Monday, May 30, 2011

Divide and Cookie

One of the nice things about teaching my own little kids at home, as opposed to teaching a classroom full of kids in a public school, is that the standards can be totally loosey-goosey. There is no one checking my lesson plans making sure I'm covering certain material. I can do whatever the heck I want. And, what's more, as a school teacher, I was required to make sure my students were actually learning the very specific things I was teaching. But as a pretend teacher at home, if I'm simply exposing my kids to certain topics, by many standards, I'm doing a pretty good job.

I love the idea of exposing my kids to things. Like division, as we did the other day. As a school teacher, I needed my students to learn how to divide and to be able to show that they could do that. As a teacher of my own toddler/pre-school offspring, I can simply introduce the concept of division to my charges and pat myself on the back for completing a worthwhile mathematics lesson. This job is the best.

We read "The Doorbell Rang" by Pat Hutchins. If you don't already know this story, it involves a dozen cookies that need to be divided between two kids, and then among four kids, and then six kids and then twelve kids. Division was our underlying theme, but we cultivated other skills as well. First, we talked about the word "dozen" and how we usually hear that in reference to a batch of cookies or a carton of eggs. Then we made a dozen cookies out of construction paper, glue, sequins and stickers. We set up a picnic blanket and counted out twelve friends from our stuffed animal collection.

I put out the tray of cookies and then read the story. The kids went about dividing on their own. It was a clothing-optional feast of fun for our furry friends, and a torturous trick of getting my kids totally craving a cookie before lunch. Oops. But at least they were exposed to something mathy.

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