Shaping Pre-Math Skills Making Math Count for Children who are Functioning at a Pre-Academic Level
AER International Conference 2012 Presented by: Rebecca Lambert, MSEd., COMS Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments St. Louis, MO www.dgckids.org firstname.lastname@example.org
Shaping Attitudes The general public and new families often ask “How do you teach a baby who cannot see?” We play! The activities we do look as if we are “just playing”, which is the point. Children learn by playing and by experimenting with things they find around them. Adults do not consider or realize that math is everywhere and the activities we do are already pre-math and early language learning activities.
Shaping Attitudes Giving adults a reason why we do what we do often changes their perspective about playing with their own child, a relative, or in how they observe a child, regardless of that child’s ability. If we are able to shape their attitude about playing with children, they may be more likely to follow through with our suggestions or feel less guilty for what might have been considered as “playing” instead of “working” or “therapy”.
Shaping Attitudes Many preschoolers (including minorities and low-income) are self-motivated to investigate patterns, shapes, measurements, and numbers concepts, but they need assistance to bring these ideas to an explicit level of awareness. Good early childhood mathematics is broader and deeper than mere practice in counting and adding (Clements, 2001).
Shaping Attitudes Children often construct ideas quite differently than adults. Successful teachers interpret what a child is doing and thinking and attempt to see the situation from the child’s point of view. Young children do not segment their day into separate subjects. Activities need to promote a wide variety of areas throughout the day, including social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development (Clements, 2001).
Research Most of the research available included the typically developing preschooler. A longitudinal study from US, Canada, and UK (Duncan, et al, 2007) indicates that preschoolers that enter kindergarten with a mastery of early math and literacy concepts are most likely to experience later academic success. Early math encourages language development, not necessarily the other way around.
Research The Early Mathematics Education Project at Erikson Institute in Chicago trained 300 preschool and kindergarten teachers at 150 schools. This project worked on embedding math concepts into daily classroom activities, providing a foundation for more complex math and logical –thinking skills in later grades. (Article in Wall Street Journal by Stephanie Banchero, November 29, 2011) TSBVI has an article on their website that is full of links and suggestions for children with visual impairments.
Pre-Math Concepts • Thinking Math Problem Solving Communication Reasoning Connections
Pre-Math Concepts • Content Math Patterns and Relationships Number Sense and Numeration Geometry and Spatial Sense Measurement Fractions and Decimals Estimation Statistics and Probability
Special Considerations for children who are visually impaired • Allow extra time to develop and learn • Give the child as many opportunities to experience and participate in activities as much as possible • Make sure adaptations are appropriate. Some activities may be best without adaptations, keeping things simple.
Daily Routines at Home • Getting up in the morning • Ask child to stretch as far or as high as they can • Have them move across the room (jump, roll, crawl, hop, etc., using body in different ways through space). • Set a timer or count out loud (1 second, 2 seconds, etc.) to see how long it takes to get one piece or all their clothes on. • Find specific clothes or match colors of clothes
Daily Routines at Home • Getting up in the morning • Discuss the plans for the day (i.e. what happens first-then –then. For older kids mention morning, afternoon, or specific times of day.) • Estimate how many bites or spoonfuls eating breakfast may take and count them. • Discuss temperatures outside, inside, ask what they might need to wear
Daily Routines at Home • In the Kitchen • Allow child to play with plastic food containers (size, shape, lids, etc.) as well as pots/pans, exploring handles, lids, utensils, nesting, stacking, etc. • Count down dinner being ready with a timer. • Have child choose baking dish or pot/pan that you need to use and ask why or if there are others that can be used
Daily Routines at Home • In the Kitchen • When baking, have the child locate measuring cups, help them to use the cups • Talk about sequences when creating a meal (First we put in the flour, etc.) • Use dough to help understand fractions, giving the child ½ of dough and even smaller into ¼ if there are more children present. • Use different sizes of containers to compare amounts of food (ex. One cup uncooked rice in tall thin container looks different in short wide container but still remains the same amount)
Daily Routines at Home • Meal Times • Cut food into different shapes and/or create designs • Create a theme for snacks such as round or square foods • Dump out a bag or box of small items, such as raisins and have the child estimate and then count to see if there are “more than, less than, or the same” as the guess.
Daily Routines at Home • Meal Times • Cut a piece of fruit in ½ and share it with your child. Explain that you each are eating ½ of the original amount, connecting the language of fractions • Have child help to divide a dessert or a pizza into “fair shares” (equal shares) and encourage them to develop a plan to make that happen. They will see that the more people there are to share, the smaller the size of the share.
Daily Routines at Home • Housekeeping • Sorting dirty clothes by color, matching socks, etc. after they are clean. Have children come up with their own sorting rules (by color, size, texture, type of toy, etc.). • Sorting shoes into pairs from a pile, putting them together and lining them up neatly, noting sizes, colors, etc. • Use fractions to work on chores such as cleaning ½ of the room or even a piece of furniture.
Daily Routines at Home • Playing • Build with blocks, empty boxes, or milk cartons. Because these items are 3D shapes that can be handled, children can use them to combine, divide, and change shapes. They learn to recognize geometry in the real world as well as the relationships between and among shapes. When children build with blocks, make sure to ask them why they are using certain shapes. It gets them thinking about what they are doing. • Use boxes of different sizes to stack or nest or climb into, helping the child to create an understanding of size relationships.
Daily Routines at Home • Playing • Look for stories or songs that rhyme, repeat, or have numbers in them. Children love to be read to, but they also like to look through the pictures by themselves. • Use charts to measure heights of different family members, how many have blue eyes, etc.
Daily Routines at Home • Getting Ready for Bed • Play with a variety of cups in the bath to pour water into and out of, estimating how many cupfuls to fill a different cup, etc. • Ask child to guess if a toy or object will sink or float, trying a variety of waterproof objects. • Plug the sink when brushing teeth to see if it ½ full, almost full, etc. by the time they are finished. • Sing a song like the Alphabet Song or Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star while they brush their teeth or wash their hands .
Daily Routines at Home • Getting Ready for Bed • Use a timer to get undressed and into pajamas. Compare the time they took to get dressing in the morning and try to beat it. • Read counting books out loud, or read books that rhyme, repeat, or have numbers in them. Reading is fun and a special way to introduce mathematics topics to your children. • Look for patterns in their pajamas or let them pick their favorite color.
Daily Routines at Preschool • The typical Preschool day consists of small routines that fit into a bigger predictable routine (Arrival, Free Play, Circle Time, Snack, Learning Centers, Story, Recess, Music, and Departure). • Math lessons are part of just about any of these times of the day. • Many of the strategies mentioned for home can also be used at school.
Daily Routines at Preschool • Children with Severe/Profound Needs require more thought to help them engage in these Pre-Math activities. The child to keep in mind may have CVI, is wheelchair bound, and working with simple switches for cause/effect. • We still need to expose them to what we can, even though many times they do not have the communication skills to indicate how much they are understanding. • It is left to us, the vision professionals or paraprofessionals, to adapt the classroom activities that have already been decided, but we can embed the math concepts ourselves.
Daily Routines at Preschool • Arrival/Departure • Provide a shape or target for the child to locate their cubby. Give a duplicate shape for the child to hold as they enter the room and then compare to the shape on their cubby, making it as visually appropriate as you need to (Mylar, sparkles, etc.). • Give the child a verbal rundown or use object calendar of the day’s routine (i.e. what they are going to do during arrival and what they did during departure).
Daily Routines at Preschool • Free Play • Offering an object from each available area for the child to choose (1 or 2 or more, if possible). If not able to make a choice independently, incorporate sorting skills or comparisons with what is available using color, shape, or size.
Daily Routines at Preschool • Circle Time • This is the most obvious time for Pre-Math concepts to be brought into the Preschool day. Calendars, weather, songs, comparisons with peers, etc. are typically all discussed here. • Individualize it for our kids by bringing in a personal sized calendar or adding in a tap or clap when counting the days with the class. • Use a talking switch or communication device when possible to integrate the child into the parts of the routine, such as telling the day or what the weather is like, even starting the song of the days of the week for the class to sing along.
Daily Routines at Preschool • Learning Centers • Many of these centers are all about experimenting with different textured media and manipulatives. • Help the child to experience any part of holding or manipulating the objects by bringing the child down to the level of the other children whenever possible. Again, they just need to start with exposure to the concepts, regardless of their personal language capabilities.
Daily Routines at Preschool • Recess • Taking them for a walk around the playground is a great way to work on relationship concepts (also basic O&M). Experience going around different types of equipment, moving through them, finding a peer to help demonstrate concepts, etc. • Experience different parts of the yard (sidewalk, grass, making comparisons). • Use different balls to compare sizes, bounces, weights, etc. • Using a variety of containers in sand or rocks to pour, scoop, fill, etc.
Daily Routines at Preschool • Story/Music • Books with rhyme, rhythm, numbers, etc. are all great to help incorporate Pre-math concepts. When these can be combined with objects (story boxes) or actions to help tell the story it becomes more relatable. • Songs with actions and those that repeat build a variety of concepts regardless of the child’s abilities. • Use a songbox with objects that represent each song (bus, star, spider, etc.) helps to build a routine as well as concepts of in/out, on/off, fine and gross motor skills, etc.
References Banchero S. New Calculation: Math in Preschool. Wall Street Journal, November 29, 2011. Clements D. Mathematics in the Preschool. Buffalo, NY. Teaching Children Mathematics, January 2001, 270-275. Dewar G, PhD (2008). Preschool math lessons: A developmental guide for the science-minded parent. www.parentingscience.com Dewar G, PhD (2008). Math with Manipulatives: Preschool number activities designed to foster your child’s number sense. www.parentingscience.com
References Duncan GJ, Dowsett CJ, Claessens A, Magnuson K, Huston AC, et al. 2007. School Readiness and Later Acheivement. Developmental Psychology 43(6); 1428-1446. National Institute for Early Education Research (2009). Yet more evidence: It’s Time to Strengthen Math, Science in Pre-K. http://preschoolmatters.org Osterhaus, SA. (2004). Susan’s Math technology corner: Early Childhood: Where Learning Mathematics Begins. Division on Visual Impairments Quarterly, 49(3), 41-47.