Sunday, November 5, 2017

Math Gnome Stories & Photos

Over the weekend I got to do a webinar with Jamie York.  He offered it as a  follow up to his Seventh Grade Online Workshop: The Art of Teaching Math. Jamie York is friendly and gives practical advice from his experience as a Waldorf math teacher who has been in the classroom for many years.  I find that his work is really accessible, and he's super-helpful and willing and interested in being a support person to homeschoolers.

He told me that he has filmed four more math workshops! They will be available soon... they are for
  • Grades One through Three
  • Grades Four and Five
  • Grade Nine
  • Grade Ten
In my eternal quest to bring Putting the Heart Back into Teaching: A Manual for Junior Primary Teachers by Stanford Maher and Yvonne Bleach back into print, I asked him about having Jamie York Press re-publish it. And hooray!  He's interested!

Putting the Heart Back into Teaching: A Manual for Junior Primary Teachers
a fantastic book published in South Africa in 1998
used copies on Amazon run a thousand dollars!

We also talked about Oobleck (the AMAZING Non-Newtonian Fluid you get when you combine 2 parts cornstarch : 1 part water) and how great it is for the Ratios lessons in seventh grade. He had never heard of it!!!! So I'm emailing him some links and I suggested he put the recipe on his website.

I am also gearing up for my own workshops, both the Tuesday evening one at the public library and the Third Annual Women's Health Naturally! Expo which will be on Saturday, November 11th, right here in Carbondale IL.

WHN is a great day full of presentations, exhibits, and an amazing organic lunch. The presentations and exhibit hall are open at the same time, so you can do whatever interests you, and there are lots of door prizes and drawings and samples. Last year I enjoyed a free massage, chatted with several doulas and lactation consultants, discovered the woman who is now my acupuncturist, met the owner of a small local natural toys store which I had never even known existed, and went to a presentation on herbal medicine. It was so fun and the lunch was absolutely delicious! This year I will have a table of my own and will be talking to interested mamas about homeschooling. If you are in the Southern Illinois area, I invite you to come by! Or grab some friends and make it a girls' day out!

The reason why I love Putting the Heart Back into Teaching: A Manual for Junior Primary Teachers so much is because it's an all-in-one book for new Waldorf teachers or homeschoolers and it includes resources for all of the main lessons you do in the first few grades plus information on circle time, the temperaments... the whole thing! I have made detailed notes on the Waldorf Curriculum website regarding the help they offer for Math Gnome Stories. I have Jamie York's book and I have Barbara Dewey's book and I have Dorothy Harrer's book and I have the book from Live Education! And I think that Maher and Bleach did the best job.

Here are some photos from the classroom which include the last few weeks overall and the Math Gnome Stories in particular:

Note: the older group of students was doing a Math block on Ratios at the time. The Ratios lessons shown are not part of the Math Gnome content!

introducing my math gnomes, from left to right:
Mr. Divide, Tommy Times, Mr. Minus, Farmer Plus

introducing adding by writing the sum from the whole to the parts

looking for patterns, solving the last problem on our sheet by saying all the previous problems aloud and finding the rhythm 
(this is a precursor to chanting and memorizing the math facts by playing beanbag games)

setting up Zac's Hidden Colors activity by putting a few drops of food coloring in the bottom of a muffin pan and covering it with baking soda

adding vinegar using a squeeze bottle, stirring up the results with a spoon to reveal the fizzy colors

taking some quiet time out to weave on our tapestry loom

adding Farmer Plus to the MLB

Oobleck Time!!!
using my star blocks to show the ratio:  2 parts cornstarch to 1 part water

Oobleck is a solid when you press on it but becomes a liquid when you release the pressure... it is FABULOUS FUN!

Oobleck is easier to clean up if you play with it outside :-)

a favorite Halloween work: the Haunted House of Speech

we use the Grammar Stencil to draw the grammar symbols below the house, after adding lots of creative details to the HHS we create sentences about it, placing each word under its correct symbol for its part of speech

in Montessori, the large black equilateral triangle is the noun, the medium sized medium blue equilateral triangle is the adjective, the little light blue equilateral triangle is the article, the large red circle is the verb, the small orange circle is the adverb, the green crescent is the preposition, the  purple isosceles triangle is the pronoun, the pink rectangular bar is the conjunction, and the gold keyhole shape is the interjection

our talented artists love adding their personal touches to this unique work and it's a really fun way to review the Grammar symbols

adding Oobleck to the MLB

Mr. Minus gave all of the king's treasure away... 
first the king's storehouses were overflowing thanks to the generosity of Farmer Plus who just kept bringing more and more...

and then there was less...

and less...

until he had given it all away... 
note the difference in the feeling of "giving away" versus presenting minus as "taking away"

our sweet little math gnomes have their symbols embroidered on their backs

moving on to how ratios are written, we considered both money and height
if the ratio is 3:4, how tall might the two people be?  we gave several examples (3 cm : 4 cm, 12 inches : 16 inches)
here, Jim is 3 meters tall and Kevin is 4 meters tall

our special guest in Philosophy:  Miss Hilary

adding Mr. Minus to the MLB
"Raggedy Blue, What'll I do?"

taking the math gnomes and their silks to my Waldorf homeschooling workshop at the public library, we use the playsilks as capes and dress up and act out the operation before summarizing it for the MLB, it is fun to see the children internalize the quality of each operation in how they walk and talk and interact with one another

using the Montessori stamp game and decimal stamp game with a particularly tricky dynamic subtraction problem

skip counting with Tommy Times, who solves the king's dilemma (now that all of his treasure has been given away) by making more very quickly, we learn that Tommy Times's personality is sanguine (the colors of the gnomes match their temperaments) and that he is always dancing and skipping and singing and doing cartwheels, and the multiplication sign looks just like someone about to do a cartwheel

in our story Tommy Times has a little bell on his hat which jingles cheerfully as he works, so I would like to add a little bell to the cap of my little gnome

setting up Frog World for Zac 

in Science Club, using a magnet to separated out iron filings from salt and sand...

then dissolving the salt in hot water and pouring the liquid through a coffee filter to leave the sand behind... now we are waiting several weeks for the water to evaporate out and leave the salt behind

we measured the mass of the iron filings, salt, and sand before we added them together to create our mixture and we are curious to see if we have the same amounts after we go through the complicated procedure of separating them

Halloween slime:  another fun ratios acivity
1 part water
1 part clear Elmer's glue

Note: if you are adding color or confetti or glitter, put it in the water/glue before you add the liquid starch

adding ratios to the MLB:  
Jim and Kevin and the Three Thoughts of a Ratio

illustrations of Jim and Kevin ratios, some using money instead of height

 symbolized words below a finished Haunted House of Speech

hot new classroom trend:  coloring bookmarks

another popular work:  the cursive practice dry-erase book

a project leftover from our Physics block:
taking apart a bike to find the simple machines which make it up

Mr. Divide's choleric temperament makes him the perfect person for the job!  now that Tommy Times has increased the king's treasure again, his storerooms are overflowing as before... but the king needs someone to divide the riches of the kingdom fairly between the people (we love poor Mr. Minus but he just passed things out indiscriminately and some people got turnips while others got emeralds and that caused some hard feelings)

the children do this lesson one at a time, they each choose a really big number of gems and pile them in the middle of the silk to show how much Tommy Times has made, and then I tell them how many people Mr. Divide will need to divide those gems between (making sure in my mind that it will come out evenly) and then they happily distribute it out into even little piles

Division answers the question, "How much does each one get?"

drafting a summary and an illustration for the MLB

introducing our new main lesson block:  The Age of Exploration
(also called The Age of Discovery)

a beautiful new classroom material: the Cosmic Story Mat

the new book for our middle school literature circle

This post contains affiliate links to the materials I actually use for homeschooling. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for your support!

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