Math, math, math - boring right? Well I used to think so! I liked math, but never loved it. It was like a vegetable, a necessary part of any academic diet. In college, when I tried to get creative with math lessons, my professor would say, "That's interesting, Kim, now just mimic the existing lesson plans.". I felt discouraged. I was surprised at how many of my fellow students didn't understand the math we were learning to teach. They were learning how to multiply fractions instead of learning how to TEACH CHILDREN how to multiply fractions. They never developed a deep understanding of the basic concepts.
You could imagine my delight when I was first introduced to the concept of a math gnome in a Waldorf school. It felt so right and made so much sense. I was upset that I was not introduced to math this way, I wanted ALL children to be exposed to math in this manner! I couldn't sleep until I started writing these books. They instinctively came to life right in front of me. I believe that it is more fun to see a character and immediately know how to play with the numbers. It's also more pleasant to have those concepts introduced by rhyme. It makes it easier to guess the answers and makes everyone feel smarter and less intimidated!
In Arithmetic Village, we've also included added color association, so when you see yellow, you know you are going to play with Polly Plus, blue means a play-date with Linus, Tina is red and purple is King David Divide (and that always means sharing). These little clues give children more confidence when trying new math activities. Because that's what math is, and activity, an action. So let's encourage children to be the math, not just sit at a desk or at a computer. Those activities help as well, but math should start as a meaningful action in order to solidify the concepts before they become abstract numbers on a chalk board, paper or computer.
So, let's go play outside with treasure chests. jewels and friends. Now that is meaningful math!