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. Because the Common Core Grade 1 Math Standards address addition and subtraction exclusively, they will appear here later, in conjunction with the blocks that focus on the 4 processes. Earlier math blocks focus on meeting the numbers up close and personal through stories, movement, art, form drawing, and hands-on activities like making real numbers. The numbers should come together for calculation only after an in-depth introduction has established them as friendly and personable, so essential for circumventing math fears and phobias!
Here are excerpts from the Math By Hand Grade 1 Daily Lesson Plans book: Morning Circles. There are six in all, two for each of the three Grade 1 Math Blocks. The same content is usually kept for 2-3 weeks until the verses are learned and the skill sets mastered. There are two booklets included with the Math By Hand Grade 1 Complete Package. One features classic rhymes and verses and the other tongue twisters. You can find many examples of both online or at the library.
Counting by ones starts small and reaches 100 by the end of Grade 1, the 2, 5, and 10 times tables are rhythmically practiced until they are learned, and simple, single digit calculation in all 4 processes is practiced with a beanbag toss. Recitation is valuable for so many reasons, but the rhythmic element is directly applicable to math. All in all, the lively circle is the optimal way to start the day! So do enjoy singing, dancing, reciting, and learning math skills with your littles . . .
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 tomorrow for a review of stories and rhymes.
Choose from verses #1-8 in the Rhythms and Rhymes book and teach/learn them by heart.
Use finger plays with some verses. Here are suggestions for verses #1 and #6:
Blow wind blowcupped hands/pursed lips/blow
And go mill gobothfists rotate/vertical circle
That the miller may grind his cornright fist rotates/horizontal circle
That the baker may take itboth hands extended together/palm up
And into bread make itboth hands palm down/form the loaf
And bring us a loaf in the morn.right hand extended/palm up/left hand under right forearm/palm down
Dr. Foster went to Gloucesterright hand over eyes/palm down/looking ahead
In a shower of rainboth hands extended up/palms in/brought down with fluttery fingers
He stepped in a puddleright foot lifted high/tip-toed down
Right up to his middleboth hands palm down/at mid-torso
And never went there again.right hand index finger up/wags back and forth
Use one or several beanbags to accentuate the verses’ rhythm by tossing it back and forth in time, by passing it around the circle, or by switching hands, in front and back.
Use the beanbags for tossing and catching while counting by 1’s and 2’s.
Count by 1’s up to 50 and by 5’s up to 60, while walking in a circle. Begin with the tiptoe/whisper – marching/speaking pattern (1-2-3-4-5 6-7-8-9-10), later dropping the in-between numbers. Use the beanbags to accentuate the verses’ rhythms and to toss and catch while counting as well.
Practice single-digit, simple 4 Processes equations while throwing and catching the beanbag(s). Vary the patterns (underhand throw and catch / catch, switch hands behind the back, throw / throw beanbag up in the air and catch while saying 2’s / 5’s).
Choose a number of Tongue Twisters and say them, the more the merrier!
Accompany any of the verses with this clapping pattern, in partners:
Clap own hands / Clap partner’s hands / Slap knees / Clap own hands behind own back
Speak or sing memorized verses tapping rhythm sticks, waving a small flag, or playing a tambourine while walking, skipping, or hopping (on one or two feet) in a circle.