Creative Strategies Literacy Institute

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Early Childhood Mathematics

Are these the Same or Different? Why?
Exploring the Language of Attributes
3-hour workshop

Young children are eager to describe and compare objects in the world around them, and quickly learn to sort and classify objects by attribute.

In this workshop, participants first learn to lead the movement activity, “Someone’s in the Middle,” in which children create, match, and contrast body shapes. Next, educators dig deep into the language of attributes. We explore sentence stems that guide children to use accurate and complete “same” and “different” describing sentences. Students acquire this language through arts integrated learning, and then easily transfer their language skills to describe shape, color, and other manipulatives. Finally, participants practice the creative drama activity, “Imaginary Box,” to teach sorting by complex attributes.

Are these the Same or Different? Why?

Exploring the Language of Attributes

3-hour workshop


Young children are eager to describe and compare objects in the world around them, and quickly learn to sort and classify objects by attribute.


In this workshop, participants first learn to lead the movement activity, “Someone’s in the Middle,” in which children create, match, and contrast body shapes. Next, educators dig deep into the language of attributes. We explore sentence stems that guide children to use accurate and complete “same” and “different” describing sentences. Students acquire this language through arts integrated learning, and then easily transfer their language skills to describe shape, color, and other manipulatives. Finally, participants practice the creative drama activity, “Imaginary Box,” to teach sorting by complex attributes.

Why integrate the arts with the teaching of mathematics?
Young children are natural mathematical thinkers. They easily observe, “Who has more cookies,” “Why these blocks are grouped together,” and “Whose tower is tallest.” But young children do not learn by sitting and listening. Movement, music, and dramatic pretending are the natural languages of learning for the young child. Powerful learning happens when educators teach mathematics through the arts, embracing the child’s world of music, drama, and creative movement. 

Each workshop listed below comes with a handout that includes:

✓ precise steps for leading each workshop activity.
✓ the early childhood Math and Arts objectives targeted in each activity.
✓ what to watch for in student engagement.
✓ how to assess student understanding.

Why integrate the arts with the teaching of mathematics?


Young children are natural mathematical thinkers. They easily observe, “Who has more cookies,” “Why these blocks are grouped together,” and “Whose tower is tallest.” But young children do not learn by sitting and listening. Movement, music, and dramatic pretending are the natural languages of learning for the young child. Powerful learning happens when educators teach mathematics through the arts, embracing the child’s world of music, drama, and creative movement.


Each workshop listed below comes with a handout that includes:


precise steps for leading each workshop activity.

the early childhood Math and Arts objectives targeted in each activity.

what to watch for in student engagement.

how to assess student understanding.

Moving Through Math Workshops for Pre-School and Kindergarten Teachers

Imaginary Journeys Through Movement and Sound
3- or 6-hour workshop

When we go on Imaginary Journeys, we enter the world of make believe. We see things, hear things, and pretend to be other people, plants, and animals. In this workshop, early childhood educators learn to lead Imaginary Journeys – structured learning experiences that teach children how to use their imaginations, how to listen, how to visualize, and to move creatively.

These journeys use classroom instruments (such as a shaker, triangle, or hand drum) and rhythmic movement to lay the foundation for teaching sequencing, number sense, spatial directions, opposites, and other vocabulary and concepts from reading and math. After taking Imaginary Journeys, children share evidence of their learning through drawing story maps and retelling their experiences.
Adventures in Science, Music, and Movement:
Exploring early childhood science through the arts!
2-part workshop

Imaginary Journeys combine music, storytelling, and creative movement as a structure for teaching early childhood science. Young learners document their experiences and their science learning through the creation of story maps.

In the first workshop session, participants begin by establishing rules for creative movement in the Early Childhood classroom. Teachers then explore a science Imaginary Journey that teaches the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly. In the second workshop session, participants learn to lead two more imaginary journeys to teach the plant cycle and the water cycle.

Workshop participants receive a copy of Caterpillar to Butterfly: Adventures in Science, Music and Dance. This DVD has received numerous awards and recognition, including NSTA Recommends from the National Science Teachers Association and DVD of the Year from Creative Child Magazine.

Imaginary Journeys Through Movement and Sound

3- or 6-hour workshop


When we go on Imaginary Journeys, we enter the world of make believe. We see things, hear things, and pretend to be other people, plants, and animals. In this workshop, early childhood educators learn to lead Imaginary Journeys – structured learning experiences that teach children how to use their imaginations, how to listen, how to visualize, and to move creatively.


These journeys use classroom instruments (such as a shaker, triangle, or hand drum) and rhythmic movement to lay the foundation for teaching sequencing, number sense, spatial directions, opposites, and other vocabulary and concepts from reading and math. After taking Imaginary Journeys, children share evidence of their learning through drawing story maps and retelling their experiences.


Adventures in Science, Music, and Movement:

Exploring early childhood science through the arts!

2-part workshop


Imaginary Journeys combine music, storytelling, and creative movement as a structure for teaching early childhood science. Young learners document their experiences and their science learning through the creation of story maps.


In the first workshop session, participants begin by establishing rules for creative movement in the Early Childhood classroom. Teachers then explore a science Imaginary Journey that teaches the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly. In the second workshop session, participants learn to lead two more imaginary journeys to teach the plant cycle and the water cycle.


Workshop participants receive a copy of Caterpillar to Butterfly: Adventures in Science, Music and Dance. This DVD has received numerous awards and recognition, including NSTA Recommends from the National Science Teachers Association and DVD of the Year from Creative Child Magazine.

Chant, Move, and Count!
One-to-one correspondence, counting, cardinality, and conservation
3- or 6-hour workshop

Moving to a steady beat and counting with one-to-one correspondence are key early childhood math and motor skills. Young children master these skills best through structured, imaginative play.

In this workshop, participants first learn to lead songs that introduce steady beat and one-to-one correspondence. Next, we unpack step-by-step rhythmic movement lessons that firmly establish counting skills. Then, we explore Imaginary Journeys, which encourage students to visualize, move creatively, and count inside imaginary worlds. You’ll learn to create your own Imaginary Journeys. Back in the classroom, you’ll invite your children to pretend, move, and count inside these imaginary worlds with you!

Participants receive Rhythm & Movement cards and the award-winning children’s book, Meadow Count.

Chant, Move, and Count!

One-to-one correspondence, counting, cardinality, and conservation

3- or 6-hour workshop


Moving to a steady beat and counting with one-to-one correspondence are key early childhood math and motor skills. Young children master these skills best through structured, imaginative play.


In this workshop, participants first learn to lead songs that introduce steady beat and one-to-one correspondence. Next, we unpack step-by-step rhythmic movement lessons that firmly establish counting skills. Then, we explore Imaginary Journeys, which encourage students to visualize, move creatively, and count inside imaginary worlds. You’ll learn to create your own Imaginary Journeys. Back in the classroom, you’ll invite your children to pretend, move, and count inside these imaginary worlds with you!


Participants receive Rhythm & Movement cards and the award-winning children’s book, Meadow Count.

Up, Down, In and Out
Spatial Relationships and Positional Language
3-hour workshop

Young children need positional language to explain what they see. A positional term helps us describe how shapes are put together to build a composite shape. We use positional words to explain how the days of the week are organized on a chart or calendar. And this language is essential for describing how data is shown on a simple graph.

In this workshop, educators first learn to lead movement songs and Homer and Fluffy finger stories, which teach on/off; above/below; up high/down low; over/under; in front of/behind; near/far; beside/between; and inside/outside/around. Next, we explore sentence stems that guide children to use accurate and complete positional describing sentences. Finally, we discover how to help students collaborate in small groups and create frozen body shapes that embody their positional describing sentences.

Up, Down, In and Out

Spatial Relationships and Positional Language

3-hour workshop


Young children need positional language to explain what they see. A positional term helps us describe how shapes are put together to build a composite shape. We use positional words to explain how the days of the week are organized on a chart or calendar. And this language is essential for describing how data is shown on a simple graph.


In this workshop, educators first learn to lead movement songs and Homer and Fluffy finger stories, which teach on/off; above/below; up high/down low; over/under; in front of/behind; near/far; beside/between; and inside/outside/around. Next, we explore sentence stems that guide children to use accurate and complete positional describing sentences. Finally, we discover how to help students collaborate in small groups and create frozen body shapes that embody their positional describing sentences.

Break It Down! with Symbols
3-hour workshop

No more rote memorizing alphabet letters! Instead, let’s teach children to think and break things down. First, each letter is composed of a specific number of lines, and those lines are either straight or curved. Second, each straight or curved line has its own orientation in space. And third, lines connect to each other in specific spatial relationships. Using mathematical thinking, we can deconstruct each letter symbol into specific part-to-whole relationships.

In this workshop, discover how children show bodylines and spatial relationships through creative movement. Learn how to help students collaborate with partners and in small groups to compose symbols. And engage each child’s mathematical, kinesthetic, and creative intelligences when you lead the movement story, Mr. Line Meets Mrs. Curvy!

Break It Down! with Symbols

3-hour workshop


No more rote memorizing alphabet letters! Instead, let’s teach children to think and break things down. First, each letter is composed of a specific number of lines, and those lines are either straight or curved. Second, each straight or curved line has its own orientation in space. And third, lines connect to each other in specific spatial relationships. Using mathematical thinking, we can deconstruct each letter symbol into specific part-to-whole relationships.


In this workshop, discover how children show bodylines and spatial relationships through creative movement. Learn how to help students collaborate with partners and in small groups to compose symbols. And engage each child’s mathematical, kinesthetic, and creative intelligences when you lead the movement story, Mr. Line Meets Mrs. Curvy!

Meet the Shape Family
3- or 6-hour workshop

Many young children only learn to recognize shapes in isolation, and in base orientation. When shapes are combined, flipped, or rotated, many children can no longer recognize them! However, when young students learn to construct and manipulate shapes with their bodies, their spatial reasoning skills are dramatically enhanced. Connecting creative movement to visual understanding adds a powerful new dimension to the study of geometry.
 
In this workshop, teachers learn to lead the creative movement story, Meet the Shape Family. This story takes young children on a step-by-step journey through lines, angles, shapes, shape transformations, composite shapes, and 3-dimensional shapes. During this joyful experience, children move, create, and collaborate with partners and in small groups. Children extend their thinking when they identify and draw complex shapes in the world around them.

Meet the Shape Family

3- or 6-hour workshop


Many young children only learn to recognize shapes in isolation, and in base orientation. When shapes are combined, flipped, or rotated, many children can no longer recognize them! However, when young students learn to construct and manipulate shapes with their bodies, their spatial reasoning skills are dramatically enhanced. Connecting creative movement to visual understanding adds a powerful new dimension to the study of geometry.

 

In this workshop, teachers learn to lead the creative movement story, Meet the Shape Family. This story takes young children on a step-by-step journey through lines, angles, shapes, shape transformations, composite shapes, and 3-dimensional shapes. During this joyful experience, children move, create, and collaborate with partners and in small groups. Children extend their thinking when they identify and draw complex shapes in the world around them.

Break It Down! with Repeating Patterns
3-hour workshop

We frequently see young children tapping color blocks and chanting, “Blue, red, blue, red…” But when we ask our children to explain why this is a pattern, many only answer, “Because it’s blue, red, blue, red…”

In this workshop, educators first discover how to break patterns down into attribute, grouping, number, and order concepts that young children can master. Then, teachers learn to use Rhythm & Movement cards that help young children see, hear, and feel how pattern units are the building blocks of repeating patterns. Finally, we explore creative movement experiences that help children create and build their own dance patterns.

Participants receive Rhythm & Movement cards and the award-winning children’s book, Clap, Drum, and Shake It!

Break It Down! with Repeating Patterns

3-hour workshop


We frequently see young children tapping color blocks and chanting, “Blue, red, blue, red…” But when we ask our children to explain why this is a pattern, many only answer, “Because it’s blue, red, blue, red…”


In this workshop, educators first discover how to break patterns down into attribute, grouping, number, and order concepts that young children can master. Then, teachers learn to use Rhythm & Movement cards that help young children see, hear, and feel how pattern units are the building blocks of repeating patterns. Finally, we explore creative movement experiences that help children create and build their own dance patterns.


Participants receive Rhythm & Movement cards and the award-winning children’s book, Clap, Drum, and Shake It!

Moving Through Math Toy Stories
3-hour workshop includes any two of the stories listed below

Early childhood educators learn to tell stories that use small toys, chants, gestures, and songs to teach math concepts. Teachers introduce these stories in the classroom, but young children quickly learn how to position the toys and retell these engaging stories themselves. After storytelling, students draw story maps to show their understanding of the math concepts embedded in each story.

Gotta Getta Bear!
Will Margarita ever find a bear? This story moves forward and backward as fearless Margarita never gives up in her search. And when we story map the sequence of events in Margarita’s story, we see how symmetry is created when each sequence is paired with its reverse.

Don’t Forget the Milk!
Will Davon ever remember to pick up the milk from the grocer? This story moves forward and backward when imaginative Davon gets distracted and forgets the milk money. As we story map the sequence of events in Davon’s day, we see how numbers and quantities increase and decrease when we count forward and backward.

Bunny Jump Day
Will today be a Number 1 Day? Or will it be a number 4 day? You can figure this out by listening to Miss Bunny snore and count in her sleep! And when she wakes up, get ready to spend a busy day moving and counting with her. When we story map Miss Bunny’s day, we’ll see four different representations of number -- on her bunny jump number line, with flower stems (tally marks), in an organized row of carrots growing in her garden, and in a scattered group of chicks in the chicken pen!

Mama Scatterbird
Mama Scatterbird is a first-time mother and doesn’t know how to prepare for her new babies! She has five eggs in her nest, but each time she flies off to collect worms, one chick hatches. When we story map the sequence of events in the nest, we see conservation of the number 5, but each picture shows a different combination of eggs and chicks. 

Lucky Leprechaun
How lucky will our leprechaun be today? Will his pots of gold increase by one coin? By ten coins? Will he be able to predict how many coins will be in the last pot at the end of the rainbow? When we story map Lucky Leprechaun’s Day, we discover how to describe, extend, and explain the rules for growing patterns.

One More for Lunch
Miss Bunny bakes delicious carrot muffins, and all her friends can smell them. One by one, they knock on her door and invite themselves in for lunch. Miss Bunny is gracious, and goes into the kitchen to get one more muffin. But as soon as she comes back, there’s another knock at the door! When we story map, we see how the number of guests is always one more than the number of muffins!

The 3 Billy Goats Gruff: A Story in Five Parts
We all know about the small, medium-sized, and large goats that trip-trap across the troll’s bridge. But what about the short, medium-length, and long snakes that slither over the bridge? Or the short, medium-height, and tall giraffes that clip-clop over the bridge? And why is this troll so hungry? Children learn to describe and draw the attributes of size, length, height, weight, and thickness in this 5-part story extravaganza!

Moving Through Math Toy Stories

3-hour workshop includes any two of the stories listed below


Early childhood educators learn to tell stories that use small toys, chants, gestures, and songs to teach math concepts. Teachers introduce these stories in the classroom, but young children quickly learn how to position the toys and retell these engaging stories themselves. After storytelling, students draw story maps to show their understanding of the math concepts embedded in each story.


Gotta Getta Bear!

Will Margarita ever find a bear? This story moves forward and backward as fearless Margarita never gives up in her search. And when we story map the sequence of events in Margarita’s story, we see how symmetry is created when each sequence is paired with its reverse.


Don’t Forget the Milk!

Will Davon ever remember to pick up the milk from the grocer? This story moves forward and backward when imaginative Davon gets distracted and forgets the milk money. As we story map the sequence of events in Davon’s day, we see how numbers and quantities increase and decrease when we count forward and backward.


Bunny Jump Day

Will today be a Number 1 Day? Or will it be a number 4 day? You can figure this out by listening to Miss Bunny snore and count in her sleep! And when she wakes up, get ready to spend a busy day moving and counting with her. When we story map Miss Bunny’s day, we’ll see four different representations of number -- on her bunny jump number line, with flower stems (tally marks), in an organized row of carrots growing in her garden, and in a scattered group of chicks in the chicken pen!


Mama Scatterbird

Mama Scatterbird is a first-time mother and doesn’t know how to prepare for her new babies! She has five eggs in her nest, but each time she flies off to collect worms, one chick hatches. When we story map the sequence of events in the nest, we see conservation of the number 5, but each picture shows a different combination of eggs and chicks.


Lucky Leprechaun

How lucky will our leprechaun be today? Will his pots of gold increase by one coin? By ten coins? Will he be able to predict how many coins will be in the last pot at the end of the rainbow? When we story map Lucky Leprechaun’s Day, we discover how to describe, extend, and explain the rules for growing patterns.


One More for Lunch

Miss Bunny bakes delicious carrot muffins, and all her friends can smell them. One by one, they knock on her door and invite themselves in for lunch. Miss Bunny is gracious, and goes into the kitchen to get one more muffin. But as soon as she comes back, there’s another knock at the door! When we story map, we see how the number of guests is always one more than the number of muffins!


The 3 Billy Goats Gruff: A Story in Five Parts

We all know about the small, medium-sized, and large goats that trip-trap across the troll’s bridge. But what about the short, medium-length, and long snakes that slither over the bridge? Or the short, medium-height, and tall giraffes that clip-clop over the bridge? And why is this troll so hungry? Children learn to describe and draw the attributes of size, length, height, weight, and thickness in this 5-part story extravaganza!

Grouping Games for Teaching the Language of Mathematics
Putting together and breaking apart groups
3-hour workshop

During Grouping Games, young children move around the room, create frozen body shapes, and work in groups to represent core concepts in mathematics. After moving, students use sentence stems to help them learn accurate and complete mathematical language. Students acquire this language through arts integrated learning, and then easily transfer their language skills to drawing pictures and working with manipulatives.

In this workshop, you’ll learn to facilitate five Grouping Games that teach:

 group size
 number comparisons (equal, more than, less than)
 counting on (counting forward)
 part-to-whole relationships within a group
 simple addition

Grouping Games for Teaching the Language of Mathematics

Putting together and breaking apart groups

3-hour workshop


During Grouping Games, young children move around the room, create frozen body shapes, and work in groups to represent core concepts in mathematics. After moving, students use sentence stems to help them learn accurate and complete mathematical language. Students acquire this language through arts integrated learning, and then easily transfer their language skills to drawing pictures and working with manipulatives.


In this workshop, you’ll learn to facilitate five Grouping Games that teach:


  1. group size

  2. number comparisons (equal, more than, less than)

  3. counting on (counting forward)

  4. part-to-whole relationships within a group

  5. simple addition