Each month, we feature a different guest blogger with valuable insights and information to share about young children and math.
Check back weekly throughout the year so you don’t miss a single guest blog—and join in the conversation by asking questions or leaving comments at the end of each post. We’re excited about this new chapter in the Math at Home project—and we hope you are too!
About our guest blogger Stephanie Forsman
Stephanie Forsman—who wrote many of the math lessons on our Math at Home website—has been teaching in the New York City independent school system for more than 15 years. She is currently a fourth-grade teacher at The Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, where she previously taught at the second- and third-grade levels. She has served as a facilitator for Mathematics in the City, a research and professional development center with a mission to “transform classrooms into communities of mathematicians, where children explore interesting problems and, like mathematicians, engage in crafting solutions, justifications and proofs.” She has presented workshops on Math Puzzles & Logic Games, Technology and Math and Napier’s Bones at national conferences and served as the math subcommittee chair for the accreditation group conducting the New York State Association of Independent Schools’ 10-year school accreditation reviews in 2013. Stephanie earned her B.A. in art history and fine art at Trinity College in Washington, DC, and her M.Ed. in elementary education and museum education at Bank Street College in New York City. She also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, West Africa.
posted by Stephanie Forsman All teachers are inherently hoarders of one kind or another. In the beginning of my teaching career, I would collect everything from eggshell cartons to the Styrofoam trays that are included in meat packaging to spending many of my weekends going garage sale-ing and buying books, games, cooking utensils, stickers… You […]
posted by Stephanie Forsman From the moment school lets out for summer vacation, anxiety about how to avoid the summer slide sets in. Summer slide refers to the loss of skills many children experience during summer vacation. As a parent, the idea of “practicing” skills over the summer was dreadful and daunting. Forcing my children to […]
posted by Stephanie Forsman I love playing games, doing puzzles, and figuring out a good brain teaser. I do the New York Times Crossword Puzzle everyday and while I struggle in the later half of the week, I love learning new information, keeping my brain sharp, and that sense of accomplishment after I have successfully […]
posted by Stephanie Forsman Measurement is an area of my math curriculum that I often feel gets neglected, rushed through, and sometimes, at crunch time, overlooked all together. As a result, I have worked on infusing small aspects of measurement into the routines of the day. From linear measurement to volume, weight and mass to […]
posted by Stephanie Forsman Each morning, my class has a Morning Meeting that consists of a Morning Message, a Greeting, a Share, and an activity. It is a great way to start the day, reinforces our sense of community, and sets the expectations and goals for the day. These meetings last anywhere from 15 to […]
posted by Stephanie Forsman Setting up a nurturing mathematical environment & community is an essential beginning to any school year. When getting to know my students, I like to dig deeper and find out what kind of learners they are, where their strengths lie, and what areas they intend to work on during the upcoming […]
posted by Stephanie Forsman My best memories of my elementary education are all the project-based activities that were embedded into the curriculum. Projects that were based on real-life situations that helped me learn in an innovative and creative fashion. In 4th grade, I made a large-sized teepee (out of my mother’s good linens), decorated it […]
posted by David Banzer When preschool children build in the block area, they typically build with a purpose. They may set out to build something specifically. This may change in the process but there is typically a clear process that occurs. Often, these constructions are representational. They are building something that they have experienced. An […]
posted by David Banzer In this past 2 posts, I’ve discussed math in block play and we’ve explored the building process of a younger child. In this post, we’ll examine spatial awareness and patterns in block play and examine more block photos of preschool children’s constructions. What do we see in the following photo that […]
posted by David Banzer I struggled as a teacher to use three-dimensional shape names. I still struggle with this and may need to look up three-dimensional names. What’s a cuboid and a rectangular prism? Most adults would know cube, sphere, and cylinder, but maybe not much more than that. In block play, some teachers, including […]
posted by David Banzer As a preschool teacher, the block area was my favorite area in my classroom and I spent a good portion of my time working with preschoolers as they built with blocks. Unit blocks specifically have enormous value in their use in the preschool classroom. Once children are familiar with the qualities […]
posted by Debbie Lee So far this month I have written about patterns of objects made both by attribute and positioning as well as patterns of movements. There is still another type of pattern. This type uses sound. The sound can be made by the body – vocalizations, clapping, stomping, etc. – or by instruments. […]
posted by Debbie Lee So far I have written about patterns that involved objects you can pick up and manipulate. Those are usually what we think of first when we think of patterns. Patterns, however, are so much more than that! The old children’s song “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” is a pattern. You and […]
posted by Debbie Lee Last week I wrote about patterns and using everyday household items to make them. Did you think of some items around your house you could use? I also wrote about simple ABAB patterns in a row formed by having two different elements (fork/spoon or red/green) that alternate. There are other ways […]
posted by Debbie Lee From birth, the human brain is wired to recognize patterns. It is how infants are able to figure out the world around them. Because of this, young children can recognize patterns from an early age. We get excited when a child says “foots” even though, in English, that is incorrect. It […]
posted by Diann Gano I am block crazy. I love blocks, particularly wooden blocks. Block play is so important in the early years to help children understand important concepts in measurement, spatial reasoning, comparison, estimation, symmetry, and balance. It fosters creativity and reasoning skills. Our home runneth over with blocks and we very often […]