Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What Would You Do With It? Wednesdays: Stalks, Leaves, and Stones Math

Surprised to see a post? Yes, I'm still on break, but today for my What Would You Do With It? Wedensday Meme, I have a fabulous guest blogger, Lesley Romanoff from the Takoma Park Cooperative Preschool!

I'm so excited to share with you some great ideas from Lesley for early math with stalks, leaves and stones!

Stalks, leaves, and stones math

At the end of each summer, we collect daylily stalks for counting. We cut these in regular lengths and sometimes in different sizes for sorting by size.  A four-year old sorts these regularly cut stalks into groups of five. By using these corn-on-the-cob wooden trays (love wooden trays and I am always on the look-out for matching sets that feature 2 or 5 areas for sorting), he is able to sort in groups of five and then made an independent leap of learning, “I am making ten!” Through hands-on learning, we have set theory, addition, and as this spirals around later in his school career, the seed has been planted for multiplication.

Patterning with tree shapes and stones. Children use this tray to create patterns with the stones and trees, but there are two other interesting features. The stone shaped plastic mat is a sink protector cut up into small sections. By happy accident, the children discovered that the stones can be matched to the mat and then once math concepts have been explored the tray and its contents have a second life as imaginary play setting.

The children fold several collections into their imaginary play. The stones collection becomes part of a secret garden along with a slab of granite, commercial floor samples (those rubber-looking squares), Kapla blocks, and curlers.

Stones as building blocks. These slate stones, found on a hike in West Virginia (all you committed early childhood educators know you would have picked them up too and then lugged them down the mountain even if you had to do make 5 or 6 trips!).These slate stones are flat and naturally rectangular. Up on the mountain, I carefully selected full-, half- and quarter-sizes. Also pictured: natural wood blocks (purchased, -sigh-) as well as curlers in graduated sizes (another great math manipulative, perhaps for another blog entry), glass cubes and painted wood cubes (yes, we painted each cube ourselves), and chess pieces
We like to fill bowls with assorted stones. These can be sorted by size, sorted by color, or used for counting. Here, this 4-year old is sorting by size and color.

One-to-one correspondence. Stones, shells, and coral sorted and counted one by one. We offer the use of tongs for this activity and the items are placed on the rubber floor samples. It just so happens that these shells and coral were part of a collection of display items purchased at a home d├ęcor store. I also have about thirty snail shells found at a local thrift shop, cleaned, but certainly left-over from someone’s dinner! So many treasures, so little time. These make great counters.

Our twos teacher, Andrea McDougall, does this each year with her class and I look forward to seeing the way the children sort their leaf collections by color and how the parents are able to take a back seat in order to watch the children give voice to their color muse. Andrea places the paper and then the children sort their collections. I see parents wanting to intervene, but a natural beauty that makes perfect sense emerges when a child chooses the placement of each leaf.

Lesley Romanoff is the teacher and director of Takoma Park Cooperative Nursery School. Lesley switched careers from video production and scriptwriting to early childhood education over 15 years ago and is committed to the parent participatory model. She is a newly elected officer of ParentCooperative Preschools International (PCPI). As the director of the Cooperative School, she designs curriculum for both the parents and children enrolled in the school and serves on its board of directors. Lesley has crafted an arts-based curriculum called Through the Garden Gate and is inspired by principles of the Reggio Emilia philosophy and Vygotsky. The curriculum is brought to life through environment serving as the third teacher, thereby fully embracing all three teachers expressed via Reggio (parents/teachers, child-peers, and setting). At her school, this is named the 4 Spaces for Learning – which immerses children and adults in classroom and outdoor spaces that promote experiential learning.  Lesley administrates both the Takoma Park Cooperative Nursery School’s and the PCPI facebookpages. 

Thank you Lesley for a wonderful collection of math ideas for stalks, leaves and stones! 

Now it's your turn? What Would You Do With It? Link up your ideas below, but please follow the rules:

1) The post MUST use stalks, leaves, and stones or any combination there of

2) The post MUST be family friendly.

There are no other requirements. If you would like, I would love if you linked back to his linky party, but it is not required. I would hope that you will investigate the links shared and visit some of the  other blogs, but I'm not imposing any "blog hop/linky" rules.  Please, if  you do find great ideas and photos... Give credit where  credit is due  :).

If you are interested in being a guest blogger, please pop on over to this post. 

If you missed the previous guest posts, here they are:

1 comment:

Mullin Avenue Workshop said...

I loved this post by Lesley. It shows a thoughtful environment, and use of natural materials. I was reminded of the sorting and math activities in "Workjobs",by Mary Baratta Lorton. Thank you so much for this - it has provided me personally with some inspiration!

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