Math In Everyday Life

 

 

imgres

Parents fre­quently ask what they can do to help their child with math. I find that the most mean­ing­ful method is to seize upon those teach­able moments in every­day life. The fol­low­ing are some exam­ples that may or may not work for you and your child. It’s impor­tant to keep your child’s con­fi­dence level high. Pushing a child beyond what they are capa­ble of will do more harm than good, so take your cues from them and have fun with math in every­day life.

 

In an ele­va­tor
Notice the but­tons- Use the but­tons as a num­ber line, and ask

If the ele­va­tor stopped on the 4th floor and we hadto walk to the  6th floor, how many more floors would we have to walk?

Would we walk upstairs or down?

What is the biggest num­ber?

Compare sev­eral num­bers and put them in order from least to most and most to least

Walking in NYC
Looking at the street sign- we are on 14th street. How many blocks away is 10th street?

Getting Anything… Cookies, stick­ers, kisses
How many do you want?
What if I gave you
1 more/ less
2 more/less
3 more/less

Pretend Purchase
Pretend your child is buy­ing some­thing. Ask them how much they have? Then make up a price and ask if they have enough? Then ask how much more they need or how much left over money they would have.

Use actual pen­nies to work it out.

Sports

Compare points: who has more, how much more?

How much more does the los­ing team need to get to be equal or win?

Money

Teach the value of penny, nickel and dime.

Count by 1’s 5’s and 10’s.

Count by 5’s and 10’s and then add pen­nies.

 

In the Kitchen

Your child may not be ready to add frac­tions but expos­ing them to units of mea­sure will be help­ful.

Do they know the dif­fer­ence vetween a tea­spoon and table­spoon? Show them how many tea­spoons equal a table­spoon. If your child is ready see if they can fig­ure out how many ways to get 4 tea­spoons. Play with mea­sur­ing.

 

Food

Pizza or pies – ask ques­tions involv­ing a cer­tain num­ber of peo­ple eat­ing a slice and then how much will be left­over?

Throw in the word “each” as in if each per­son ate 2 pieces how much will be left­over. This requires three steps and under­stand­ing what “each” implies. First they have to count how many slices are in the pie, then add how much was eaten and finally sub­tract from the total. Using the real thing will teach this con­cept with rel­a­tive ease.

Cut things in half and dis­cuss equal parts.

Introduce halves and quar­ters.

 

Setting the Table

Ask your child to set the table but don’t give them enough. Then ask them how much more they need.

 

Games

Board and card games are won­der­ful oppor­tu­ni­ties to incor­po­rate math. You prob­a­bly do not want to inun­date your child with ques­tions and take out the play….. but once in a while ask

How much more does one per­son have than the other?

How many more spaces to get to the end?

What do the num­bers on the dice add up to?

 

Sharing

When you share some­thing with your child say: I have ___. If I give you ___ how many will I have left?

.….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….…

Once you see the oppor­tu­ni­ties you will under­stand that there are end­less ways to teach math in every­day life. Keep it REAL, keep it FUN and keep it going.

 

 

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

I Am Curious About Curiosity

imgres

I am Curious About Curiosity

Why , why, why.

Parents can get so tired of explain­ing things to curi­ous three, four and five year old chil­dren.

But why, when chil­dren grow up, do so many cease to be curi­ous?

The new com­mon core cur­ricu­lum strives to encour­age crit­i­cal think­ing and increase a child’s appetite to learn more about the world.

The basic tenets of Montessori are to allow a child’s desire to learn be the dri­ving force of their early edu­ca­tion. I feel that there is a lot of truth to that prin­ci­ple.

As a retired kinder­garten teacher, and now a pri­vate tutor, I encour­age chil­dren to explore sub­jects that they won­der about. Stimulating their sense of won­der will set the stage for more advanced learn­ing when the details are devel­op­men­tally appro­pri­ate for them to under­stand. Additionally, won­der­ing and ques­tion­ing encour­ages the kind of crit­i­cal think­ing stu­dents need to ana­lyze infor­ma­tion and make the kind of con­nec­tions nec­es­sary for deeper under­stand­ing.

What are you curi­ous about?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

Good Job

Success_g402

 

Good Job

 

Motivating chil­dren and build­ing con­fi­dence is impor­tant. Parents and teach­ers do their best to accom­plish this goal and it is help­ful to keep this one prin­ci­ple in mind:

Compliments that are spe­cific are more pow­er­ful than com­pli­ments that are gen­eral.

When a par­ent sees her child draw­ing a pic­ture they might say you are doing such a good job or I like your pic­ture. There is absolutely noth­ing wrong with that but if you can be more spe­cific it will impact your child even more. Imagine telling a child “I like your pic­ture and I espe­cially like the way you added details,” you not only give a gen­eral com­pli­ment but you point to some­thing spe­cific that your child can really ben­e­fit from. Think about our adult world. If our boss told us that we were doing a good job or that the report we did was good we obvi­ously would be happy. But if they were spe­cific about why they liked our work or what about the report was par­tic­u­larly good we would know the com­pli­ment was sin­cere. It would also help us know what in par­tic­u­lar they liked so we could build on it.

As a class­room teacher it was easy to sur­vey the room and com­pli­ment the class on how well they were all work­ing but imag­ine if I walked around the room and gave spe­cific com­ments to sev­eral stu­dents that were per­sonal and authen­tic. This would be sig­nif­i­cantly more pow­er­ful.

I always told my chil­dren that I loved them and was proud of them. Unconditional love and praise is a beau­ti­ful thing but often it becomes mean­ing­less if chil­dren don’t con­nect with it. Elevate your praise from “good job” to “I like the way you did______  .” The smile on your child’s face will be your reward.

 

 

http://blog.positivediscipline.com/2012/01/compliments-create-positive-atmosphere.html

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

Confidence

photo

As a teacher and a par­ent, I know there is a fine line between authen­tic and non-con­di­tional praise. If every­thing is won­der­ful, than there is no con­nec­tion with true effort. Motivation may actu­ally be reduced and all the flow­ery words will become like back­ground noise; mean­ing­less. Appropriate praise with mea­sured encour­age­ment and cor­rec­tion will go a long way to help a child be moti­vated and develop a strong sense of self con­fi­dence.

As your child pre­pares for the kinder­garten entrance exam (gifted and tal­ented, ERB or Stanford Binet) keep in mind that the most impor­tant thing you as a par­ent can do is to teach your child that they are capa­ble. Attacking ques­tions that may be dif­fi­cult can cause a child to give up too soon and take a ran­dom guess. If a child feels that they have suc­cess­fully fig­ured some­thing out even when it ini­tially appeared out of their reach, they may be more likely to think clearly and be more accu­rate.

The dif­fer­ence of a few points may decide your child’s score and there­fore their options for kinder­garten.  If you work with your child at home you need to encour­age and instruct care­fully. A child wants to please their par­ent and will react more extremely to a parent’s efforts to cor­rect and instruct. A hearty dose of smiles, praise and a dash of instruc­tion is the key to rais­ing their level of per­for­mance and con­fi­dence.

Best of luck and let me know if I can help.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

Perfection

 

 

photo

 

I am writ­ing this blog entry as I am liv­ing it. Most, really all, of my blogs speak from a place of expe­ri­ence and con­fi­dence. I have prac­ticed what I preach and know my insights and strate­gies can be very help­ful and effec­tive.

Today I am inspired to dis­cuss an issue that has long eluded me and it’s time to deal with it.

Perfection.

Ahhhh, I even love the sound of it. A per­fect evening, per­fect weather, a per­fect career, and of course per­fect chil­dren.

How crazy is it that I would strive for per­fec­tion in my chil­dren? How crazy is it that fam­i­lies live in an envi­ron­ment where chil­dren are com­pared and judged. Is my child pop­u­lar, are they smart, are they ath­letic and how beau­ti­ful are they?

Clearly no per­son, young or small can be per­fect. Perfect doesn’t even exist. But striv­ing for that goal, or want­ing that life, dimin­ishes the life we have.

At the Emmy award this year some­one and I can­not remem­ber who, thanked their mom for not wor­ry­ing about him. Imagine what that means.  Think about why we worry about our chil­dren. Do we want them to be dif­fer­ent? Does our worry impact them in a neg­a­tive way? Does it detract from their con­fi­dence level because clearly mom or dad may be con­cerned?
 

My goal these past years is to have patience and con­fi­dence. Set aside worry and live in the moment. It is huge for me as I tend to worry, and often need­lessly. But giv­ing up the idea of per­fec­tion and accept­ing what­ever it is I have, that would bring me peace of mind and that would be much bet­ter than per­fec­tion.

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

Kindergarten Decisions

The fol­low­ing is a piece writ­ten by a par­ent who strug­gled through the myr­iad of hoops prior to her child’s entrance into kinder­garten and then strug­gled with the deci­sion to take a cov­eted gifted and tal­ented spot or accept the ease and com­fort of a pri­vate school. I am post­ing this for all par­ents who just went through it and for par­ents who shortly will. It is well writ­ten, poignant and illus­trates the real­i­ties of the New York City school envi­ron­ment. In a recent phone call from a par­ent I lis­tened as she grap­pled with a dif­fer­ent choice: a gifted and tal­ented spot for both her twins or a spot in a closer school; a char­ter called Success Academy. I am so glad that both choices were accept­able. No mat­ter what school your child attends, their suc­cess and hap­pi­ness will largely depend on their teach­ers. Teachers will be happy and moti­vated at a school that respects its’ fac­ulty and oper­ates in a sen­si­ble man­ner. Make some effort to sur­vey the teach­ers and you will gain valu­able infor­ma­tion to help you decide your child’s next big step. Good luck and don’t for­get to breath and smile. . 

 

THE DECISION, IN RETROSPECT
By Anna Li

Today I vis­ited my daughter’s class­room for their end-of-the-year cel­e­bra­tion.  Her music teacher had pre­pared the stu­dents to sing two songs from The Sound of Music, in addi­tion to other orig­i­nal songs about their Kindergarten expe­ri­ences.  While they were per­form­ing, their com­puter teacher dropped by to make sure every­thing was set for the photo-mon­tage pre­sen­ta­tion.  Diplomas were handed out, bows were taken.  It was adorable and there were few dry eyes in the room. 

My daugh­ter goes to pub­lic school gifted and tal­ented pro­gram.

A year and a half ago I had planned and pre­pared and nav­i­gated through the Kindergarten appli­ca­tion process in New York City.  I went through reg­u­la­tions, appli­ca­tions, guide­lines, dead­lines, and more dead­lines, all the while keep­ing my child happy through­out the process as I cam­ou­flaged my anx­i­ety.  

Like some of you in New York City, we saved a spot with a deposit at a pri­vate school in the West Village, which we truly adored.  When we finally received our gifted and tal­ented seat assign­ment in the pub­lic schools, we com­pared both schools care­fully. We looked read­ing, writ­ing, math, lan­guages, arts, com­puter, sci­ences, phys­i­cal edu­ca­tion, nutri­tion, human­ity, and finally home­work load and com­mute. 

In the end, we felt both schools were on par with each other, account­ing for their dif­fer­ences: one offered for­eign lan­guage (pri­vate), the other: none.  One began com­puter in Kindergarten (pub­lic), the other, 2nd grade.  One had a pool and a bicy­cle-rid­ing pro­gram (pub­lic!)…  The list goes on.  I believe that par­ents will have to sup­ple­ment at any school, so we opted for the one that saved us $37,000 annu­ally. 

By now, you have made your deci­sion.  You did all your home­work, but hope­fully you were also warned by prin­ci­pals and par­ent coor­di­na­tors not to ignore the less obvi­ous, like home­work load, com­mute and per­son­al­ity of the school.  Your job was not to get your child into the best school; it was to get your child into the right school.

All year long, I’ve asked myself if we suc­ceeded in choos­ing the school in which our Lili was meant to be. 

Lili’s cur­rent edu­ca­tion is more rig­or­ous that that of our local school, and I can see the results.  She is cur­rently read­ing at almost sec­ond grade level, and she does writ­ing and math work­shops daily, which allow her to write sto­ries and express her­self more effec­tively.  The school also fills out her week with music, art, dance, the­ater, com­puter and cook­ing.  And she has made the kind of friends she’d stick up for in a play­ground.  

One of the biggest draws for us is that the school has a Kind and Gentle pro­gram, which they prac­tice daily.  (My daugh­ter loves school so much, that she makes her friends play “school” when she has them over on play dates.  This is tor­ture for her boy-friends, who I have over­heard ask, “Am I done yet?”)

Despite my daughter’s suc­cesses this year, there are, of course, some regrets I have about our deci­sion.  

First, I under­es­ti­mated the travel fac­tor in my child’s day.

I am one of the lucky moth­ers; the yel­low bus was not a prob­lem for my child.  Many kids cried and refused, adding an addi­tional com­mute to the entire family’s day.  However, the 40-minute ride home from school -and hers is by far not the longest- is in lieu of valu­able play­time.  By the time she returns home, all her neigh­bor­hood friends are well into their play dates.  On days when she has after-school, between travel time and home­work, there’s no time for play.  Plus she’s not just los­ing free time; her friend­ships are slip­ping away because she’s absent from the neigh­bor­hood.

I also didn’t quite real­ize what impact home­work would have on our sched­ule. Yes, she reads chap­ter books, and has cor­rect hand­writ­ing.  However, in order to do this, her school­days are more struc­tured, as are her after­noons.  Couple travel with home­work, and free time becomes a real chal­lenge.  Each week we take home read­ing, writ­ing, and math.  I say “we” because Lili and I are in it together.  Her angst is my angst, just as her joys are mine too. 

I will admit, Lili is on the verge of over-booked, although she has far less after­school than some of the other chil­dren in her class.  I man­age my daughter’s schedule/workload by moth­er­ing over­time to make sure she is happy, not just enter­tained.  I cam­ou­flage home­work to seem like it’s our game, which works most of the time.  I have her friends over so she can spend more time with them after doing home­work — I have an entire agenda, which includes every­thing from candy and sure-fire din­ners, to large-screen TV movie show­ings and marsh­mal­low dec­o­rat­ing.  I jump through hoops, basi­cally, because she is still just a five year old, albeit going on fif­teen.

As far as I’m con­cerned, Kindergarten is one of the last times a child has to be truly care­free.  Free play is invalu­able to a young child’s intel­lect, to her abil­ity to process what is hap­pen­ing to and around her. When we trade free play for struc­tured classes in the name of get­ting ahead, we are doing just that: get­ting ahead of our­selves.    

It may sound to you like I am not happy with my deci­sion.  On the con­trary: I am thrilled.  Yes, I mourn the sweet sim­plic­ity of a neigh­bor­hood expe­ri­ence for my daugh­ter.  But this first year has been a gift nonethe­less. Lili loved her teacher so much, she some­times called her Mama, and vice versa. She marched around those hall­ways and up and down the stairs like she owned the place.  She now wakes up and reads half a dozen books by her­self in bed, before begin­ning her day.

Ultimately, I won­der how this accel­er­ated early edu­ca­tion will affect her, or her future.  Will it make it eas­ier for Lili to get into a bet­ter mid­dle school?  Will we see a domino effect, thus help­ing her to an excel­lent high school?  Should I even be think­ing this far in advance?

I look back on last year, when I won­dered why I was jump­ing through all those hoops.  Now, as Kindergarten has come to an end, I am able to under­stand how my daugh­ter has grown, and learned to deal with her expe­ri­ences.  I real­ized, this past year, that the onus of choos­ing the right kinder­garten was about set­ting my child up for a life­time of not just learn­ing, but lov­ing to learn. 

Making the right kinder­garten choice is pos­si­bly one of the biggest edu­ca­tional deci­sions of a child’s life­time.  If they are in love with learn­ing in their early years, there’s no hold­ing them back.  Lili has found her spot at her Chelsea school.  She was just intro­duced to her First Grade teacher for next year, and now I’m find­ing pieces of paper from Lili prac­tic­ing writ­ing her name.  My daugh­ter is at home in her school, and that’s all I want for now.  Who knows where she will be for mid­dle school, but she has told me there are plans in the pipeline to be a pilot or a doc­tor.  As long as there’s a twirly skirt involved.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

Gifted and Talented In New York City

41Lq14N-k4L._SY300_

 

I met Alex as he was prepar­ing for the bat­tery of tests NYC stu­dents must often take to get into the gifted and tal­ented classes or Hunter Elementary School.He was such an engag­ing stu­dent and we enjoyed our time together.

I once asked him if he was inter­ested in writ­ing a book and showed him my first stu­dent authored book: “Chess Is My Game”. He imme­di­ately took to the idea and is now proud to present it to you. He took spe­cial plea­sure in dress­ing up and choos­ing loca­tions for the shot. I think chil­dren will delight in the illus­tra­tions and will relate to their inno­cence. 

I would love it if you checked it out and bought it for your grand­chil­dren, chil­dren, or stu­dents. It can be a huge moti­va­tor for any­one who is learn­ing to write and even author their own book. 

 

http://www.amazon.com/My-Stuffies-Alex-Agrawal/dp/1490473629/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1371822054&sr=1–1&keywords=my+stuffies

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

Karate Is My Sport, a book by and for young readers

41D1vO1xsGL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_

 

As a par­ent edu­ca­tor and a tutor for early read­ers, I am pleased to announce the  sec­ond book authored by my youngest stu­dent. 

Once a child has a solid foun­da­tion of let­ter sounds they can begin to use inven­tive spelling to rep­re­sent words. Photographs or their own illus­tra­tions add the fin­ish­ing touch. 

As a sea­soned and now retired kinder­garten teacher, I am able to pub­lish a book that has con­trolled vocab­u­lary, repet­i­tive and pre­dic­tive text with pic­tures to pro­vide a solid clue to the unknown word. The result is a book that the author is very proud of, as well as a book that can be an inst­pi­ra­tion to young read­ers and writ­ers in gen­eral.

http://www.amazon.com/Karate-Is-Sport-Johji-Nakada/dp/1490378642/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1371399829&sr=8–3&keywords=karate+is+my+sport

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

The Myth of Gifted Education in New York City

 

school

As an edu­ca­tor I can fully appre­ci­ate the needs of highly gifted chil­dren. They see the world dif­fer­ently and often require unique strate­gies and oppor­tu­ni­ties for learn­ing and reach­ing their poten­tial.

In New York City chil­dren enter­ing kinder­garten are required to take a stan­dard­ized test if they want to be part of the Gifted and Talented Program. Many par­ents see this as an oppor­tu­nity for an ele­vated edu­ca­tion. The real­ity is that the chil­dren who test into these pro­grams are usu­ally not the excep­tional chil­dren edu­ca­tors con­sider gifted. They are bright, they are inquis­i­tive, they learn more eas­ily than some oth­ers, but they cer­tainly do not require spe­cial­ized instruc­tion. What they do need is an atten­tive and nur­tur­ing teacher, a rich cur­ricu­lum that respects their devel­op­men­tal stage and an envi­ron­ment that is safe and stim­u­lat­ing.  

In California, where I taught for over thirty years, there were two lev­els of gift­ed­ness. The sem­i­nar pro­gram was solely for highly gifted stu­dents. The for­mula for the “clus­ter pro­gram,” the sec­ond tier of gift­ed­ness, was that 25% of the class needed to be iden­ti­fied as gifted while the rest of the class was not. This shifted the focus of the instruc­tion to a higher level and was meant to raise the bar for the entire class of chil­dren. Differentiated teach­ing was still nec­es­sary and any decent teacher knows that dif­fer­en­ti­ated teach­ing and indi­vid­u­al­ized instruc­tion must always be part of the plan. Children all learn at dif­fer­ent speeds and modal­i­ties. Attention must be paid to these dif­fer­ences.

In my opin­ion, the major ben­e­fit of a gifted class is not the teach­ing style or the cur­ricu­lum. It is the stu­dent. The ben­e­fits of a class that is com­prised of high achiev­ers are that a teacher can move quicker and delve deeper into all sub­jects. Class dis­cus­sions are richer and stu­dents are moti­vated by their peers. In classes that lack bright stu­dents there is a greater chance that chil­dren will have learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties as well as behav­ior prob­lems. The teacher’s time may be skewed d to the most chal­leng­ing stu­dents and a bright, well behaved child may get a poor aca­d­e­mic expe­ri­ence.

In New York City, where I was born and raised, and now live, I am wit­ness­ing many frus­trated par­ents who are unable to enroll their child in a good school. Their child may have tested high on the G&T exam but denied a slot due to lack of open­ings. Also, their child may not have received a high enough score and there­fore their choices were lim­ited. Some chil­dren may get into a gifted pro­gram but the com­mute may be so long that it would be unac­cept­able to even con­sider. Many chil­dren have no choice than go to a neigh­bor­hood school even though those schools are floun­der­ing. Teachers, par­ents as well as school admin­is­tra­tors are frus­trated and there is no solu­tion in sight. Throwing money at schools has not been shown to make a dif­fer­ence. Testing has become a new source for cor­rup­tion and neglect as schools find them­selves being dri­ven to raise test scores at the expense of qual­ity instruc­tion.  Charter schools can be won­der­ful but, more often than not, are poorly man­aged and must report to a board who are overly inter­ested in their finan­cial invest­ment.

Benjamin Disraeli once said: “Upon the edu­ca­tion of the peo­ple of this coun­try, the fate of this coun­try depends.” Can we afford to con­tinue to let our pub­lic schools floun­der and die? We con­tinue to explore and strate­gize solu­tions but what if the solu­tion is not found within the school sys­tem but the child who enters it? What if that child came from a home where par­ents were involved, had ele­vated par­ent­ing skills and part­nered with the child’s teacher? Early edu­ca­tion for chil­dren and par­ents as well as ongo­ing par­ent­ing sup­port  is a path  to change the fate of our pub­lic schools. Every class­room should have a pas­sion­ate teacher and stu­dents who are eager and capa­ble of learn­ing. All schools should be good schools. Anything less is unac­cept­able.

 

Related links

The Failure of The American Schools:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/06/the-failure-of-american-schools/308497/

 

Gifted Education:

http://wwhttp://www.nagc.org/index.aspx?id=533

 

No Rich Child Left Behind: 

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/27/no-rich-child-left-behind/

 

Geoffrey Canada:

http://www.ted.com/talks/geoffrey_canada_our_failing_schools_enough_is_enough.html?utm_source=newsletter_weekly_2013-05–08&utm_campaign=newsletter_weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_content=talk_of_the_week_button

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

Kindergarten Tip: While Waiting, Stimulate Language Skills

Image

I tutor chil­dren who are prepar­ing to take an entrance exam for kinder­garten. If a child is going to pri­vate school they usu­ally must take a test called the ERB. The ERB is heav­ily focused in lan­guage and even if a child is bril­liant, they will not score high if they do not express them­selves well. One activ­ity that chil­dren, who do not like to talk, find most repug­nant is list­ing prop­er­ties of items.

For exam­ple: Tell me every­thing you know about a dog, milk, the zoo?

A child may feel sti­fled and not be able to express them­selves even when they are com­pletely capa­ble. It is a skill that would be enhanced from daily prac­tice.

So when you are out and about, ask your child to tell you every­thing they know about any­thing. Use a visual that is in their envi­ron­ment. It could be a pic­ture on a bill­board or the real thing. Once they are com­fort­able with this activ­ity see if you can get them to eval­u­ate what attribute is impor­tant, spe­cial or unique and what isn’t. Saying a dog walks is fairly triv­ial com­pared to the attribute of bark­ing, it’s a pet, it has fur. Switch up the roles and take turns. Your child will love being the “teacher” and may get more insight from that van­tage point then when they were giv­ing the answers. 

Have a list of all the things you can do that is fun and edu­ca­tional and use it when you are wait­ing in line, in tran­sit etc.

Of all the skills tested on the ERB, lan­guage is one that takes the most time to ele­vate. Enjoy your time together and use it well,

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail