I’m always trying to find ways that the little mathematicians in my kindergarten class can participate in real, meaningful math that matters. Whatever I teach them, I ask myself “Do they see how this connects to the real world of mathematics?” “Do they see that what they do in math matters?”
Each morning we start our day with Explore while my wonderful assistant, Trisch, gets the morning snack ready in little containers. Today Trisch and I decided that we’d make “Snack Helpers” into an Explore choice. We made a little chart that showed that today each snack container would get “10 goldfish and 10 Cheerios.” (Yes, it’s a small snack, they’ve just eaten breakfast!) Good reading practice too because they read the names on each snack container as they get it out. Their job was to count out the snack into containers.
I thought they would like the job, but I was surprised just how much they liked it. “Wilbert, I just made up your snack!” yelled Darius across the room holding up Wilbert’s snack container. The snack helpers saw that this job helped the class and their friends, and that their counting wasn’t just “playing school” or satisfying the teacher’s needs, they were actually doing something that mattered.
As a bonus, I checked in with the four snack helpers today with their 1:1 and counting, and it gave me some good informal assessment information as to how they are moving forward with these goals.
How do you make math meaningful for your kids throughout the day?