Introducing the Four Processes

A few weeks ago I finished doing a maths block with Anusha on the four processes. We had touched on it at the end of last year when we did some very introductory work with maths gnomes, but as we moved on this year I wanted to use some ideas out of the Christopherus 2nd grade maths book that I previously used with Elki, so we met some friends of the maths gnomes that live in the forest, the Sugar gliders.
In the Christopherus guide the four animals are squirrels but I wanted to change the story to incorporate a Tasmanian animal. I chose Sugar gliders as they still live in trees and are extremely cute (!), and kept the wise old owl as their mentor. I then altered the story to suit Sugar gliders, and as they don’t store nuts like squirrels, used leaves as the manipulatives.
Before we started this though, I began the maths block by teaching Anusha the Roman numerals up to twelve, using a simple story about a sheep herder and some sticks from Christopherus. She then wrote them in her main lesson book.

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I also read ‘The family that became one person’, a story for number 8, and completed the lesson ‘The Richest Number’, from the second grade chapter of Dorothy Harrer’s Maths Lessons for Elementary Grades.

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Anusha copied this off the blackboard into her main lesson book, the richest number being 12 as it has the most divisors.

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She then wrote and drew this for the second part of the lesson The Richest Number. We used shells as the manipulatives to represent the different ways of making 12.
Then I introduced the Sugar Gliders. My story went something like this,

Once upon a time there were four Sugar Gliders who lived in the Tasmanian forest. They were very busy as they had just left home and their mother, and were embarking on their own journeys into the big wide world. The Sugar Gliders had a mentor, the wise old owl to help them with their tasks until they were able to live all by themselves. One of their first tasks was to collect leaves to make their nests from. The wise old owl gave each of the four Sugar Gliders a name and a symbol; Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division, and showed them each her special skill and how it would help them to count and collect leaves.
The Sugar Gliders were to make their nests in the hollows of four old Gum trees in the middle of an ancient forest. They set about collecting leaves, gliding from tree to tree, using the spcial skills the owl had bestowed upon them.’

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I drew the Sugar Gliders and the wise old owl on the blackboard,

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and Anusha copied it into her main lesson book. She really enjoyed drawing the Sugar Gliders and giving them their own personalities.
Following this Anusha worked on simple maths problems that I wrote on the board and she solved using gum leaves. She then wrote a couple examples for each process onto her picture next to the appropriate Sugar Glider.

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We continued to work with the gum leaves in lessons that followed whilst also completing other lessons from Dorothy Harrer’s book, including Big Smoke and Little Flame and The Giant Who Counted with His Feet.

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Anusha enjoyed the lesson of Big smoke and little flame (we used walnuts as the manipulatives for this lesson) but was not keen at all on the giant who counted with his feet, which involved answering the math problems by stepping out the answer. She still wanted to draw a picture though, and asked me to get out an encyclopedia so she could better draw the squirrel and chipmunk from big smoke and little flame.
We also spent some time using number ladders with addition. At first Anusha balked at this, not expecting to be able to do it, but once I showed her how and encouraged her, she had a go and found it easy, figuring out the pattern.

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Each day we began the lessons with verses and movement. I used bean bag games and verses from Christopherus, and I introduced Anusha to the 2x tables, and later the 10x tables. We practised these with movement incorporating clapping, tiptoeing and stamping, and throwing a beanie bear whilst calling out the tables.
And that’s about where we left it, Anusha having had enough and very ready to move on to a more artistic block. Next maths block we’ll continue with the four processes and the next story of our little friends the Sugar Gliders.

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