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May 19, 2021 | Kristen Jordan
After telling number stories verbally for many days and using glass beads to represent the subject of the stories, children in the Trees Classroom have been recording their number stories in the form of books!
First, children first must decide what they want their story to be about. Snails? Crackers? Kids?
Then, they begin the process of telling the story.
They must decide how many objects the story starts with.
“There were 10 fish in my grandmother’s pond.”
They use beads and a “10 frame” (10 boxes) to count out the number of objects. Having something concrete to move and count helps children to think more concretely about the numbers.
The next decision to make: Is the number of objects going to get bigger or smaller? And what is the narrative that will cause that to happen?
“2 fish jumped out.”
Finally, they must ask the question, “HOW MANY ARE THERE ALL TOGETHER?”
“8 fish were left in the pond.”
Children use the beads to help represent the story with real objects and then they begin drawing pictures to show each part of the story. In the process of recording these tales in pictures, children get experience counting and writing numbers. They think about how amounts might change. They create a narrative complete with characters, setting, plot, sometimes a problem and solution, title, author, and sometimes letters. It’s literacy and math work all combined in one!
We sometimes tell number stories during snack.
“I had 5 goldfish. My friend had 5 goldfish. How many were there all together? We ate 5. How many were left?”
This work is the beginning of mathematical operations and expressions; putting numbers together or taking numbers away to result in a different number (most of the time). Children are using addition and subtraction as they tell their number stories. Combining or taking away amounts is a practice and a concept that we use all the time in our everyday lives.
I encourage you at home to practice telling number stories when you can, using real-life situations. “I have 5 markers. If I give one to you and one to your sister, how many will I have left?” Acting stories out or saying them verbally helps the process of thinking about the changes in amounts.
What number stories did you tell today?