Archive for the ‘Math skills’ Category

Why did I teach her to tell time?

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

For a long time, Reid’s most common first words in the morning were, “Is it morning?” With the blackout blind, it’s hard to know. At some point, I decided to teach Reid how to read the clock and told her that she gets up once the first digit is “6″. That worked well enough until Reid started at her new school. At her old school, the kids had a quiet/nap time every afternoon between 12:30 and 2:00. This is the same time, more or less, that she is at her new school. I don’t think Reid was sleeping most days but she seems to have needed the downtime, given how tired she is in the afternoon and evening. We’ve been putting her to bed earlier but she hasn’t been falling asleep much earlier. It’s that whole leading a horse to water thing but with sleep. Because Reid is blessed/cursed with the same internal clock as me, she wakes up at close to the same time every day. This is incredibly annoying when she hasn’t had enough sleep (and, incidentally, when I wake when still tired). I’ve started covering the clock with a pillow so that she won’t be able to glance over and know that it is morning. If Reid is willing to go to the effort of moving the pillow, I decide that sleep is too far gone. But really, who thought teaching her to tell time was a good idea?

Starting to add up

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Reid is increasingly interested in reading, finally agreeing to sound words out when prompted. Her passion, though, remains math. Tonight she chose to work in an addition book while I got supper together. At first, Reid told me the numbers that she was adding together and then she gave the answer. After a bit, she started regrouping the pictures of items to be added and then asking me for the answer. When I told Reid that it was she who needed to practice addition, she assured me that she knew the answers but wanted to know if I did. When I hesitated in answering a question, Reid would offer the initial sound of the correct answer. I was tempted to defend myself – the delay was due to distraction not an inability to work sums less than 10 – but that would have seemed ungrateful since she was giving me hints.

Patterns, odd and even

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Reid has been waking up early for the last while. Not earlier than me but earlier than I want to be out of my cocoon of blankets and before I want to think of more than the implications of the first sportscast of the day or the Frugalista’s latest report. One morning Reid said that she wanted to count and wanted my help. My assistance hasn’t been required for Reid to count in English in more than a year but it was early and so I played along. Reid said “1″ and pointed at me and I supplied “2″ and then she said “3″ and signalled me. We continued like this for a few more numbers and then Reid asked if I knew that it was a “patteren”. I had noticed the pattern, I said, and that she’d been saying the odd numbers and me the even ones. Reid asked the difference and I said that even numbers were divisible by 2. She nodded and said, “There are two sets of 2 in 4,” before I’d even decided how to explain “divisible” to her. I’m in such trouble if Reid grasps math concepts so much better than me.

But Malcolm Gladwell, in Outliers, taught me that math success is a matter of hard work not talent. There’s still hope for me, if I work hard enough. Of course, he also said that 10,000 hours are required to master something. Maybe Reid is the only one for whom there is real hope.

Back then they didn’t have counting processes

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Reid’s teacher wrote a note on a math sheet to say that Reid can count to 32 in French and that she skipped 33 and then said 34. I have no information to indicate whether this puts Reid at, below or above the expected level. Reid seemed a bit concerned that she hadn’t counted higher and I reassured her that she was doing well, even counting to 34. (Reid denies having missed 33.) I told her that I hadn’t learned to count to 100 until grade 1, when I was six. Reid found this interesting and asked, “Back then, you didn’t have counting processes?” I said that we just didn’t learn to count to 100 in Kindergarten  Reid said confidently, “And when you did, it ended at 100. There were no really big numbers.” I told her that we did, in fact, have big numbers way back then. Reid didn’t believe me, though. She probably thinks I’m so old that I’m losing my memory.

Words and numbers

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

I have 2 word stories and 1 about numbers today.

I’ve noticed recently that Reid says “merote” instead of “remote”. It’s a perfectly normal transposition of sounds but I’ve noticed it because she used to say “bemote”. There aren’t many words that are still mixed up in Reid’s lexicon but I’m savouring the few little girl pronounciations that persist and forcing myself to use the correct word.

One of the reasons that Reid doesn’t have many baby words remaining is that she has decided to use proper pronounciations. One night recently Reid was trying to ask why I had moved the humidifier that sits on the table next to her bed. She started with, “Why you move that — what you call it?” (Points at the humidifier) I supply the word and Reid says “humidfer” to herself and then starts over. “Why you move that — what you say?” (Again pointing at the humidifier) I spoke more slowly and, I hope, more clearl. Reid picked up on an additional syllable, repeating “humidifer” to herself before starting to ask me again why I’d moved it and we went through the pronounciation advice one more time before she nailed it (more-or-less)and got her question out. I was pleased with myself for not jumping in with the answer but even more proud of Reid for her determination to acquire the word that she needed. Since then, Reid has used “humidifier” regularly and with perfect accuracy. This is the first word that I can remember Reid tackling a word head on. I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Reid was working on her calendar on Saturday. When she learned that it was March 1st, she went and chose the number 1 from its pocket and then said she was going to put up a number 2 as well. I told her if that she did that, it would be a “12″. Reid protested that the 1 was the littlest number – “it’s tiny” – and she made herself small to emphasize her point. It was clear, to Reid at least, that poor, little 1 was too tiny to stand alone. Ken is more of a numbers person than I am and he came up with the solution: Reid could put the zero up before the 1. (I didn’t say that it was a Rubik’s Cube type challenge. ;+)

Having a kid who knows her numbers is useful

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

When we woke from our nap today, I wondered what time it was. I wondered because I couldn’t see the clock on the microwave without my glasses. I asked Reid if she could see the numbers and she said, “yes” in tone that said that everyone who was anyone could see the numbers. I asked her what they were and she said, “S, 5 and 4″.  I told her, “thanks” and suggested that the “S” was probably a “2″. I think that we’ll work a bit on firming up Reid’s number recognition skills and then I won’t have to worry about my glasses nearly as much as I do now.


Friday, August 10th, 2007

Reid and the other Juniors at daycare must have been learning to count to 20 lately. A couple of times in the last week she has counted aloud past 10. She consistently gets 11 and 12 in their proper places and then says some but not all of the numbers 13 through 19 and in a somewhat random order. My favourite, though, is “eleventeen”. This number is very close to 20. It comes up most times Reid counts higher than 12. It will be interesting to see how long it persists.

A left, then right …

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

On the way to Upper Canada Village, Reid and I were talking about which turns we would take. Reid is very interested in the directions from one place to another. There is a series of quick turns – a left and then quick right and then a straight bit and then a right and a left. As we discussed the turns Reid said, “That’s two rights and two lefts.” I was very impressed with her math skills. Next I asked how many turns we’d be making in total? Reid’s quick and confident answer was, “Five.” Maybe she isn’t a math prodigy but I think she is pretty darn smart.

The thumb is for you

Monday, July 16th, 2007

We’ve been counting things with Reid lately, especially pointing to fingers as we count. I read somewhere that kids need to make a link between something concrete and the numbers that they are saying. Reid seems to have made a link but this link is directly tied to particular fingers.

This morning, Reid and I were “sharing” cereal, which is to say that she wanted to eat my Bran Flakes while I pretended to eat her iron-filled, cardboard Nutrios. Reid was also mooching instant oatmeal from her dad and so I asked for my cereal back. She held up a finger and I asked if that meant she would be taking one more bite. Instead Reid switched her hand to hold up all four fingers and her thumb and said, “The thumb is for you.” She then folded down the appropriate fingers with each of her next four bites. Each finger on the hand that was also supposed to be holding onto her spoon, that is. Reid met my suggestion that she count on the fingers of the other hand with a look of “stop that crazy talk” and she continued eating. Apparently only the right thumb was for me. Who knows who the left thumb was for!