# Letters and Numbers in One Morning

After a few birthday parties, between my oldest and second oldest son, they accumulated about 3 sets of wooden blocks.  Of course they loved stacking them up and making buildings, but I wanted to figure out what I could do with them to teach about literacy and numeracy.  If you ever wondered what you can do with all those wooden blocks, here is something my second oldest and I did together.

At this moment in his life, he was a few months older than two years of age.  With my little learner, it was difficult to keep his attention when he knew mom was about to start a lesson.  He was the child that usually ran away when I said it was time for story time.  However, this really was something he found fun and it was building something, per say.

Together, we sang the alphabet and searched through the two buckets of blocks to create one row of the alphabet.  Then either he or I picked a wooden block from either of the two buckets and asked him what letter it was and what sound it made.  Then I asked him to match it to the letter on our alphabet row.  We continued to do this until we made the model below.  The numeracy part came afterward.

Starting with the letter A, I asked him to count how many “A”s there were.  This continued on until we went all the way to the letter Z.  Considering that hindsight is 20/20, what we could have done was write the letters in one column and the quantity of each letter block in another column.  So, this is something  to do if you have time and enough of an attention span from your little one.  This could be something to do after taking a break to do something else and coming back to chart it.

Do you need 2 to 3 sets of wooden alphabet blocks to do this lesson?  The answer is no. I’m sure you can go to the dollar store and get 3 or 4 sets of alphabet cards for three to four dollars total.  You might have so many of these flashcards and lost a few here and there and wondered what you can do with them now.  This lesson would be perfect!

If your child has lots of toys, or lots of little toys, then take some pieces of paper and write each letter of the alphabet.  Put those pieces of paper in order together.  Then model in front of your child for the first few toys.  For example, take that car and overly enunciate the first letter C.  Ask your child what letter does this car start with.  Then place the car under the letter C.  Repeat this until you have at least three to four toys under each letter.  Remember, not every letter needs to have three to four toys associated with it.   The idea is to recreate the second picture above.

For those of you who are wondering why the second picture looks a little familiar from your days in middle school or high school, this is because this is a physical graph collecting the graphs.  This particular graph could be called a line plot or a bar graph of sorts.  If you have a family of children with different ages, you can extend this to your older kids when learning or reviewing about graphs.  An extension to this is calculating the percentage of As, Bs, etc. This data can be displayed in a circle graph/pie graph, tally chart, or frequency chart.  This area would be a piece of data and statistics.  Now you have a lesson for your little ittie bitties and your older ones.

Where is this on the Schedule of Activities from 0-18 months of age?

1. Mondays on “ABCs”
2. Wednesday on Numbers (Counting)

http://www.learningmathwithmom.com/sites/default/files/Schedule%20for%20the%20Week_zerotoeighteenmonths.pdf

Where is this on the Schedule of Activities from 18 months to 3 years of age?

1. Tuesday on Numbers
2. Wednesday on Sorting

http://www.learningmathwithmom.com/sites/default/files/ScheduleofActivitiesfor18mosto3yrsofage_0.pdf

For something so simple as wooden blocks, or using flashcards and toys, you as an educator to your child can develop their sense of letter recognition, phonemic awareness, and numeracy skills.  This is something that can be used for families who have children from 18 months to middle school.  If your older child is reluctant for his/her parent to teach a math lesson, maybe he or she can teach the younger brother or sister.  This is a character building exercise as well as trying to persuade your older child to learn at home and to change the thinking that learning doesn’t stop in the classroom.

Again, as a parent, we might think we need to hurry up on teaching certain things to our children so that they won’t fall behind.  This allows us to become more stressed or pressured if our children are not learning at the rate we think they should.  No worries….just breathe.  Because even reading this blog and finding out how to help your child become more successful in math, literacy, and art should tell you that you are a wonderful and caring parent.  If your child takes more time to learn concepts, it is okay.  We all learn at different times.  Don’t worry too much.  I will say this over and over again because it is that important to know that you are doing a great job!

copyright 2013 learning math with mom

# Flash Cards to Teach Children Their Letters and Desert Animals: Connecting Numeracy and Literacy

Mathematics and literacy should go hand in hand.  I have used different things to teach my children letters of the alphabet and sounds they make.  In mathematics, we use letters as variables to solve for an unknown value/amount.  We also use our letters to form words and complete thoughts to be able to describe how we solved a problem and what questions or further explorations we still have about that problem.  This is why Learning Math with Mom has a Reading Corner on the website.  Literacy is important. What can you use to help your child begin the learning?  How about flash cards with a bit of meaning to them?

I had the pleasure of meeting a local artist, here in Tucson, AZ, at the 5th Annual UA Presents Children’s Festival.  Her name is Julie Rustad.  Julie owns Julie Originals and created a set of flash cards that related to letters and our local desert animals.  These are beautifully made flash cards and I really appreciate the thought that went into creating these miniature works of art.  Not only are they beautiful alphabet cards, but they also teach the desert child about the animals in our local surroundings.  As promised, here is Julie’s website for more information as to how to order the flash cards, or where to purchase them:  http://julieoriginals.com/.  The name of the flash cards is Desert Dwellers Flash Cards.  As a note, I have not been paid, or anything of sorts, to endorse Julie.  I simply was taken by the beauty and thought of her creation.

If you read any of my other blog entries, you know by now that simply using flash cards does not necessarily build on meaning or understanding.  So here are a few ideas of how to use Julie’s flash cards, or any other alphabet flash cards to make the learning experience for both you and your child(ren) more meaningful!

Ideas:

1)      Go outside and have your child hold, touch, see, hear, and smell things that start with that particular letter.  Practice pointing out what color(s) is on that particular animal.

2)      Practice and over emphasize the sound of the first letter of that object outside, or inside.  Allow the child to repeat the sound or you repeat the sound for him/her.

3)      For Julie’s cards, go out and see how many of the desert animals you can find outside.  Pull out that particular card and show it to your child(ren).  Practice the sounds that each letter in the name of the animals has.

4)      For an art project, work with your child(ren) to see the different shapes that each animal has on the body.  For example, the ears of a certain animal might look like circles or ovals.  The beak of a bird might look like a triangle.  Either precut those shapes out of construction paper or help your child draw the animal using those shapes.  This in particular, has helped my now 4 year old expand on his drawing by understanding what shapes make up a certain animal, car, or person.

5)      For night time reading, use the cards to read stories and facts about each animal.  Either you or your child(ren) can make up a story about that animal or a group of animals.

Where is this on the Schedule of Activities 0-18 months?

2. Thursday for Shapes
3. Friday for Art
4. Saturday and/or Sunday for Go see it outside and explore

http://www.learningmathwithmom.com/sites/default/files/Schedule%20for%20the%20Week_zerotoeighteenmonths.pdf

Where is this on the Schedule of Activities 18 months-3 years?

1.  Monday for Shapes
2. Monday-Friday for Letters
3. Friday for Art
4. Monday-Friday for Colors
5. Saturday and/or Sunday for Go outside to see it and explore

http://www.learningmathwithmom.com/sites/default/files/ScheduleofActivitiesfor18mosto3yrsofage_0.pdf