Learning Stories and Children's Mathematics

Article excerpt

This column presents and summarizes recent resources that help teachers address early childhood math, using stories.


SHOWCASING MATHEMATICS FOR THE YOUNG CHILD: Activities for Three-, Four-, and Five-Year-Olds. Juanita V. Copley, Ed. 2004. 192 pp. (Available from: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Reston, VA 20191; 703-620-9840.) This book illustrates activities that promote early mathematics development for children ages 3 to 5 and "showcases" mathematics for the young child. The content areas are connected by a continuing story, "Hanny the Honey Bear Discovers the World of Mathematics in the Big Zoo."

LITTLE KIDS--POWERFUL PROBLEM SOLVERS: Math Stories From a Kindergarten Classroom. Angela Giglio Andrews & Paul R. Trafton. 2002. 128 pp. (Available from: Heinemann, 88 Post Road West, P.O. Box 5007, Westport, CT 06881; 800-793-2154.) Each of the stories in this collection includes a suggestion for a classroom lesson. Among the themes recurring throughout the stories is the ability of even very young children to persist until they have resolved problems. A section at the end of each story focuses on the math involved and the mathematical reasoning of children.

MISSION MATHEMATICS II: Prekindergarten-Grade 2 (with CD-ROM). Ellen Mary Hynes, Ed., & Catherine Blair, Ed. 2005. 196 pp. (Available from: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Reston, VA 20191; 703-620-9840.) Mission Mathematics translates the NASA experience into language and experiences appropriate for young learners and provides teachers with mathematics activities that complement many of the available NASA resources for students and educators.

Journal Articles

STORYTELLING SAGAS: An Effective Medium for Teaching Early Childhood Mathematics. Beth Casey, Joanne E. Kersh, & Jessica Mercer Young. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Vol. 19, No. 1 (2004): 167-172. This article describes a program that teaches early childhood mathematics (Pre-K to Grade 2) through a series of six problem-solving adventure stories. The mathematics concepts are taught to the children through the medium of oral storytelling sagas in an integrated approach that addresses language arts as well as early childhood mathematics competencies. This series is based on National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Principles and Standards for School Mathematics 2000, recommending a stronger emphasis on geometry, measurement, pre-algebra, and graphing skills.

STORYTELLING: Building a Mathematics Curriculum From the Culture of the Child. Susan Butterworth & Ana Maria Lo Cicero. Teaching Children Mathematics, Vol. 7, No. 7 (March 2001): 396-399. This article describes an approach that uses children's own stories as a source for teaching and learning mathematics while developing language and cultural awareness.

CHILDREN'S MATHEMATICAL NARRATIVES AS LEARNING STORIES. Leone Burton. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, Vol. 10, No. 2 (2002): 5-18. This paper refers to children as natural storytellers who practice storytelling in every aspect of their learning, including mathematics. A narrative perspective on mathematics, consistent with approaches to the learning of other disciplines, enables learners to inhabit and make sense of the mathematical world that they are entering. A model of a supportive classroom emphasizing discourse, agency, and authorship through participatory and reflective practices is described. Narratives from 5-year-olds show how they explore authoring, sense-making, and collaborating, and how they use nonverbal narratives to inform others.

READING IN THE MATH CLASS: Selecting and Using Picture Books for Math Investigations. Debra H. Thatcher. Young Children, Vol. 56, No. 4 (July 2001): 20-26. This article suggests that teachers use children's literature to stimulate the learning of mathematical concepts. Criteria are identified for selecting children's books for math class. …