As I’m in schools throughout Michigan and the United States, every place I go has a different way of thinking about math and different levels of rigor and expectation.
Last week I was in New Orleans working with Lafourche Parish preschool teachers. The goal of the day was numeracy, and one of the highlights was the afternoon make-and-take session, where we had five stations for teachers to visit.
I love listening to kids and their math reasoning when you give them an opportunity to tell you how they think! They have masterful minds. I love the ways they come up with to tell you how their brain is thinking, and even if they aren’t sure how their brain is thinking, they tell you in their cute five-year-old way!
Kids can look at a digit and recognize it as an 8, but they often don’t understand what’s behind the digit. Yes, the symbol means 8, but 8 could be 4 and 4, or 5 and 3, or 6 and 2. In some countries, they teach letters last and the sounds first. If the student doesn’t know what sound the K makes, there’s no point in looking at the symbol and knowing its name. The same is true of math.