Daniela Giralt at Gunsaulus Elementary, a 2010-11 Early Math Collaborative participant, used the book Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd to help her preschoolers explore the Big Ideas of counting. This imaginative book is just one of many preschool story books that can help classes bring out the math ideas already there.
First in the whole group, children added dots to a large dog as Ms. Giralt read the story. During the reading, she stopped to ask, “How many stains do you see now? How many stains do you think there will be if we add one more? How many stains are left after the dog takes a bath?” Later in small groups, children used a die to determine how many “stains” their dog picture would receive; they rolled the die once for each color and then counted all the dots the dog had at the end. Some children also wrote a numeral to represent the total.
“This is the third year we have done the small group part of this activity since Dog’s Colorful Day is part of our curriculum and our students like it,” Ms Giralt reflected. “This year I designed the large group activity and it was a success. Students seemed eager to participate as actors and audience. They were physically and intellectually involved in representing the story while learning math concepts and vocabulary. They were able to experience math in a colorful and meaningful way that presumably will draw them again to this subject in the future.”