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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

FAWFP #2: Solid with 1 to 5

Who Cares? Why Should I Care? Why I Care!
Thank you all of you that have sent out my Blog and continue to subscribe. I have had so many great comments and reactions that I want to address some things before moving on to the next step of FAWFP.

When I tell people that I am writing a book about finger patterns, I hear a lot of, "Why?" I decided to start talking about finger patterns because of the impact that I saw finger patterns making on my students and on my own children. The published research is very impressive too. The earlier you work with your child or even interact with your child with counting, the easier it will be for them in school. I know as a parent I want my child's career in school to be positive and as a teacher I know the feeling of seeing a child that needs to catch up. So here is one idea to help our children be prepared for school: finger patterns.


Impact on Students:
I work with first grade students that are "at risk" in mathematics. They usually cannot count from 1 to 10 when our sessions begin. We use many learning tools and finger patterns are a key element. Learning finger patterns gives them a skill that they make their own and confidence that reaches beyond mathematics. With the foundation of finger patterns, they commonly move on to count past 100, do early addition and subtraction and achieve in many areas in their classroom that were once hard for them. It is impressive to see how one simple skill improves all other areas of learning.


Impact on Young Children:
I began working with my oldest son before he turned two. I didn't sit down with him and ask him to show me patterns. That would have been almost impossible with such a busy two-year old. I found ways to incorporate numbers and finger patterns into his daily life. Before he turned three, he was making all his patterns from 1 to 10 and much more.


Research:
If you are interested enough to poke around on the web yourself, you will find these and more articles. Recent research states that when children use their fingers to solve higher-level math problems that are given in first and second grade (solving addition and subtraction problems), they are able to solve problems correctly and are performing 1 to 4 years above their grade level. Here is the link to this interesting research by Dr. Jarvis. http://www.nipissingu.ca/faculty/danj/EDUC4274/PJ%20MATH%20ASSIGN%202007-08/SECTION%204/TEACHING%20RESOURCES/S4G1.doc

Question and Answer:
Alicia posted the question: "What if Paisly is a lefty? Do I start with her dominant hand or does it affect the way this program progresses?" This is a great question because most young children do tend to favor one hand. You can start by working with them on the dominant hand. Then move to the non-dominant hand. The big idea is to get them flexible with knowing how to make 1 to 5 on both hands. If you notice them only making patterns on one hand then try saying, "Fire away a 4! Now try a 4 on the other hand!"


What's Next: Solid with 1 to 5
Now that you have worked with your child to sequentially make the finger patterns from 1 to 5 on both hands, it is good to practice and make sure they are solid with their numbers from 1 to 5 on both hands. Ask you child to Fire Away random numbers from 1 to 5 on their right hand and then repeat on their left hand. Watch to see how they are making their numbers. If they are not able to make the numbers 1 to 5 randomly then go back and practice making 1 to 5 in sequential order. Remember to make counting and finger patterns fun and as soon as possible. Bring parts of their world in to create relevance in their learning.


Game: Show Me
Below is a video of FAWFP for different things that are in the range of 1 to 5. This is a great way to see if your child knows their finger patterns and if they are transferring that knowledge of counting to their finger patterns. You can play "Show Me" while riding in the car, during bath time, at the pool, or just about anywhere. So Fire Away and have fun!



video