A Day 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!
Introduce the 4 processes pictorially and through movement, plays and stories. Create plays and stories around the four personalities, so they become knowably approachable. Have each one appear on the page every time its process is learned or practiced, with its formal or informal name and respective color. As you proceed with the 4 processes, keep all of the characters alive and relevant through continually relating stories that illustrate the key qualities of each one. The stories below are excepts from the Math By Hand Grade 1 Daily Lesson Plans book. The Daily Lesson Plans books for Grades 1 and 2 are so new they have not yet made it to our Shop page! But they can be purchased by special arrangement. See the Grade 1 Daily Lesson Plans book for the complete stories . . .
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. Back to the Common Core Grade 1 Math Standards tomorrow, as we move along to calculation.
Once there was a kingdom where 4 special children lived. Each one was different from the others, but in spite of their differences they got along well. All good friends. they always helped each other. More importantly, the kingdom itself could not get along without them. The King gave them honorary names and decreed that each wear an especially bright color so everyone would know who each one was at first sight.
PLUS was dressed all in green because like the lush plants, grass, and herbs that graced the land, she was always growing and glowing . . .
PLUS never rested until the job was done. If it weren’t for her, many of the jobs needed to keep the kingdom alive would fall by the wayside . . . PLUS, all in green, was a treasure to the kingdom. Without her, nothing would ever be added together.
MINUS was dressed all in blue because he was always so sad, thinking that because he had a tendency to lose things, he couldn’t be trusted . . .
MINUS never had much, but he was always willing to give away what little he had . . . MINUS, all in blue, was a treasure. Without him, the poor and needy might not be seen and helped.
DIVIDE was dressed all in red because she was so decisive! Whenever the King needed a strong, fair person to take charge and keep things in order, he called on DIVIDE . . .
DIVIDE was respected because she could be counted on to step in and make all the tough decisions, but decision making sometimes made her feel that she alone was right . . . DIVIDE, all in red, was a treasure. Without her, the kingdom would often be stuck in confusion and indecision.
TIMES was dressed all in yellow because he was so happy! TIMES could always be counted on to bring more and more and more . . .
TIMES was appreciated because he lightened the mood, making others happy too . . . TIMES all in yellow, was a treasure. Without him, there wouldn’t be nearly as much fun or parties, nor would the kingdom be so efficiently organized.