“Pick a digit. Pick your favorite digit–any one you want, from the pile on the table.” That’s how the “human digits” activity starts. It’s another social math activity, this one to teach place value, and to practice reading big numbers.
Make a Safer Space
I know I’m going to ask people to get themselves into groups, and some people will hang back and wait to be invited to join a group, which is stressful, and others will be nervous about being on their feet and not knowing what I have in store for them. So I put some energy into making the space more comfortable for everyone.Continue reading →
I remember the moment that I began to mark for confidence. It was Bernice who got me started.
The class was finishing up their writing, and putting it into the envelope that went upstairs to the secretary to be typed so that everyone could have a copy of everyone else’s stories. I tried to catch people as they finished up their work, to do a final proofread with them.
On that day, Bernice strode purposefully up to the envelope hanging behind me. Continue reading →
We rarely know how far our work goes, but once I got a glimpse—
I was working with some parents on producing a manual of family math activities (Family Math Fun!). We met twice a week for 11 weeks.
Jeannie (not her real name) only came to the first session, where I showed the group how to play Yahtzee, and gave them all dice and score cards to take home. We played a few rounds so that everyone got familiar with the game.
As the project came to a close a few months later, I asked all the participants to come in for a final interview, and Jeannie was happy to come.
Since she had attended only one session, I did not expect her to have got much benefit from the group, but I simply asked my first question, “Has coming to this group made any changes in your life?” She answered with a decisive yes.
She said that she and her husband got along better, as did the kids. “We have better communication. I see my daughters helping each other with school math by using a ruler or calendar, explaining, not just giving the answer.”