Young children are like sponges—they soak up every bit of learning and can't wait for the next drop. At the Lower School, we continually assess the best ways for our students to learn and grow, based on current research, experience, and the expertise of our faculty. As the Director of Lower School Math, I lead the initiative and provide support for our mathematics teaching and learning. I love developing and thinking of creative ways for our students to engage more deeply in mathematics.
I am always looking for ways to provide meaningful learning experiences where students solve problems, explain their mathematical thinking, and communicate their ideas. Here are ways for St. Stephen's and St. Agnes students to engage with math beyond what we're teaching inside the classroom.
- Wednesday Morning Math: Parents and their young Saints spend 30 minutes problem solving every other Wednesday. It's fun watching the kids communicate with their parents as they teach each other their developing math skills.
- Math Olympiads: What began as a program for older students has taken hold by popular demand by our younger students. We now offer Math Olympiads for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade. These contests aim to foster an interest in math, teach the major strategies of problem solving, foster mathematical creativity, and to stimulate enthusiasm for the types of problems that students encounter in competitive mathematics. Through team-based competitions, students compete remotely against other school teams using the same problems.
- Second grade Math Lab: We use this time to enhance developing math skills by exploring the use of new math tools. Students work collaboratively as we introduce and explore hands-on puzzles and games that they can continue to work with outside of math lab time.
- Annual Family Math Game Night: Blink! Quirkle! Math Dice Chase! Math game night is a new tradition which again brings parents and children together to play games that make math fun! Math games help mental math skills stay sharp and build brain fitness with logic games, manipulatives and more.
- Lunch Math Help: For those students who just can't get enough math, I open up my classroom for math games and challenges while munching lunch.
- Spotlight on K Math: Kindergarten parents spend an evening getting an overview of how students learn math at this age. We discuss the underlying reasons on why our young students learn how to make 5 or 10. Parents learn techniques to support their children in their math development. Discussion time is followed by time engaging in a math activity with their children in their classroom. It's a great way for parents to help support their children's learning outside of school.
- Play Your Part Game Day Food Drive: 4th grade students hosted fellow lower school classes to play math board games as part of a food drive to support ALIVE (ALexandrians InVolved Ecunically!). Participating students were asked to bring non-perishable food in exchange for unlimited game play. That is 'goodness as well as knowledge' at work.
- LS Math Resources for Students Padlet: This brings together engaging Math Games, Math Apps, Math Books, Math Websites and Math Activities all in one location.
There you have it. Numerous ways for your child in junior kindergarten through grade 5 to build mathematics skills, develop confidence in their math ability, and have fun!
And, here's a sneak peek inside our Rolling Rhombus. What's that you ask? Think a math focused book mobile. It's a school bus converted into an immersive math environment filled with age appropriate math and logic games and hands-on activities . Kids love it! We plan to bring it to community events where our students can teach other children to love math too.