The ABCs of Math
HOW IT WORKS
The ABCs of Math is an interdisciplinary program
that develops children’s skills in reading and writing, increases their understanding of
basic math concepts, allows for creativity, encourages cooperation,
and improves skills in applications of technology. The program begins
with a genre study in picture books in a reading workshop.
Mini-lessons include analysis of structure, author’s craft, how illustration
supports text, and the different sub-types of picture books, including
counting and ABC books. The children learn that these books run the
gamut from very primary in look and content to quite sophisticated.
With the picture book baskets categorized, the study is extended to a
subset, and interest is piqued by such works as Twizzlers,
A Book of Percentages, Sir Cumference and the First Round Table, Domino
Math, Math Course, and the like. After reading several of
these and having partnership conversations, the children think about how the
author has infused math learning into the text. The look at the
cover and blurb and use KidPix to design book jackets for the volumes they have
read. Working in partnerships at one of the five classroom
computers, they create a cover and, when all children have had their turns, compile
the covers into a slide show.
One book, G is for Google by David
Schwartz, is of particular interest. An ABC book in an adult format, this
text amuses and excites students because of its humorous way of
defining math concepts. Using it as a mentor text, they create a book of
their own, The ABCs of Math. They refer to the classroom word
wall and make an A-to-Z list of math words. Partnerships are assigned
research topics and they scour math texts for material that will
help them clearly explain their selected words. Finally, they compose the
text and are ready to publish. Using PowerPoint, they design slides,
with each containing a letter, the word, the accompanying explanation,
and appropriate graphics and visual and auditory effects.
Finally, the slides are combined and The ABCs of Math is done. Both slide shows
are installed into lab computers and in grade three and four
classrooms for use as resources for students and teachers.
This program can be used in large or small groups in the classroom or
in the computer lab. It is best used in grades three through six and
at all functional levels. It addresses the needs of all learners via different
modalities such as talk, writing, and using computers to achieve
the desired outcomes.
Hilary Sedewitch has been teaching for 15 years. She is currently
teaching fifth grade science and runs the school's website.
WHAT YOU NEED
The ABCs of Math can be implemented in any classroom with
computers and software such as KidPix and PowerPoint. A collection
of math-based picture books is essential. These books are readily available in libraries, stores, and
through children’s book clubs.
This program has proved invaluable to students because it easily
blends essential curriculum area and offers opportunities to reach
toward standards in reading, writing, math, and technology. In a
cooperative atmosphere, children work congenially, sharing talk and
ideas and completing a project that can be used by other students and
teachers for both reference and enjoyment. The allure of technology
turns what might be an ordinary assignment into a creative collection of
book jackets and an ABC slide show demonstrating clear understanding of
grade-appropriate math concepts.