Monday, July 23, 2012

Math Monday Blog Hop #62 (July 23, 2012)

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Elapsed Time with Scaredy Squirrel

Have you read about poor Scaredy Squirrel? He never leaves his nut tree. He's too scared of the unknown. So his daily schedule consists of:

"Wake up. Eat a nut. Look at view. Eat a nut. Look at view. Eat a nut. Look at view. Go to sleep."

Not a whole lot of excitement for that furry critter.

Then one day, in the most hilarious way, Scaredy Squirrel is forced into the unknown. He makes some changes in his life:

"Wake up. Eat a nut. Look at view. Jump into the unknown. Play dead. Return home. Eat a nut. Look at view. Eat a nut. Look at view. Go to sleep."

My 6 & 9yo kids have read this book with me over and over and over. We all LOVE IT. It's one of those books that tickles the adult funny bone just as much (or more) than it tickles the kids'.

I've always thought this book would make a great tool for considering elapsed time. Today I asked my 9yo to figure out how much time Scaredy Squirrel used for each daily activity on the old and new schedule. He then did a little comparison of how time was spent in each chart. We noticed that some of the time Scaredy Squirrel spent observing the world in schedule #1 was now spent experiencing the world in schedule #2.

I wouldn't hesitate to use this with any age, but it's especially valuable for 3rd & 4th graders who are exploring the Common Core State Standards involving time:

3.MD.1. Tell and write time to the nearest minute and measure time intervals in minutes. Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of time intervals in minutes, e.g., by representing the problem on a number line diagram.
4.MD.2. Use the four operations to solve word problems involving distances, intervals of time, liquid volumes, masses of objects, and money, including problems involving simple fractions or decimals, and problems that require expressing measurements given in a larger unit in terms of a smaller unit. Represent measurement quantities using diagrams such as number line diagrams that feature a measurement scale.

Calculating elapsed time isn't scary. Try it!

Disclosure: If you purchase books through my Amazon links, all commissions go toward foster care through Grace and Hope at no additional cost to you. I do not keep any money myself; I am hoping to be able to sponsor an additional child in foster care through commissions on this site. Thank you!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Review: Marie's Words (picture vocabulary cards)

One might ask why I'm deviating from the usual math postings in order to do a review of vocabulary cards. So here it is in a nutshell:

1. Before my math education days, I was an English Education major. Yes, I used to assign vocabulary lists to hapless* youth.
2. Despite my youthful vigor, I am the proud parent of two assiduous* children who have taken the SAT test...and three more who will take it in the future. (How can I be that old?) I've heard a lot of talk about the importance of vocabulary.
3. As a high school student and future English major, I bemoaned* the fact that I personally did better on the math portion of the SAT than on the reading portion.
4. I saw Marie's Words in the Timberdoodle Catalog and was intrigued. They sent me a free review copy. I am not paid for this review and I can say whatever I please. (Scary, but true.) If you're interested in learning more about the company that trusts me to say whatever crazy thing pops into my head anything, you can learn more about Timberdoodle on Facebook.

Marie's Words consist of 550 vocabulary word cards depicted by a drawing on one side and the definition, a sentence, synonyms and antonyms on the other side. 

Although we are on summer hiatus*, I'm very aware of the importance of keeping my 9-year-old son busy. So as not to become indolent.* (Anyone else have a 9-year-old who needs to be busy?) Each week, I put ten words on a ring and challenge him to learn them by Friday. He usually memorizes them on Monday. Although I don't know if they'll continue to stick in his brain, so far, so good; he seems to be recalling words from past weeks with ease.

What I like:

  • Portability - the cards come with a pre-punched hole, so I can easily add and subtract them from my own ring. 
  • Time - quick, easy, can do it anywhere.
  • Illustrations - the pictures make even difficult words accessible to many ages and abilities.
  • Bang for the Buck - at 550 words, it's going to take us more than a year to get through the box. And ten cards a week is nothing to sniff at. 
  • Another Tool - while I wouldn't want to limit vocabulary learning to cards, this is certainly one tool to add to the toolbox. 

Things That Made Me Pause:

  • Some Illustrations - while we have not gotten through the entire box, I have run across a few cards in which I had a hard time connecting the illustration to the vocabulary word. This has been less an issue for my son than it has for me. Perhaps I'm old and set in my vocabularific ways.
  • A Few Words - sometimes the word on the illustration is altered for the purpose of making it easier to remember and understand. For example, the card for "abhor" includes a small letter "c" and "e" on the word on the illustrated side of the card:

ab c hor e

The sentence on the back reads, "Josh abhors his chores so much that he taught his dog to do them."

That makes me a tad nervous. I'm afraid that a few kids could decide that the word is actually "abchore." Hopefully, I'm wrong. Irregardless, this only affects a handful of the cards in the box.

In summary:

I have an affinity* for the cards. And will use them with my children. While I think that the best way to enrich vocabulary is to read widely and often, I did that as a teen and didn't ace the SAT. This is another tool to add to the learning toolbox.

Please Note: no vocabulary cards were harmed in the writing of this post. But if you see an (*) next to a word, it means I borrowed the word from Marie in an effort to show my grandiloquence*.

As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of Marie's Words in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Math Monday Blog Hop #61 (July 9, 2012)

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