We are readers in Rm. 111, but we are also mathematicians! Early in the year, we got started talking about math, as well as working and thinking like mathematicians.
One of our first experiences was a guided discovery of some math manipulatives. Ms. Turken and I decided to start with Power Polygons and pattern blocks, because most kiddos have some experience with these tools from kindergarten. It seems, too, that introducing math in a fun, non-threatening way (like playing and exploring) is accessible to everyone–even those who already have an “I hate math” mentality (and yes, there are some of those friends, even this early. 😦 ).
We did have a quick little conversation about what it meant to “think like a mathematician”, since that was what I was asking them to do. We charted our ideas, and then left the poster up while we worked. (**Sidenote–nothing on our chart had anything to do with the manipulatives we worked with, but it was great to begin to see/hear their mathematical thinking already…)
After we found them in our classroom, I gave kiddos a choice of which ones they wanted to start with, and then set them loose. The only “rule” was that they had to think like a mathematician and figure out how we might use that tool. Additionally, we reviewed the “right” way to work with a math tool and kiddos were to pay attention to how well it went (because we would debrief at the end).
After we finished the guided discovery, we met together to talk about how it went. We worked through a chart to record “plusses” and “deltas”, discussing what went well and what we needed to change.
For the most part, they did really well, and it was exciting to watch them work. Stay tuned for more stories of how we’re getting started with math in first grade! 🙂