Teaching With Technology: Liven Up Your Math Program - With a Touch of Tech!
Create an exciting environment that encourages math learning, and watch the young math wizards in your classroom blossom!
- Grades: PreK–K
You don't need to be a math whiz to be a terrific early childhood math teacher. What you can do is make it easy for children to encounter mathematical relationships in your classroom. This can be as simple as putting three different sizes of shoes in your dramatic-play area (little, middle, and big) to encourage comparisons. However, if you want to make your math program a bit more "high tech," here are some ideas to try:
- Provide solar calculator counters. Besides being a fun math conversation started they can be simply programmed to count. Press the keys in this order: 1 + 1 =. If a child continues to press the = key repeatedly, the calculator will "count" up, one by one. You can count down by starting at a big number such as 100, subtracting 1, and repeatedly pressing the = key. This makes a great all purpose counter for activities such as having children guess how many raisins are in a snack.
- Supply an old cash register or adding machine in the dramatic-play area. This will start conversations about money.
- Don't throw away a broken computer keyboard! This old keyboard gives a child more pretend number button pushing opportunities.
- Add old cell phones to your dramatic-play area, offering children other ways to incorporate numbers into their pretend play. (Make sure to remove the batteries before giving them to children.)
- Use your digital camera to take pictures of things that can be compared for your "comparing" bulletin board (a child pretending to be "big" and then "small," for example). Make sure to include ideas that come from the children.
MIDDLE AND HIGH TECH
- Tune up your classroom computer with some great math software programs. If you've never used programs such as Millie's Math House, you don't know what you're missing!
- Try smart toys such as LeapFrog's new shopping cart, which counts clearly each time a child scans a pretend food item.
- Make your classroom or school Web site a resource for parents by adding a set of math links. (See our set of suggested links.)
Smart toy review: Pretend and Learn Shopping Cart
Teaches: facts about food, one-to-one correspondence, fantasy play
This shopping cart works just like the real thing-push it around, and fill it with objects and groceries. This one, however, also comes with 10 plastic shopping items to scan using the small plastic scanner that's connected to the cart's middle. Children simply touch the scanners base to the object and the toy announces what it is. Scan a bunch of bananas, and children hear, "three yellow bananas." A game mode asks for several items at once to make dinner, and a learn mode sings a brief counting song after each scan. The toy is very responsive and works nicely with traditional fantasy play patterns. Our toddler and preschool testers loved it. Even toddlers enjoyed pushing the cart and putting the objects in and out. They appreciated the toy's sturdy build and wide wheels that support a young child's climbing and pushing. LeapFrog, 800-- 701-5327; www.leapfrog.com; $49.99. Age 2 and up.