Early Math

Play is Risk-Tolerant

I recently read the following claim in a piece from the creative folks at KQED Mindshift: “Up to 70 percent of the tasks in most jobs are on track to be automated, leaving only the most creative, empathetic, technically fluent, collaborative work for humans. Students need to find motivation and meaning, and take a playful… Continue Reading

The Metamorphosis of Teachers

Perhaps you have heard it said that the greatest influence in a classroom is not the equipment, or the curriculum, but the teacher. My work in preschool makes me believe this even more. In a single observation session I’ve seen a teacher be the mentor, the comforter, the organizer, the encourager, the innovator, and the… Continue Reading

Quotes to Spark Conversations

In early September AIMS had the honor of hosting a breakfast for the teachers we are working with this year. It was a time to come together, form friendships, share our goals for the year, and, of course, engage in some mathematics. As an ice-breaker we had the teachers engage in an activity called “Chalk… Continue Reading

Venn Diagrams and Early Childhood Teachers

My guess is most people probably wouldn’t say “Venn diagrams” and “preschool” in the same sentence. Here at AIMS, where the early math team has partnered with Head Start, I am working at a preschool site that has an amazing staff and loves implementing new math lessons and activities. The focus of the lesson this… Continue Reading

Handy Little Fingers as Counters

The most convenient counting manipulatives are children’s fingers, where their small digits are fun counters. As we work with two preschool sites, the Early Learning Math team has the privilege of working with and observing young children develop their math skills. In promoting number sense through play, we have discovered that children will often demonstrate… Continue Reading

Learning is Moving in New Ways

I recently attended the Psychology of Mathematics Education conference in Indianapolis. While at the conference, I participated in several sessions with a workgroup that is interested in exploring how the ways we move our bodies influence our cognition. This concept of embodied cognition theorizes how learning to move in new ways can form the basis… Continue Reading

The Potential of Curiosity

Defined as “a strong desire to know or learn something,” curiosity seems to be an important component of constructing new knowledge and, when joined with play, can create powerful learning experiences. Among the early math team, we are finding that it is often the simplest of materials that can elicit both of these characteristics. The… Continue Reading

Thinking About Children’s Thinking

Over the last month, for the start of the school year, my AIMS Center colleagues and I have had the privilege of working with teachers and observing the interactions of 3- and 4-year-old children, something our team has done for the last two years. As we observe these little ones, we have learned how to… Continue Reading

Be the Reason Someone SMILES Today

As a former kindergarten teacher, I must say I am a big Pinterest fan. When I was looking up ideas for classroom inspirational sayings and quotes, a recurring saying kept coming up, “Be the reason someone smiles today.” What does this look like in a classroom? Why is this important? And how in the world… Continue Reading

Spark Math Enthusiasm

How critical is teacher enthusiasm when it comes to children’s learning? Many of us know the monotone sound image of Charlie Brown’s teacher, “wot-wot, wot-wot, wot-wot.” Not very enthusiastic. Unsurprisingly, I believe that children are more apt to learn when the teacher is enthusiastic, especially about math. During a recent interview we asked teachers, “What… Continue Reading