Monday, April 6, 2015

Mathematics Through Play Book Study: Part 2

Welcome to week 2 of our Math Through Play Book Study!  I love seeing my students excited about learning math and engaged in doing mathematics.  I love seeing how young children work on big math ideas through play and am so excited to be reading this book.  After being just a few chapters into this book, I already have a few ideas for how I can incorporate more math into my own children's play as well as set things up at school to have more math play time.  

Here is the posting schedule for this book study:
Sunday April 5th: Chapters 4&5
Sunday April 12th: Chapters 6&7
Sunday April 19th: Chapters 8&9

If you are just joining us, head to this post for more details! 

Chapter 4: Counting and Using Number

Several years ago, I realized that my students were not getting enough experience with counting things and I began my Counting and Estimating Routines.  These have really helped me come a long way toward meeting the goals outlined in this chapter.  There are a few things this chapter inspired me to work on.

Things to Count

I need to do a better job of rotating the stock of items to count.  I try to tie into classroom themes with math work and this is a great opportunity for me to also keep a fresh box of countable items in classrooms.  As themes change, I can change my buckets of countable items to match the theme.  

Number Lines/Number Paths

The classrooms I am in all have number lines or number paths on the wall.  Many of them are high up on the walls where kids can not reach them.  The idea of using numbers in play makes me want to put a number path right on the floor.  I would love to make this a permanent feature in a school gym but if that can't happen, I think painters tape on the floor or a roll of paper that can be rolled out whenever kids want would be ideal.  I would love to hear from others who have a number path where kids can access it and how they make it work!


In the debate over real money versus paper money, I am firmly in the real money camp.  I always use real coins with my students.  The plastic ones are just not as true to thickness and detail.  That being said, I am a huge fan of play money for any bills.  I find that laminating paper bills makes them much more useful in play situations.  They hold up better, stack easier and lay flat.  

Chapter 5: Patterns

With the shift from our state standards to the Common Core standards, many teachers in my area think that pattern is no longer something that needs to be taught.  The classic repeating patterns of blue, green, etc from the past are no longer specifically spelled out in the math standards.  That  being said, patterns are still the basic foundation of math and it is important for kids to see and recognize patterns in object and number.  Also, don't be afraid of growing patterns!  Many of the patterns in our number system are in fact growing patterns and I have found even very young primary students can be successful with growing patterns.  

Ordering Words

I have seen first hand that some kids do not come to school with a firm grasp on ordering words such as first, second, after, before and in-between.  Through play, these words can easily be developed and will form an important foundation for later when I am asking kids to tell me what number comes before or after or between a given number.

Number Patterns in Hundreds Chart

Again I was struck by the fact that my students don't really have access to a hundreds chart they can play on.  I have some hundreds chart stickers that are going in the writing center (graphics area) immediately.  I also am thinking about how I can get a hundreds chart on the floor in the classroom or school gym or outside on the playground.  I have big ideas about painting a 100's chart along with a number path and a ten frame out on the playground.  I definitely have more research to do on this but I have high hopes for turning part of our black top into a math learning station.  

Patterns in the Arts

Of course pattern is all around us and there are so many opportunities to talk about it outside of math class.  I think it would be great for our Unified arts team (art, music and P.E.) teachers to do a unit on patterns.  There are so many patterns to be found in art, music and movement, and it would be great to see the students connecting all these areas.  Definitely something I want to look into more! 

What are your thoughts about counting and patterns through play?  Any great ideas to share?  Sound off in the the comments below!


  1. Wouldn't that be great to have some math painters out on the playground? It sounds like a Scout Eagle project.