Free Play: (Days 7/8/9) Counting Sticks & Stones. 3-Circle Numbers (#25)

A Year in the Life: Ambient Math Wins the Race to the Top!
Day 25

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 blog will focus on the Kindergarten Common Core Math Standards and ambient counterparts that appeared in this blog on Days 7, 8, and 9.  Note that the standards will be paraphrased and will appear in blue.

Day 7
Operations and Algebraic Thinking   K.OA
Understand addition as putting together and adding to and subtraction as taking apart and taking from.
1. Represent addition and subtraction with objects, finger counting, mental images, drawings, sounds (i.e. clapping), acting out, explaining in words, expressions, or equations.

Addition is practiced by combining counting stones and natural objects, counting both out loud then using a counting stone to represent the total.  Subtraction is practiced by using counting stones only, covering some of the dots while saying the equation out loud then using a counting stone to represent the total.  Store these materials in the Math Corner for free or gently guided play after they’ve been introduced.  As stated in the post, these activities should always be experiential and child-motivated, similar to a Montessori approach.  Remember that the optimal mood at this age is playful and joyful!  (Look for the other activity in this post in the Circle Time and Outside segments.)

Day 8
Operations and Algebraic Thinking   K.OA
2. Solve addition and subtraction word problems.  Add and subtract up to 10, using objects or drawings.

The word problems are based on known rhymes and songs from the Circle Time, so there’s a familiar reference.  Preferably this activity would be taken outside, using straight sticks as counters, for both addition and subtraction.  The sticks can be brought inside if weather doesn’t permit being outside.  For the writing portion, the numbers can again be represented by counting lines (see Day 6), either using a stick in the sand or dirt, or crayons on paper.  For use after this has been introduced, substitute baskets of craft or popsicle sticks, stored in the Math Corner for free or gently guided play.  (For more information on doing this outdoors, see the Outside segment.)

Day 9
Operations and Algebraic Thinking   K.OA
3. Decompose (take apart) numbers from 1-10 or lower using objects, and record them as drawings or equations.

Large, colorful circles in sets of three are made with various materials and used to represent the whole number and the two other numbers that make up its parts.  (Look for the activities in the Circle Time or Outside segments.)  After these activities become familiar, the concept can be practiced on paper during Free Play time.  Using small, flat objects placed inside the circles on poster board, do the same activity to decompose or take apart the numbers then record these equations with rubbings (this must be a guided activity).  Store the hula hoops in the Math Corner for either math or joyful play!

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.  More Kindergarten tomorrow!

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