## SchoolFamily Voices

Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.
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Connecting math to everyday life makes math real and purposeful for your child. Here are 3 easy activities to help your young child improve their math skills in the New Year:

• Make math “tasty.” Cook a simple recipe together. Let him measure small amounts of ingredients, or count eggs. Talk about the degrees of heat on the oven dial, and how to use the timer. Or, make simple sandwiches for lunch and cut into triangles, rectangles, or squares. Make a pizza and discuss how to divide it equally with your family. When reheating in the microwave have him countdown with the timer for practice counting backwards.
• Toss some dice! With a very young child use one die. Roll and count the dots for one-to-one correspondence. This means correctly counting objects (the dots) to represent a numeral. Or, have him roll dice and choose the die that shows more (or less.)  For a kindergarten or 1st grader use dice for addition and subtraction. To practice addition, have him roll the dice and add the dots. For subtraction she can roll the dice, find the total, and then take one die away to see the remainder.
• Play some simple card games with your child. Games such as, “Concentration,” “Go Fish,” “Crazy Eights,” “War,” etc., are great ways to refine math skills. The cards visually reinforce numerals and their value. These games promote number recognition, number value, more than, less than, and help her increase number fluency.

For more suggestions and directions, simply Google “Easy card games for kids.”

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#2 Bon Crowder 2012-01-12 17:00
Great ideas, Connie.

Parents can also look around for math that happens naturally - like setting the alarm clock (subtract the amount of time it takes to get ready from the time you want to leave).

When parents identify these places and then say something like, "You know, that's math," kids will begin to see that math is a normal thing that happens everyday.

When something is normal, it's familiar. When it's familiar, they're comfortable. When they're comfortable - they do better in math class!

Keep writing great stuff, Connie!

Bon Crowder
#1 educator 2012-01-08 11:30
I like your ideas because young children learn best while at play or real life experiences.

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