Much of primary math is about establishing benchmarks of 5 and 10, but have you ever stopped to wonder why those are good numbers to use? Here are a few reasons: Benchmarks of 5: We have 5 fingers (if we count the thumb!) on each hand, so a hand-y (ha!) benchmark to start with is … Continue reading Establishing Benchmarks of 5 and 10 through estimation
I went and asked a few Grade 5 students to tell me about odd and even numbers, and this is what they said: Student A: “3 is odd, 2 is even” Student B:“anything ending in a 0, 2,4,6,8 is even and anything ending in a 1, 3, 5, 7, 9” is odd. The students told … Continue reading Odds and Evens
Never heard of a rekenrek? You’re not alone, but I’m here to tell you, it is one of the best manipulatives for developing number sense in early primary, and you can make it yourself! Originally developed in Holland, it looks like a mini-abacus, but functions quite differently. Although you can have many rows in a rekenrek, … Continue reading What the heck is a rekenrek?
Why bother?! In this age of technology, do we still need to learn number facts? Absolutely! Thinking flexibly about numbers opens up thinking for more complex mathematical problems. Mental math is also a survival mechanism when you are out in the real-world! Think of how often you use it: How many km am I going … Continue reading The Facts about Facts!
The importance of place value I always start the school year with number sense. Why? Because it gives me a good indication of each student’s comfort with numbers. Number sense is the one strand that is always interwoven into other strands in mathematics. It is also the most telling predictor of a child’s success in … Continue reading The Importance of Place Value in Primary
We are away for the summer at a cottage, with no internet or TV, which I usually love. We’ve already read lots of books, frolicked in the waves, swam to the Big Rock, sailed to Seagull Island, canoed...dumped the canoe and had lots of good old fashioned fun; but my heart still felt the pitter-patter … Continue reading Tenzi Frenzy!
The thing with children is they change so quickly and if you blink, you feel like you missed the moment when a major milestone was achieved. For example, Rory used to say he wanted a hangaber for dinner. Alan and I thought it was adorable, and did nothing to encourage the proper pronunciation of the … Continue reading Sorting and grouping
If you’re not a teacher, you may not be familiar with the term manipulatives, but you can probably infer what they are. Manipulatives are models that help children think and reflect on new ideas in math. They include resources that allow children to explore, question, guess and check, but more importantly, to play with the … Continue reading Making Math Meaningful with Manipulatives!
Oliver is 2 ½ and quite pleased with his ability to count. He can count forwards and backwards (and sometimes correctly!), but he has no understanding of what the numbers mean, although he does know that numbers relate to quantity. Rory on the other hand is 4 ½ and he can count correctly and accurately … Continue reading Learning to count…baby steps.