Despite my current experiment of exploring ways to snuggle up with technology with my son, I must disclose that my true love is math. And though I am finding ways to use technology to open rich conversations in my home, finding ways to talk math with my kids comes a lot more naturally to me.
So I was thrilled when I reconnected recently with Christopher Danielson who is not only a fabulous math teacher, but like me, is also a lover of talking math with his own kids and blogging about it. His original blog, Overthinking My Teaching, is a gem which merges his thinking about Common Core Mathematics with riveting tales of his own two children’s experiences with math. More recently, he started a blog Talking Math With your Kids which is…well, just that. He makes these gorgeous tools for exploring patterns and tessellations with your kids that you really should buy. You can find them all by clicking here, but don’t go straight to the store. Read his blogs as they are fabulous.
Since my last post discussed tracking my husband’s flight to San Diego while sitting at the dinner table (and how the next thing I knew, my toddler had climbed out of his high chair and onto the dinner table to grab the laptop), I thought I’d share how the tiles I purchased created a totally new and improved dinner vibe. We really did make these designs while noshing on pesto. (And yes, the Common Core Math for Parents is another Gem by Christopher Danielson)
Honestly, we didn’t really talk about anything. We just created. Dinner was virtually silent. It was magical. And the turtle tiles have been on the kitchen table for a week now. Egan refuses to let me clean them up. They’re so soothing, in every way. It makes me think about how as parents we’re so often searching for just the right App. My theory is that we want educational things that our kids can do independently so that when we’re cooking, reading the newspaper, feeling tired, chasing younger siblings, etc., we feel relieved that though our kids may be in front of a screen, they are learning something new. And while I understand the desire for the “App for it,” may the ‘it’ be Chess, an independent version of Bedtime Math , Checkers, crossword puzzles, etc, we should be searching for ways to fulfill this desire for independent exploration and problem solving WITHOUT technology. That’s why I love Christopher Danielson’s desire to make physical things that promote independent exploration and mathematical reasoning, without any “App for it.” And while he may eventually “App-ize” these ideas, they’re still so deliciously appetizing now.
But it certainly hasn’t been just Egan who has loved them, or the quiet moment of exploration…