Today I visited Kindergarten during math time. Math is a subject that takes the whole body. Kindergartens learn well when using their whole bodies. So put the two together, and there is a LOT of energy coming out of math time in Kindergarten. Our students find math to be a way to explore and play. They need their hands on objects. They use pictures and stories.

As I walked into Ms. Johnson’s room, students sat in groups doing different math activities. Ms. Johnson sat with a group planting gardens. She told the story of the different flowers they planted and then picked. Students worked out the addition of new flowers and the flowers that are taken away when picked. It was fun to watch as these gardens taught the students math.

In Ms. Wilkinson’s room, I saw similar movement in groups. She sat with a small group working out math with bugs. They collected bugs and then a fly swatter came along and swatted some bugs away. Again, the story behind the math problem allowed the children to visualize what actually is happening.
In both rooms, students were seeing math in the real world. They were picking flowers and swatting bugs AND they were subtracting!

Walking into Mr. Del’s room, they created bracelets that allow their little fingers work out math with the beads. Moving the beads around their bands help them create their own math problems.

A strategy I often use with learners who are overwhelmed and worried about math problems is to just hear the story that is being told. I direct my older students to visualize the actions taking place in the story. This helps them to know what actions they need to do. I enjoyed being in kindergarten today and seeing these action stories taking place. Students had their hands on flowers, bugs and beads. They were seeing the story behind the problem and were engaged in their learning.

How creative our teachers were in creating these hands on opportunities! How inspired was I to try to make my own stories with my own children and integrate that math!

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