Friday, November 12, 2010

The Addition Symbol "+"

The math lesson today introduced "The Addition Symbol."  It has other names, "The Plus Sign," the "Plus Symbol" or just plain old "Plus." Any of those names will do. It's probably best to use all of them. I called it "The Plus Sign" today in class.  Make sure that your child knows (through lots of exposure in lots of different situations) that whatever we call it, this "+" it's about putting two or more groups together and seeing how much we've got all together.

After I led a whole class demonstration on the mat, we went to the tables and practiced at the tables. We used ice cream sticks, with the "+" written on them, slates, and little plastic blocks. The ice cream sticks were for dividing our slates in two. Then we put a number of counters on either side of the sign

Here's a simple problem Hannah did:

1 on one side and 1 on the other side
What is the answer? Remove the stick and count them all together!

1 + 1 equals 2!
Easy enough. We did more difficult problems, like this one, too.

Hmmm.  4 on one side and 6 on the other.
So, what is 4 plus 6?

4 + 6 equals 10!
I encourage you to do problems just like this at home. At this point kids need hands-on practice with real objects. I strongly recommend that you avoid the more abstract and conceptual algorithms that you find in workbooks.

Problems written out horizontally like 3 + 5 = 8 or vertically, (please forgive the formatting) like this are best saved until later.

+  5

So, again, please give plenty of  hands-on practice.  Avoid the algorithms until later.

Today's news

Chocolate Chip, Justin's Baby Goat

Justin's been helping to raise baby lambs whose mothers cannot produce the milk they need with the help of Gram Cracker, his grandma Marcia Swenson. She brought one of the lambs to school.

I got a couple of photos of it.

Chocolate Chip gets some love

And of course we had to sing this old favorite children's song (adapted for the occasion):

Justin had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb,
Justin had a little lamb whose fleece was black as coal.
And everywhere that Justin went, Justin went, Justin went,
 Everywhere that Justin went that lamb was sure to go.

It followed him to school one day, school one day, school one day,
It followed him to school one day which was okay that day.
It made the children laugh and play, laugh and play, laugh and play
It made the children laugh and play to see a lamb at school.

Zander and Chocolate Chip

And, now, for you loyal readers: the first five kindergartners who can solve the plus sign problem shown in little blocks on the music stand will be in Monday morning's band with Hudson. You must leave the answer in the comments to enter this contest.

Enjoy the weekend!


Anonymous said...

Hannah added the blocks and got seven.

Dan Gurney said...

Okay, then, Hannah's in the band. She gets to pick the first instrument after Hudson's chosen his.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Mr. Gruney I added the blocks togeter and got seven! Makayla

Anonymous said...

Alyssa just added the blocks and got the answer 7.

Heather Grima said...

Sam had such fun with the lamb today. Thanks for sharing!

Ryan moore said...

Ryan got seven too!

Dan Gurney said...

Let's see... Hannah, Makayla, Alyssa, Sam (I'm assuming, here, Sam got the answer!), and Ryan. That's five band members joining me and Hudson on Monday morning. I think I need more ukes!

Anonymous said...

Dan, thanks for posting the pics from yesterday. Justin really enjoyed sharing Chocolate Chip w/the class.

Your daily blog is wonderful! I feel so grateful to be informed in what is going on w/Justin's education. Thank you for all of the extra time you put in keeping us all updated :)


Dan Gurney said...

Hey, April, it's my pleasure to do it. Thanks for thinking of sharing Chocolate Chip.

Anonymous said...

Elsa wanted to answer even though the band is full. =) she figured out seven.

Dan Gurney said...

Alright! Good for you, Elsa!

Dan Gurney said...

Elsa, you can be the #1 sub in case any of the band members are absent.

Anonymous said...

HI Mr. Kindergarten,

I am a Miss Kindergarten in Wisconsin. Can you share with me what this business is about a band? Thanks!

Dan Gurney said...

Hi Miss Kindergarten in Wisconsin. The "band" as I call it, is just a group of kindergarten students joining me in making music in front of the rest of the class for about 7 or 8 minutes in the morning. We sing and play favorites like the ABC song, London Bridge, Down by the Station, etc.