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. Today’s post is a prelude to tomorrow’s. Shorty blog tonight, due to a borderline flu/cold combined with a bit of self-doubt and marginal existential despair. Question: how to continue with the daily tasks at hand as if as if the rest of the world isn’t falling apart? Answer: from my very fave Spring Valley Waldorf Teacher Training professor, Norman Davidson. He said, “Do the next thing, and do it cheerfully.”
A cheerful story! Tomorrow’s activity, excerpted from Math By Hand, blends fables and times tables practice: an excellent pairing. It’s centered around the fable, The Ant and the Grasshopper, and here it is.
In a field one summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest. “Why not come and chat with me,” said the Grasshopper, “instead of toiling and moiling in that way?” “I am helping to lay up food for the winter,” said the Ant, “and recommend you to do the same.” “Why bother about winter?” said the Grasshopper; “we have got plenty of food at present.” But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil. When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer.
Knowledge ensues in an environment dedicated to imaginative, creative knowing, where student and teacher alike surrender to the ensuing of knowledge as a worthy goal. Tune in tomorrow for the times tables that go with the story! See the picture above to guess which ones it might be . . .