Math In Everyday Life

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

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Good Job

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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

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Confidence

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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.

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ERB or Not To ERB

 

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The New York Times sent shock waves through the world of NYC preschool par­ents when it informed us of the end to the dreaded ERB test. The test was now not rec­om­mended by a panel of experts due to the vast amount of “prep­ping” going on and the unhealthy use of ERB scores as a way for par­ents to show­case their child’s bril­liance. 

My first reac­tion, as a tutor who, yes I admit it, helps to pre­pare chil­dren for the ERB was great. I hate the notion of test­ing and the ridicu­lous hoops par­ents and chil­dren must jump through just to get into a school that will be a pos­i­tive expe­ri­ence. But then real­ity set in. How will schools make deci­sions about who is accepted and who is not? Obviously schools can­not accept every­one so how will the new sys­tem work? I have asked sev­eral of the direc­tors at the schools who have decided to see how life with­out the ERB will unfold and it appears that much of the change will be in for­mat rather than con­tent. By this they mean that they will observe chil­dren at play, they will have infor­mal ses­sions with them and yes, an assess­ment will be made. Scoring will be vague, at least at first, and par­ents will be informed as to how well they did in sub­jec­tive terms. You can be assured that most, if not all, skills pre­vi­ously assessed will still be con­sid­ered.

As an ele­men­tary school teacher for over thirty years I can tell you most earnestly that screen­ing chil­dren prior to kinder­garten is impor­tant. Some chil­dren require spe­cial instruc­tion out­side of a main­stream class­room. It’s won­der­ful to have a nice blend of chil­dren with dif­fer­ent tal­ents and var­i­ous back­grounds.

I am totally in favor of some kind of screen­ing for every school. Eliminating the ERB’s is a step in the right direc­tion. Competition in NYC and par­ents using their chil­dren as tro­phies is another mat­ter com­pletely.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/26/education/on-entrance-test-whose-days-appear-numbered-a-95-just-wasnt-good-enough.html?_r=0

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Perfection

 

 

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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.

 

 

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Gifted and Talented In New York City

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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

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

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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

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Kindergarten Tip: While Waiting, Stimulate Language Skills

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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,

 

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Kindergarten Tip: Clapping Game

Entering the world of kinder­garten:

 

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Old fash­ioned hand clap­ping games never go out of style. They are played all over the world, and often times with amaz­ing sim­i­lar­ity. These games engage chil­dren because they are men­tally stim­u­lat­ing and chal­leng­ing and can be ele­vated to greater and greater dif­fi­culty. I have fond mem­o­ries of my 6 year old daugh­ter play­ing with her 12 year old brother. This was about the only activ­ity they could engage in with equal delight.

Kindergarten Tip:

Hand clap­ping games rein­force at least 3 basic skills.

1. Patterning, which is a rea­son­ing skill, is the abil­ity to notic­ing what is repeated.

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2. Sequencing , which is another rea­son skill, is sim­i­lar to pat­tern­ing but rather than notic­ing a repeat, one must observe how some­thing is con­tin­ued. 

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3. The last major skill that is rein­forced is mem­ory. As the dif­fi­culty level pro­gresses it becomes a chal­lenge to remem­ber all the moves and their cor­rect order. 

Whether your child is prepar­ing for a kinder­garten entrance exam or not, hand clap­ping games will be fun, edu­ca­tional, and an oppor­tu­nity to engage your child dur­ing those times when they are search­ing for some­thing to fill their time.

 

 

 

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NYC Parents of Kindergartners: Ask Why

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ATTENTION all NYC Parents of Kindergartners:

Whether a kinder­garten entrance exam is in your child’s future or not, enhanced rea­son­ing skills are crit­i­cal for suc­cess in school and life. Reasoning skills hap­pen to be the #1 skill that pro­fes­sion­als look at when eval­u­at­ing a child’s intel­li­gence.

One aspect of rea­son­ing skills is called metacog­ni­tion which  refers to one’s abil­ity to explain their think­ing. When a child is in school and answers a ques­tion the teacher might, and should often, ask why they thought that. When chil­dren are not accus­tomed to being ques­tioned they typ­i­cally inter­pret that response as a sign their answer was wrong. A child will often shut down and feel embar­rassed  When a child is able to explain their think­ing it not only rein­forces their rea­son­ing skills but also allows adults the oppor­tu­nity to clar­ify any con­fu­sion or even deepen the child’s under­stand­ing. 

So when you and your future kinder­gat­ner are chat­ting, try ask­ing them why they think the things they do. It’s always inter­est­ing to hear.Often times chil­dren will say, I don’t know or my brain told me. This is absolutely nor­mal but don’t give up. Sometimes they will sur­prise you. Keep ask­ing why and help them along by giv­ing pos­si­ble rea­sons. Your child will become used to this kind of ques­tion­ing and will be ready to take on that entrance exam as well as be a more crit­i­cal thinker and stu­dent.

Future kinder­gart­ners in NYC and across the coun­try:  this is your future. Prepared to talk a lot about why you think the way you do. 

to learn more about metacog­ni­tion:

http://education.purduecal.edu/Vockell/EdPsyBook/Edpsy7/edpsy7_meta.htm

Enjoy the con­ver­sa­tion .…

 

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