A Year in the Life: Ambient Math Wins the Race to the Top!
For one year, 365 days, this blog will address the Common Core Standards from the perspective of creating an alternate, ambient learning environment for math. Ambient is defined as “existing or present on all sides, an all-encompassing atmosphere.” And ambient music is defined as: “Quiet and relaxing with melodies that repeat many times.
Why ambient? A math teaching style that’s whole and all encompassing, with themes that repeat many times through the years, is most likely to be effective and successful. Welcome to Grade 2! Today’s post will feature excerpts from the introduction to Grade 2 in the Math By Hand binder.
The Grade 2 “mood” is one of contrasts. There’s a settling in to the new world of challenges and learning begun in Grade 1, accompanied by a certain restlessness. As all boundaries are tested, there’s a desire to take on more, often expressed as a somewhat overly confident rambunctiousness. This quality is reflected in the Aesop’s Fables’ brashly bold animal characters, because they repeatedly test any and all boundaries. The fables’ moral lessons are juxtaposed against the legends that feature the lives and deeds of saints and heroes.
In Grade 1, learning to read though writing the upper case letters built a solid foundation that continues this year, as the lower case letters are added. Their 3-part structure (on the line, above and below it) mirrors a math content that’s also becoming increasingly complex. Since regrouping can be a challenging concept, it’s taught with big, colorful hands-on aids and tools.
Patterns and form drawing are helpful as well, since finding patterns in math fosters interest and creativity, as well as providing reinforcement of knowledge and skills. Familiar games that are also math-friendly integrate learning with highly motivational fun. Movement and rhythmic counting continue, and times tables remain an important focus, since they are so essential to understanding fractions, decimals, measurement, and even algebra!
Knowledge ensues in an environment dedicated to imaginative, creative knowing, where student and teacher alike surrender to the ensuing of that knowledge as a worthy goal. Tune in again tomorrow for more Grade 2 . . .