The Wonderful World of Kindergarten

Welcome to our Reggio Emilia inspired classroom at Dr. David Suzuki School.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

When Math Happens Naturally

~ Math happens at the art studio ~
We wondered if we should use a rectangle or square piece of paper to make snowflakes.  "How can I tell if I have a square or a rectangle?" asked Mrs. Brent. Well, that started a great conversation!  

We discovered that squares and rectangles have so much in common.  They each have 4 sides.  Jayden told us they each have 4 corners.  They are made with straight lines. They can be any size.  BUT, the thing that is different about squares and rectangles, as Cody pointed out, is that rectangles have 2 long sides.  

Cody decorates one of the paper snowflakes that the teacher made.  When he unfolds the paper, it reveals that the snowflake is the same on each side.

"One, two, three, four sides.  Two long sides, two short sides. One, two, three, four corners."  Then Mrs. Brent decided to have some fun.  
"Hmmm... but how many corners does a triangle have?"  
The children shout out, "Three!"  
"Hmmm... how many corners does a circle have?"
Willow smiles, "Mrs. Brent... a circle doesn't have any corners!"  
Mrs. Brent, "There you go, growing up again!  You all know so many things about shapes!"
~ Math happens at the carpet area ~
The canned goods drive gave us a perfect setting to have some fun.  The children spent many days sorting the dry goods into groups. "This is the supper group."  "This is the crunchy group."  "I'm making a pasta pile."  "I'm making a tower."  "These are my favourites and these are the ones I don't like."  "Look at all my Jello's!"  "This is the soup group. Hey, I made a rhyme!"

When it was time to collect all the food, the children counted the cans and packages and put them in boxes, then they wrote the number of items inside on top of the box.

~ Math happens at the light table ~
We added a basket with loose pieces and offered some colourful numbers near the light table.  It didn't take Zoe long to make a math connection!

~ Math happens in the block centre ~
The children are invited to record their block structures on the chart paper at the block centre. Construction tubes were added. They look back and forth at their structure to count how many cylinder tubes to draw. They are counting, referring, comparing shapes and sizes, seeing taller and shorter, wider and narrower.  They are balancing and constructing and using up space.  One thing we know for sure... cylinder tubes are a big hit!

~ Math happens at the sensory bin ~
We added oatmeal flakes, cinnamon sticks and assorted dry beans to the sensory bin.  We had been baking so much, it was great to give the children a chance to re-create their kitchen experience in their own way.  A basket of measuring tubes was available beside the sensory bin.  The children added them to the bin and began to measure their ingredients.  They decorated their 'cakes' and 'cookies' and 'pies' with glitter.  Baskets and shapes were filled and emptied.  The cooks stirred, measured and baked all morning!

~ Math happens near the construction area ~
Near the block centre is a table that is set with baskets that are filled with construction tools. Measuring tapes and pencils can always be found there. So often we find the children taking the measuring tapes and begin measuring their environment! Long, tall and short, far and near, high and low. Knowing that these tools are available, it is wonderful to see the children come to them when they decide to. We're never surprised when we hear the familiar sound of the measuring tape being stretched along, recoiled in, and stretched again!

~ Math rolls itself out when we least expect it ~
Mrs. Benson wrote out a wonderful morning message.  She gave the children an opportunity to continue a pattern. Well, they didn't want to stop there! Five steps to the writing centre and two baskets later, we had all we needed to keep the fun going. Rolls of paper and coloured shape stickers were all we needed to make strips and strips of patterns. Ryan began with an orange and yellow pattern, then decided he had a square and circle pattern.  "Hey Ryan... have you made two types of patterns in one?" With a great smile, he repeated his two patterns and signed his name. Cody, Caiden and Talia joined in. They enjoyed making more and more complex patterns and longer and longer strips.  We counted how many repeats their patterns had. Mrs. Benson set off a pattern party!

~ Math happens with dough creations ~
The snow has given us a chance to have so much fun inside the classroom. After reading one of our favourite books, 'Snowmen At Night' (Caralyn Buehner), Mrs. Pizzuto thought it would be a perfect time to mix up a batch of salt dough. This handy dandy dough has been made very often in the wonderful world of kindergarten. Mixing recipes and baking is a great way to connect with the children and is one of the places where math is only a spoonful away!  The children help to measure, mix, stir and mold the dough. This dough can be baked or left to air dry. After our story, the children made and decorated many, many snowmen! They are all displayed in a winter 'landscape' in our rooms. But just like the story, we never know what they're up to when we're not here. They're never in the same place when we come back in the morning!


Seeing how much fun we are having, maybe the snowmen want to play in our Suzuki kindergarten and learn math... just like we do!

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