Preschool Years at Home

Laughing, Loving, and Learning Together

Mommy, Mommy, I can use fractions!

on May 27, 2014

The long weekend bumped our usual Monday activities to Tuesday, and a doctor visit for a sick Buddy Bear pushed morning work into the afternoon. Nonetheless, both girls proved eager to work and learn today, despite the unusual schedule.

We began our late day’s work with chapter 7 of Wisdom and the Millers: Proverbs for Children and a look at Proverbs 11:13 — “A gossip tells everything, but a true friend will keep a secret..” … We have one child who loves to “tell all” and another child who resents having her every deed reported, so both girls took this particular story to heart. Little Bear even asked that I create posters of the questions the children in our story learned to ask themselves before speaking —

  • Is what I’m about to say really true?
  • Is it kind?
  • Will it hurt someone’s feelings?
  • Will it spoil someone’s surprise?

— so that we could have visual reminders to ask ourselves the same questions.

Moving on to language arts, Little Bear practiced writing the letter J, reviewed ending sounds and beginning digraphs, and worked with contractions. She also completed another 10 pages in Spectrum Reading Grade 1. I’ve never been a fan of reading textbooks or workbooks and had no interest in this Spectrum title when we first saw it. Little Bear spends hours a day reading “real” books and comfortably reads at a 3rd grade level. She begged to get the book, though; and I try to feed her interests — especially when feeding them costs me less than $2. So we got it. … And it’s proving to be a good investment. She can read the actual text with ease, so she’s reading loudly, clearly, and with excellent expression. She delights in answering all the “What do you think?” style questions in the book since she cannot possibly get them wrong. (She is indeed her mother’s daughter and hates to make mistakes.) Most importantly, she’s gaining confidence in spades as she easily works through a book that’s above her supposed grade level; and the confidence and oral fluency she’s gaining through this “easy” book is carrying over into more challenging reading.

Not to be left out, Bitty Bear began working on lowercase letter recognition today. I found a Lauri A to Z Lower Case Crepe Rubber Puzzle in a box yesterday, and she promptly seized it. She asked at least 20 times over the course of the morning if it was time to do her puzzle. And when I finally did have time to do it with her, she removed one row of letters at a time, repeating their names, lining them up in order, attempting to match them with their sounds, then carefully returning them to the puzzle and moving on. She practiced tracing uppercase and lowercase A’s on the Magnadoodle and hunted for A’s as we read through a couple of board books with Buddy Bear.

The highlight of the day, however, came when we sat down to do Little Bear’s math lesson, an introduction to fractions. The textbook showed a square piece of paper folded in halves, then in fourths. So I grabbed a pack of origami paper to demonstrate. We folded the first sheet once diagonally to form triangular halves, then in half again to form triangular quarters. We folded the second sheet horizontally to form rectangular halves, then in half again to form square quarters. We folded a third sheet horizontally to form rectangular halves, then folded each half in half again to form rectangular quarters. Both girls saw clearly that fractions translated into equal parts and that equal parts could be formed and shaped in different ways.

Origami paper isn’t cheap, though. I didn’t want to waste several sheets of paper, so I pulled up a digital copy of Follow-the-Directions Art: Easy Origami and quickly hunted for projects we could do with prefolded sheets of origami paper.

Fraction Origami Art

Fraction Origami Art

With a bit of assistance from Mom, one of the horizontally folded pieces morphed into a house. Little Bear used our prior fold to establish the center point so that she could fold the top corners down and form a roofline. The diagonally-folded piece was transformed into a cat. Again, we used the crease left behind from our prior quarter-fold to fashion (relatively) equal ears. Then, I pulled out a box of oil pastels (since crayons wouldn’t work on the glossy paper) and turned the girls loose to decorate their creations.

Now, origami may sound like a fun-but-trivial extension. But Little Bear lives and breathes art. Her art box is the first thing she pulls out every morning and the last thing she reluctantly puts away before dinner each night. Midway through coloring one of her projects, she ran back into the living room and yelled, “Mommy! Mommy! I can use fractions! I can use fractions to create ART!”

Boom. Math just gained new relevance.

She dutifully and cheerfully gives her best most days because she wants to please her Mommy. Today’s lesson, though, is one that she’ll remember for some time to come because it had immediate purpose for her. How I wish I could successfully create and fill a need with every lesson!

We rounded out the day with three more chapters of Uncle Wiggily’s Adventures (a FREE Kindle download), more adventures with the Bobbsey Twins, a slew of picture books, Little Bear’s first game of Blokus, and plenty of muddy outdoor play time. Bring on the rain!


One Response to “Mommy, Mommy, I can use fractions!”

  1. Krystal says:

    I was wondering if you would feel free to email me. I am wondering about your phonics and math curriculum. I am using a variety of math curricula for my eldest daughter (of 3) but I have a hard time pinning down my favorites. I really enjoy seeing how you have approached your learning in the past and would love to see how your typical day/weeks flow. You school year-round, correct? And how does it go for Baby Bear? Thank you!

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