July 21, 2011
Some activities are never perceived by our children as relating to math because their experiences are typically geared towards paper and pencil math. I try to remind my friends and family that there are two facets to math: the instrumental or procedural math and the relational or real life math. It’s easy to incorporate bits of relational math in activities without them even realizing they are doing it! Here is an example of one of those activities:
Procedure:

First, I found a picture to be drawn. The difficulty level of the picture should correspond to children’s age and cognitive abilities. The picture shown above was slightly too difficult for my sevenyear old daughter, but I helped her a little with the location of the petals.

Then, I cut the picture down to make a square.

In order to make the grid, I found it easiest to fold the paper horizontally and vertically that way all the squares were congruent ..

Next, I used a marker to draw lines over the folds.

Using a blank sheet of paper the same size as the picture, I followed the same procedure to create an identical but blank grid.
I showed my daughter how to find corresponding boxes and helped her draw and colorin identical pictures. Reese loves coloring, and was so impressed with her own ability to mimick the beautiful flower painting, that she had no idea she was learning relational mathematics!
July 26, 2011
I often find myself playing educational games with my children; games which are not so educational that they are tedious but rather just enjoyable learning. Activities such as “Go Fish”, “Concentration”, or any matching games really help my kids with memorizational skills. When I was a teacher, I’d use these games with my students and they proved so effective, easy, and fun that they’ve become part of regular play at home. These games, by their very nature, are repetitive. Memorization comes from repetition in seeing and thinking about an association.
Today, instead of using a regular deck of Poker cards, I decided to switch it up a bit to provide variation. I made my own “deck” out of index cards (construction paper or cardboard would work as well), and wrote matching words on them. I thought that showing pairs in words may be more age appropriate for my girls. We played “Go Fish” with these word cards just as we would have with regular cards and the kids caught on instantly. Depending on the age of your children, numbers, words and/or pictures may be great choices.
Below are some examples of potential categories.
If anyone has any other creative ideas for matching games, I’d love for you to share!
Topic

A Card

Its Match

Habit

Go to the potty

Wipe, Flush, Wash

Color

Red

Strawberry

Habit

Leave a room

Turn off the light

Math Addition

3 + 5 or 2 x 4

8

Language – Rhyme words

Rock

Sock, knock, dock, flock, lock…etc

History

George Washington

Lost all his teeth

History

Abraham Lincoln

On the penny

Math

Quarter

25 cents

Nutrition

Apple

Fruit

August 04, 2011
My daughter Madison, a rising 1^{st }grader puts down her Wii remote and meets me at the table for her 5minute math lesson. I hand her the paper, which reads
5 + 3 =
8 – 5 =
8 – 3 =
She fills in the answers, 8, 3, and 5 then says, “mom that’s too easy.”
I hand her the second paper that reads
91 + 6 = 97
97 – 91 =
97 – 6 =
Again she fills in the answers, 6 and 91 then says, “mom that’s too easy.”
I hand her the third paper that reads
$ + @ = #
#  $ =
#  @ =
Once again she fills in the answers, @ and $ then says, “Mom am I done?”
August 15, 2011
Pattern Blocks are my number one choice of manipulatives because of their versatility. For children preK thru Kindergarten, they can be used for counting, sorting colors, identifying basic shapes, and simple patterns. Elementaryage children can use them for more sophisticated patterns, creating identical shapes with different pattern blocks, beginning fractions, area, and perimeter which in turn reinforce addition. Kids never tired of them! When teaching middle school and high school age children, I use them to teach identifying and measuring angles, finding the sum of interior angles, finding how many triangles make up a given polygon and symmetry. Hurray for Pattern Blocks of multipurpose!
For more resources on pattern blocks go to:
http://www.etacuisenaire.com/catalog/department?deptId=ATTRIBUTEPATTERNBLOCKS&d0=MATH
http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=119378
http://www.etacuisena
http://www.cited.org/index.aspx?page_id=151