A few weeks ago I started a first grade block on numbers with Anusha. I was feeling quite unsure about how to approach this without following a syllabus and after some thought decided on approaching the numbers in a similar way as to how we approached the first group of letters of the alphabet, with a story. This time, however, I thought I would be brave and write my own story! We have now completed the numbers from 1-5 and in the following weeks will continue on with 6-10. I also used Eric Fairman’s A Path of Discovery, grade one guide for inspiration.
The story I have written is called The Old Forest, and I have the first five parts to share. I have written them on a separate page, which you can find here https://birdiesintheirnest.wordpress.com/380-2/ or under Stories on my homepage menu, but please be kind, by no means am I an accomplished storyteller! I just keep telling myself that Anusha will appreciate it all the more as it is coming directly from me!
Each day I began Anusha’s lesson with some movement and verses. The verses I used were Here is A Tree, Skip One and Two, I Have Two Feet, and A Sailor Went To Sea from A Path of Discovery. After we had finished we sat down and talked about the last part of the story (except of course the first day), I would let Anusha tell as much of it as she could remember, prompting her when she needed it, and then I read out the verse from that part of the story. I wrote a verse for each part as I thought this would help Anusha remember and internalise each particular number. Then Anusha copied the picture and number that I had prepared into her main lesson book. Here are my and Anusha’s pictures for 1-5:
Part 1 – The Tree
Part 2 – Fairy Wings
Part 3 – The Coming of Three
Part 4 – The Four Winds
Part 5 – The Star
When Anusha finished her picture we got comfy on the lounge and I read her the next part of the story. After this we got up and used our body’s in as many ways as I could think of to make the number. We did things like making the shape of the number with our body parts, drawing the number in the air, on the floor and then walking along it, drawing the number on each other’s backs and the chalkboard, and making the number out of sticks, rocks or playdough.
With some of the numbers I tried to think of games we could play. For number one we played a game where I asked Anusha to bring me one of something and then when we had a collection of objects I asked Anusha to have a good look at them and then blindfolded her and took one object away, she then had to see if she could figure out what one thing was missing. For number two we played memory, finding pairs with cards, and I also blindfolded Anusha, placed one object in her hand to feel, and then another two objects, one the same as the first, and she had to figure out which one was the same by feel. We also played another guessing and listening game, in which I played a few notes on Anusha’s xylophone and she would then tell me how many notes I had played.
I have also been trying to incorporate rhythm into our lessons. To help with this I have been using the following verses from Journey Through Time in Verse and Rhyme (Anonymous):
‘There was a family strange indeed;
Each member had a peculiar speed.
They could walk for half a day
Counting footsteps all the way.
Here they come,
1. I am proper, neat and prim,
My walk is straight, my clothes are trim.
So I count my steps and you will see,
That every one’s the same for me.
2.But my two steps are not the same,
For I must lean upon my cane.
Although I’m bent and weak and old,
I can still count with numbers bold.
I’m a lad, light and gay,
And I’d much rather play.
I can run with my ball,
While the numbers I do call.
My step is strong,
I’ll not go wrong.
With all my might,
I’ll guard what’s right.
I’ll always know,
How far to go.
Like a mouse I go,
Fearfully on tip-toe.
Looking to the left,
Looking to the right,
Watching to and fro,
Danger’s not in sight.
Lightly I arrive,
I am number five.
With these verses we have been adding movements as I say them, and accentuating the words in italics. When we count at the end we have been doing actions such as, tip-toeing and then stamping on the number and it’s multiples (for example for the number 2 we would stamp on 2,4,6,8,10,12), and we have also been walking and making the beat of the numbers with different instruments, like a drum.
For number two I also read a Grimms story at bedtime called The Two Brothers, which is a lengthy but great tale.