Both boys came down with colds this week, and I used the time to clean out our bookshelves and do a little rearranging in the schoolroom. One accomplishment I am particularly excited about is the “Math Basket”. This idea is not original – if there is such a thing. I remember seeing a post about something similar on the now defunct Little Nature Nest blog. My interpretation can be seen above. I took a pretty big basket on wheels and filled it with all fun things related to math: games, cards, dominos, clocks, beanbags, dice, times table wheel, tanagrams, rulers, tape measures, counters and such. All of these things used to be scattered around the house, but I am hoping by grouping them in one place they will get more casual use. I have talked about my approach to math before, and I especially enjoy when we can organically incorporate it into our days. Those basic facts seem to demand constant review, and this seems to be a sneaky way to get it done.
I also will put some math-themed books in the basket from time to time. We have checked out quite a few good titles from the library this year, based on the suggestions of Donna Simmons from Christopherus. Some of our favorites were Anno’s Mysterious Multiplying Jar by Mitsumasa Anno, One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale by Demi, How Much is a Million?, Millions to Measure (and others) by David Schwartz. Her fourth grade curriculum for Mathematics is really excellent: thorough, organized and full of good ideas. I know we will be using some parts of it again next year.
One more change in the schoolroom: a table just for jigsaw puzzles. The plants have all gone back outside, and that provided a perfect spot under this window. I have a few animal-themed puzzles that I want to work on during these last few weeks of school, as after US Geography, we will be doing our second Man and Animal block. This will be more of a straight zoology block, with field trips planned to the Charleston Aquarium and our local nature center.
In case you are wondering, the birds in the window were made with crayon shavings, parchment paper, and a stencil. Directions can be found here. (I have also made the hearts as pictured in the link. I hang them every February in the same window.) I love having something pretty and bright to look at when you first walk into the schoolroom – well, that’s if you don’t look down and notice all the origami paper, magazines, shoes, yarn and library books scattered underneath! Any spring-fever-changes going on at your house?