I seem to have lost my picture book focus in the past couple of weeks, so today I'm happy to inform you that I am returning to math-related picture books this week. I've also decided to add a category specifically relating to math resources.
As a non-practicing certified public accountant, I have a strong interest in math. Combine that with my love of literacy and what do you get? Someone who loves to find picture books which integrate subjects like math, language arts, social studies, science, and art.
Can you really teach math through a picture book? Well, some teachers would probably shake their heads, or say they don't have time, but I say definitely YES. YES. YESSSSS! It can be done, but it does take a significant amount of research, planning, and creative thinking.
When I read articles like this one from Education Week, I think about how easy it is to combine literacy with other subjects like math. Why aren't more teachers doing this? Well, quite honestly, the answer is way too complicated to write about in one post.
Let me just say that part of the reason is that elementary school teachers usually must follow a specific math program, and don't always have a lot of flexibility when it comes to teaching math. Preschool teachers, on the other hand, do not have to follow a specific program.
Preschool children can learn a lot about math through play and literature. For example, a child who likes to play with dominoes, even if it's just setting them up like a train and watching them fall, is learning valuable math concepts. Such uninterrupted play is essential for young children, but did you know that you can also extend that play with a picture book that describes the different games people play around the world with dominoes?
Playing with blocks and various shapes is also important, even during the elementary school years. There are picture books relating to geometry, area, and perimeter, too! You can find them at these previous posts:
When you stop and think about it, math is all around us every day. Here are just a few of the places you can find math:
- Your kitchen! Children can learn a lot about measurement and fractions through cooking, but what about those magnetic letters you put on the refrigerator? If children can make words, or even just play with the letters, why can't they count them as well? And hey, they could even sort the different letters by color or shape, which is a whole other skill!
- Your bookshelf! Why not count how many picture books your child has? Why not help your child to organize and sort them by category or author?
- The toy box! Counting, sorting, organizing, making patterns - so many possibilities!
- The grocery store! Children can learn so much here. Just pulling change out of your purse can be a great lesson for children. I will expand upon this one for sure...
I could go on and on with this list, and add picture books for each, but I'll save more suggestions for another day!
In my recent post about Confessions of a Shopaholic, I wrote that it's important to start teaching children about money when they're young. Well, I am going to start by introducing coins tomorrow. I'm so excited to get back to picture books that integrate subjects!
In the meantime, how are you balancing math and literacy in your home? What is your reaction to the Education Week article? Do you have any favorite math-related picture books?