My little learner decided she wanted to make her own books.
We'd been choosing and reading math literature from our home library shelves, borrowing others from the local library. Math was intriguing. Math was fun. She wanted to make her own books and apply her creative bent to master concepts.
Thankfully, we had blank books on hand.
My little learner chose a book from our stash, one which would match the fall leaf table toppers I found while grocery shopping.
Once the leaves were sorted, we made piles of ten.
On a piece of paper, I wrote numerals 1-10 alongside corresponding number words. From the sample, my little learner copied the numerals and corresponding words, giving each number a page in her book. By the time she was done copying, she felt very confident in her ability to form the numerals and count objects into sets. The more her book took form, the happier and more excited she became.
"I'm writing a book!"
She wanted to write the number words. I wrote the words on a piece of paper and she copied them into her book. The final step was to count out leaves to correspond with the numbers on each page.
I showed her how to set her book--open like a fan--on the kitchen table so the glue could dry. This prevented pages from sticking together.
In the end, my little learner had not only written her first math book--she was quite proud of her accomplishment--she had also learned to match number words with a set of objects and mastered one-to-one correspondence--all foundational math concepts.
Shopping for Christmas wrapping paper, I discovered stocking table toppers. I immediately thought of my eager book-making learner and added them to the conveyor in the check-out line.
Arriving home I told her there was a surprise in the bag for her.
She was thrilled.
Once again she chose a blank book from our collection and started to work.
Before long, she added another counting book to her collection.
She was ready for addition--adding two small sets to make one big set.
As the weather cooled, I found foam snowflakes online. I knew they could be the makings of her next book, Adding Snowflakes. I pulled one of our favorite reads, Snowflake Bentley, from our home library shelf and sat side-by-side on the couch, engaged in the unfolding plot.
When we finished reading, she sorted the foam snowflakes by size, shape, and color--three attributes--another foundational math skill. This was a perfect start to making sets!
Once the snowflakes were sorted, I asked her to make sets of two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight.
I explained the concept of addition--the combining of two sets to make a larger set and wrote some addition facts on the two-page spreads of her blank book. She read the numbers and glued the set required on each page. When gluing was complete, my little learner added the two sets and wrote the sum on the bottom right-hand corner of the two-page spread.
Book complete--now three in total--my little learner had the makings of a math library!
The next concept, addition with three addends--three sets.
With Valentine's just around the corner, I knew what we would do--add three sets of hearts.
Again, she chose the blank book--red stripes this time--sorted hearts by size and color, counted sets, and started adding. For this book she wrote the equations vertically. I explained that equations could be written horizontally or vertically without changing the answer. She was intrigued by the tidbit of knowledge. I wrote an equation both horizontally and vertically on a piece of paper and proved the concept by adding foam hearts. Indeed, the answer was the same.
In the end, she completed the book and added it to her collection!
Perhaps we will tackle subtraction next season?
I love that we were able to work side-by-side on these projects and that she was engaged and eager. She enjoyed math and wanted to learn more.
Time well spent.
Indeed, intentional, real, and relational.