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Saturday, October 7, 2017

How Science and Art Led to Our Child Created Math Wall

I don't buy things like color, number or letter charts from teacher stores because the kids make them so much more beautiful! I don't have classes make all of the charts every year, but when the children do create the tools, they understand the reason behind them so much more.  They take ownership of them and love to use them.  When they make these tools, they are more noticeable and don't  fade into the background like store bought tools that were there when they walked in on their first day.

Inquiry Based Teaching has taught me how much math, science and art are interrelated! As I have learned with the kids, I have noticed that you see math in science. Math is all over nature!! You can use science to make art! We also see math in art in patterns and shapes. I have even heard that there is science in Van Gogh's "Starry Night!" It really is amazing how connected they all are!

The kids had been mixing colors in our science area and loving the new colors and shades they were creating! Here is the science invitation I had set up for them to explore.


After they explored with mixing, I set up an invitation to explore different shades of the same color.



This book is amazing for showing colors have different shades! The kids liked to use it as a reference.


Since the kids were enjoying mixing the colors in our science area so much, I thought of an idea for a number chart! It would also be a work of art! I found a huge canvas at Michaels for 70% off! It would be perfect!  I gathered the materials and told the kids that we were in need of a new number chart to help us with making and identifying numbers, number words and counting. I taped the canvas into 20 sections.


The kids were very excited to start creating, especially after I told them they would be able to mix paint colors to create their own unique color for our chart! I called them over during our Purposeful Play time to explore color mixing and create their color!




They painted one square with their color.




After mixing their paint, they named their colors. Some were very creative like jelly and deep ocean blue!  When the colors dried, we wrote the numbers on their color with a pencil and them they painted the number with black paint. They counted up to their square and we talked about what kind of lines they had to use to make their number and the correct way to print their number.


I wrote the name of the color they created with a sharpie.


I realized we would not be able to fit the number words or ten frames for showing how many in the squares so we made those separately. They practiced counting one to one correspondence and matching numbers to objects as we did this.


Then I called kids over to help spell the number words.  Many did not realize that you could spell a number!


Here is our finished number chart!


Our math area is now complete with the tools we need, and if I do say so myself, I could not buy anything better or more beautiful at the teacher store! It is a work of art! Kid's work is always so beautiful! Here is our math area.  I have math books about counting under the table for them to explore for now.  Under the table is where I put books relating to the focus on top of the table.  They can relax and explore math at the same time under there!


The focus in the math area this week is numbers.  This provocation was created to provoke their thinking about different ways they can make numbers.  They pick a number and use the materials available to make it or show it in different ways.  They then share it with their partners.  We are also taking pictures and letting them share what they did on the promethium board. Skills/standards practiced here: Number i.d, counting, subitizing, matching numbers to objects, and addition!



One of our math trays has this game on it called "Race to 20." They roll the dice and put that many beads on their number card and tell their partner what number they are up to. Whoever gets to 20 first wins! Skills/standards practiced: Counting, one to one correspondence, the concept of adding more, and number i.d.


Here is another game they can play in the math area. They roll the dice and put that many wool balls in to their section. Whoever fills their section first or has the most at the end is the winner! Skills/standards practiced: Counting, one to one correspondence, the concept of adding more, and being able to tell more/less by looking at objects.


Another math tray that I do not have pictured are number cards to guide them to make thes number with pattern blocks or with the geo-boards and rubber bands. Skills covered here are number i.d. and how to write the numbers as they record the numbers they created.

This post gives you an idea of how math works in our room.  We have a math area as shown here, but math is definitely not limited to that area!  Math happens all over our room! It happens in our Engineering and Maker's Space as they build magnificent things! It happens in our Building area as they build with our wooden unit blocks and loose parts!  It happens in our art area all the time!  Math is definitely not limited to one area!

The kids are now exploring leaves as they are falling from the trees right now on our playground! Stay tuned to see where that takes us!

Lines, Dots and So Much More!

Handwriting has never been easy to teach to kindergartners, but it is in the Common Core Standards that they learn how to print letters correctly.  Each year I have tried through the traditional ways of working on fine motor skills the first half and then formal handwriting sheets the second half of the year.  It never worked so this year I tried something new... An inquiry about lines!

I asked the kids what kind of lines they knew of. At first they drew straight lines, but then started to expand the types of lines they made!


We read some books and watched some videos on YouTube that showed us different lines and also gave them names.


I put out provocations for them to explore lines in many different ways and see what they noticed and what connections they made.  I put out invitations for them to use lines to make letters, shapes, designs, pictures and numbers:





They explored!





They are doing activities to build strong finger muscles to help with handwriting and explore lines at the same time! Our clay is quite hard and they have to work it to soften it up.  Plus, manipulating the pipe cleaners helps work those fine motor skills!




Through this simple inquiry, the kids are much more aware of the different types of lines and how to make them.  They are recognizing them in letters, shapes, numbers and pictures.  So far, I am seeing an improvement compared to previous years in their names as they try to form the letters the correct way.  More are pulling down vertical lines rather than pulling up when making letters but for some this is a hard habit to break! We will keep working on it in developmentally appropriate ways and we will see as the year goes on if this knowledge of lines will help them with the common core standard of writing letters correctly!

Here are some other things the kids have been doing in our room during this inquiry!

Dots! We celebrated International Dot Day and celebrated creativity!  Ken Robinson said that creativity is as important as literacy and I cannot stress enough how true that is! Employers want creative and critical thinkers so these skills need to be emphasized! Here are some pictures of some invitations to be creative and our final display of creativity!








In Literacy, we have been focusing on letters and letter sounds.  They have been using their names and the names of their friends to help them to recognize letters and their sounds.  The invitations at the beginning of the year focused mostly on exploring letters and names.






Working lavender into this play-dough also made this a great sensory experience as they used it to explore letters and try to spell their name and friends names.


They have been working on the concepts of print as they learn letters and sounds through letter books. They have been practicing starting in the right place, pointing to the words and going in the right direction when they read. When they partner read, one is the reader, the other is the helper so they have to listen and watch closely, then they switch roles.



In math we have been exploring numbers counting objects and matching them to the number.



We also have been exploring measurement.




In math we are also exploring shapes and their properties.






In science, they have been working on looking closer, wondering and documenting what they notice.  I set out invitations for them to explore and practice these skills.


It has been a very full first month! It is amazing how far the kids have come! Stay tuned to find out what the kids are creating for our math area!