Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Math in Literature

Math And Literature
Grades K - 1
By Marilyn Burns & Stephanie Sheffield
Published by MathSolutions
Target Audience: Teacher Resource

If you are a teacher working with children ages 7 and under, you will find that there are no well defined 'subjects'. There is a bit of language, lot of emphasis on social norms, a bit of counting and lessons that would stimulate scientific thinking. This is because the age group the teacher is working with is not capable of thinking of learning as something that is segregated in to buckets and will not move from one subject to another easily. They like to stay, repeat, internalize the learning and own the knowledge they receive.

A good teacher is constantly working on connecting different things together. Like connect scientific inquiry to language, language and literacy to problem solving, social situations to langauge and so on.

Math and Literature, by my favorite author Marylin Burns does just that. It has 22 ideas on how to extend books appropriate for kindergarten and grade 1, to inculcate mathematical thinking.
Every idea is a chapter by itself formatted in to - a short blurb of the book, materials required to implement the idea, running notes from the classroom with details such as how the teacher introduced the concept and what was the response from the children and pictures of the children's works.
 With certain books like Benny's Pennies and Inch by Inch included in the book, it is easy to visualize math based book extension activities. But there are certain off beat ones like Napping House and how they can be translated in to the math context is very interesting.

This is a good resource guide and to make it work in a classroom context, the teacher needs to read them before hand and plan activity sheets for all students. In other words it is more of a pointer, giving the right amount of ideas but not dictating the entire flow of the lesson plan, which makes it the perfect book for a creative teacher.


Choxbox said...

Wow! This sounds like a gem.

And Napping House - hmm, lets see, probability of where the fly will land next - is that the math that has been tied in?!

sandhya said...

Marilyn Burns rocks.

A holistic view of different branches of knowledge works wonderfully not just with under 7 years, but also with older children. It is amazing how associating a concept say, in science, with something in literature, or history, or geography, for eg., makes things so much clearer and easily understood and remembered.

Choxbox said...

Oh yes. Now I remember - we have read two of Burns' books - 'Greedy Triangle' and 'Spaghetti and Meatballs for All'. Both are fun and math.

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