## 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.

# Make Geometry a Part of Everyday Life

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Geometric shapes are part of our everyday environment. Recognizing, understanding, and comparing different shapes are critical in advancing mathematical skills. These skills are first introduced in kindergarten and follow math curricula through high school. Here are some simple and fun activities to help your young student acquire these important skills, while providing visual and hands-on reinforcement.

• Look for geometric shapes in your home and in the real world. On a rainy day, go on a “shape hunt” in your home. Look for circles, rectangles, squares, and triangles.
• When riding in the car, biking, or walking together look for shapes in the real world such as street signs, construction cones, wheels, etc.

Let your child make two-dimensional shapes using straws and twist-ties that come in a pack with plastic bags. Use the kind of twist-ties that have a small wire piece covered in paper or plastic, and easily bend. Here’s how:

• To make a triangle, for example, she’ll need three straws and three twist-ties. In one end of a straw, put the twist-tie about halfway in and fold the other half into another straw to make the top point of a triangle. Continue until all three straws and ties are connected to form the triangle. Help her make the first shape, if necessary.
• For a square, use four of the same size straws and four twist-ties to connect the four angles. Once a square is formed it can also be bent or angled to show a diamond shape.
• For a rectangle, use three straws and four ties. Cut one straw in half to form the two shorter sides of a rectangle and connect with the ties.
• To make a circle, use only a few twist-ties. Twist them together at the ends to make a line, then form into a circle and connect the last two ends. The size of the circle depends on the number of twist-ties used.

Connecting math skills to real world objects helps a young student understand that math is part of everyday life and is all around us!

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