## Friday, September 30, 2011

### Finger Patterns the ABC's of Math

The ABC's of Math
Reading is everywhere. We read to our children, sing the ABC's and help them write their name. What about math? How do we get our kids ready for math in school?
Finger patterns are the ABC's of math. Finger patterns help young children count and link quantity to numbers while building an awareness to and confidence with numbers.

Try This: Finger Patterns from 1 to 5
1. Get little hands ready for "Fire Away" with all fingers inside.
2. Say, "Fire Away one." and have your child release their first finger or their pointer finger.
3. Continue with "Fire Away" for all fingers ending with the thumb for five.
4. Do on both the left hand and right hand, firing away to five on each hand.
5. Play this often.

## Thursday, April 14, 2011

### The Fire is back and Sticky dots

Fire Away with Finger Patterns: The Fire is Back

Fire Away with Finger Patterns has been on a hiatus due to the new little counter in our family. My seven-month-old son is getting all the benefits of being raised with two older brothers that have solid number sense. They count to him all the time, with tickle games, counting his toes, fingers and counting out his cereal puffs. I really had no idea counting and talking about numbers would have such a positive impact on my own kids.

Thank you for all the great feedback with the finger pattern playing cards. I have really enjoyed going to conferences and talking to educators about ArithmaKids. I will be sharing ideas that teachers and parents have had for using the playing cards and the jumbo cards.

Finger Pattern Playing Cards: Sticky Dot

My friend and colleague, Megan, had a great idea and modified the cards with a sticky dot. She placed a sticky dot over the numeral so her student could focus on just the finger pattern. She wanted him to become fluent with his finger patterns before moving on to linking his patterns to the symbolic representation for the pattern. Thank you for the great idea Megan!

## Tuesday, May 11, 2010

### Finger Pattern Playing Cards Are Here!

Finger Pattern Playing Cards:
Go Fish, Memory and other great games!

Two of six instruction cards included in the deck of Finger Pattern Playing Cards

I would like to start by saying thank you to all of you that have read and subscribed to my blog. You may remember that I stared it about two years ago after seeing the benefits of firing away in my students and two-year-old son. Since that time, I have had the pleasure of continuing to work with students, my children, parents, and teachers. I am more convinced than ever that early math is an important as early reading! I believe this so strongly that I recently started, ArithmaKids™, a company to help spread the word. I have two simple products that I have been testing over the past few months. I will blog about them over the next few weeks. Hopefully you will check out www.arithmakids.com and find them useful.

Turn Over 10 (with a little help)

Turn Over 5

## Monday, April 5, 2010

### Fire and Write

Fire and Write: Fun with Chalk

Looking for a fun way to work with your child on writing their numbers? Get some sidewalk chalk and have fun with this great activity. Sidewalk chalk is a fun tool for writing numbers while having fun with different colors and writing surfaces.

Many young children write numbers backward, upside down or with the incorrect technique. Getting down at their level and writing numbers with them helps them learn how to make numbers and you to see what numbers are hard for them. A good example is when my son was making his six starting at the bottom and ending at the top. I showed him how to make a six correctly and then he practiced making six in different colors and sizes. Then I asked him to circle his favorite six, which he really enjoys -circling his "best" number. We started with one to ten and next we will work up to the teen’s family.

Making eight on his own and practice with eight

Game: Fire and Write

1. Flash a finger pattern to your child.

2. Have them write the corresponding number with the chalk.

3. Try flashing the same number a different way. Example: first number you flashed was eight, five and three. The second eight you flashed is four and four.

4. Take turns with who fires and who writes.

Playing Fire and Write any age can play

## Monday, February 22, 2010

### The Family Talk

Use Families to Count to 100!
My son is starting kindergarten in the fall and he loves to count to 100. While counting, he sometimes forgets what "family" comes next. A great way to talk to children about numbers is calling them families and separating them out so they are easy to identify and remember.

The numbers one to nine are the first family or the ones family. The next family is the tens or teens family. This family seems to be the hardest for children because they do not follow the rules of the other families. Often children will confuse a teen with a decade number. An example is the number thirteen which has the number three in it, but we don't say, “Three-teen.” We ignore the first number in the teens unlike all the other families where the first number announces the name of the family, i.e. thirties, forties, etc.. The teens family is fun to make up names for such as the "grumpy family" or "crazy teenagers" to help give a reminder that they follow a different rule.

The rest of the families are straightforward with each family beginning with the decade for that family or as I call it, the families "front door" to that family’s home. Inside their home are all the numbers inside that family. For example, eighty is the front door number for the eighties family and inside their home are all the cute little eighties.

How Do Finger Patterns Link to the Families and Counting to 100?
When my son is getting ready to say the next family and he forgets, for example, the eighties family or says the wrong family, I ask him, "What comes after seven?" He looks at his finger pattern for seven and says, "Eight! Oh, so the eighties family." Sometimes I just flash the family that comes next, so if he is stuck on the eighties I make a nine on my fingers so he knows that the next family is the nineties. Have fun counting and talking about the families!

## Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Journal of a New Counter: Five Ways to Have Fun Counting

1. Find things to count in a book. My two-year-old loves trains and we read The Little Engine That Could at least twice a day. Now when we read the story we stop and count the trains or animals.
2. Count snack food. Toddlers are snackers and this is one of the best ways to begin counting. Food that is easy to hold, pick up or drop in a cup such as cheerios, crackers and blueberries is best. My son might not be saying the correct number words but he lines all his snacks up in a row and "counts" each thing.
3. Count in the car. Find things to count while in the car. How many wheels are on a big truck? How many people in a car? How many tractors at a construction site? They can find just about anything to count.
4. Look for numbers. Point out numbers while pumping gas, shopping at the grocery store or paying your bill at a restaurant.
5. Play board games and play with cards. My two-year-old is a little young for board games but he sits and watches as I play with my five-year-old. He loves to handle the cards, sort out the game pieces and takes a turn or two for me.

## Tuesday, December 22, 2009

### The Fire Continues: Journal of a New Counter

Using His Patterns: One More?

I have been watching my two-year-old son explore counting. I am amazed at his ability to line blocks up in a row and point to each thing as he counts. He still does not have the correct number words for each thing, but he is starting to make sense of counting. He is much more aware of counting all of this "stuff" than his older brother was at this age. I think this is partly due to the influence of his brother. His big brother counts everything to see who has more; whether it be more cookies, more stuffed animals or more presents under the Christmas tree.

Recently, I have tried to tie my son's interest in counting to something meaningful for him. Like most toddlers, he loves snacking. When he wants more crackers I ask, "Show me on your fingers how many more crackers you would like." He holds one finger and announces, "One more please mommy." Little did I know that "one more" would turn into a question and pattern he uses for what seems to be every part of his life. He asks for one more book, toy, song, and just about anything else. This little counter is making it evident that he understands the meaning of one and more.