imaginative numbers

After five years, Lauren Child has published a new Charlie and Lola book, One Thing. It’s a book completely full of numbers. She says:

“All language is new for kids, and they talk about it in a different way to adults. They approach numbers in the same way, experimenting, feeling their way towards the right way to use and understand them, and making mistakes along the way, like Lola saying fifty or twenty seventeen ladybirds, for instance.”

She wasn’t a big maths fan until she saw how omnipresent they were in art and music. Now she wants to share the joyousness of numbers.

“Children learn to count almost immediately – it doesn’t have to be right at once. Part of the learning process is the discovery of patterns and experimenting with them.”

I only found out about the book because I saw that Christopher Danielson‘s Which One Doesn’t Belong? A Shapes Book had won this year’s Mathical Prize. And when I visited the site, I saw One Thing.

So, it came last night, and this morning I read it to my class of 5 and 6 year olds. Had them all hooked from the start.

It kicks off with mum saying they can have one thing from the shops. Is that one thing between two? Or one thing each?

Charlie gets his answer from mum, one thing each, and then has to relay it to Lola, who asks the same things.

There’s lots of number and arithmetic symbols in there too, playful, different sized, accompanying each moment in the shopping trip. This first debate has 2  ÷ 2 = 1. My class haven’t seen  ÷ before with me, but this seems like the perfect relaxed way to meet it first (very different to my own experience).

It really hit the spot for my class. One girl who doesn’t usually light up with maths, was really responsive to this book. Made me think we need more like this!

Counting the different kinds of birds

My class loved this page. I had to read Lola’s counting three times.

talking about big numbersIt

a subtraction story with st

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