Saturday, 28 April 2012

Don’t get me started…

My two year old, Little Angel, can count to ten, well, with a little help! She skips number one probably because we are always starting her off by saying, “How many? Lets count… one..” So in our house, its two, two, three, two, sic, seve, eight, nigh, ten. One of our favourite apps at the Little Monkey Apps house is Counting Bear by GrassHopper Apps What a great way to get young children to count objects with one to one correspondence! 

There are so many great early learning and numeracy products out there and for simple addition and subtraction but not too much for the in-between stages. After showing off my Little Angel’s talents to a colleague she expressed her experience that her students hadn’t had enough exposed to ten frames. They also needed exposure to subitising, they didn’t know their friends of ten (2+8, 3+7, 4+6 1+9). 

At Little Monkey Apps, we never make something that already exists and meets the standard that we would use in our own classrooms. After having a look at the App store together, I noticed my colleague was right!  Ten frames were missing (although now there are some!) or were simply flash cards or question and answer, multiple choice. 

Professionally, it is pedagogy, and to steal a Montessori phrase the “prepared environment” that I am interested in, thus most of our Apps will have a teaching module. When it comes to it (and I will harp on about this) it is the teacher, tutor or peer combined with a learning experience that allows the child to come to the “ah ha” moment! 

Please don’t think that because you’ve got iPads that you MUST use them for everything!  Apps are only ONE way of presenting material. Use blocks, counters, real life experiences, for goodness sake! (If you MUST use the iPads every lesson, take a photo of a physical experience or activity your class has completed!) It is through the presentation of the same concept multiple ways that will allow more students to reach this “ah ha” moment and that is why Friends of Ten is useful.  

Back to my original story though, we have stopped prompting Little Angel by saying “One” now. She is like many two years olds when it comes to learning new things and has just started to say “No Mama…I do!” I’m sure what she is trying to say is “Don’t get me started, I can figure this out for myself!” So instead we ask “How many are there? What number do we start with?”

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