links to pertinent sites.

This is a small business owner’s dream.

PBS.com for Teachers

Did you know that there is an excellent resource on the PBS website specifically designed for teachers of young children?  You can choose the age group you work with and then choose from a drop-down list to see specific areas you want to investigate further.  The categories are: The Arts, Health and Fitness, Math, Reading and Language Arts, Science and Tech, and Social Studies.

If you click on the Math link, you will find over 100 links to resources for teachers ranging from lesson plans and online activities to off-line activities and interactive opportunities.  This is a pretty terrific website.

Check it out.

PBS Kids

I am a big fan of PBS.  I watch it, my husband watches it and my children watched a whole lot of it when they were little.  Some of our favorites were “Arthur”, “Caillou”, and “Clifford: The Big Red Dog”.  Did you know that PBS  also hosts a great web site chock full of interactive games for young children.

If you click here you will find the home page for the interactive math games at www.pbs.org for children.  Some of the games require Adobe flash, but many of them don’t.  I especially like “Monkey Jump” where Curious George jumps when you click on him and counts out loud.  The Man in the Yellow Hat speaks to the players and provides the directions so reading is not required.  In fact, a lot of the Curious George games have spoken directions so that even very young children can play without too much adult supervision.

Check it out and let us know what you think.

 

Sometimes I Just Get Lucky and Find Something Awesome

Take a look at this math blog.  It is called Math For Love and I do not know how I didn’t know about it before today.  Most of the writing is not intended for the audience of Math at Home but if you dig through it, you will find some gems.

Take a look at this post about the Four Questions. This is simply an awesome way to think about math and play, or better yet, PLAY and math.

Check it out!

New Early Math Videos

If you are not connected to the Zero to Three organization, you really should be.  According to their website:

ZERO TO THREE is a national nonprofit organization that provides parents, professionals and policymakers the knowledge and the know-how to nurture early development.

Neuroscientists have documented that our earliest days, weeks and months of life are a period of unparalleled growth when trillions of brain cell connections are made. Research and clinical experience also demonstrate that health and development are directly influenced by the quality of care and experiences a child has with his parents and other adults.

That is why at ZERO TO THREE our mission is to ensure that all babies and toddlers have a strong start in life.

We know that as babies, the way we are held, talked to and cared for teaches us about who we are and how we are valued. This profoundly shapes who we will become.

Early experiences set a course for a lifelong process of discovery about ourselves and the world around us. Simply put, early experiences matter. We encourage you to learn more about very young children, early development and the work of ZERO TO THREE by exploring our site.

Recently, I received an announcement that they have unveiled three new videos from a series called “Let’s Talk About Math” that focus on math and children ages 0-3.  There will be six videos in all, but the first three that are available are: Shape Awareness, Spatial Awareness, and Counting.

If you work with infants and toddlers, you must see these.  They are very well-done, provide insight into early math experiences, and show real-life children in real-life scenarios that involve math.

Check them out here.

Early Math Understandings Through Music and Movement

If you’ve never participated in a webinar or watched a previously recorded webinar, I’ve got one for you to try.  While browsing through some online professional development opportunities, I came upon this wonderful webinar from January 2015.

The presenters provide a framework for supporting young children’s emerging mathematical understandings  through music and movement in the ECE classroom.  It is detailed and provides many recommendations and ideas for incorporating developmentally appropriate opportunities for early math exploration through music.

Click here to visit the site.  You have to provide a name and email address to view the webinar, but it is well worth it.

Enjoy and let us know what you think.

Don’t Know What to do With All of Those Dried Out Markers?

Well the Crayola Company does. Crayola has developed a marker recycling program that supports programs that are “going green.” The program was developed for K-12 programs, but I guarantee that they will take them from preschools as well.

According to the website, simply gather your old, used markers and count them, pack them and send them off.  These even pay for the shipping!

Check it out here.