A Dollar For Penny

If you’ve been reading this blog very long at all you know I don’t like math worksheets.  I am convinced there are better ways.  This past week Brother and I stumbled upon one.

On our last trip to the library, someone (not me) picked up A Dollar for Penny by Julie Glass.  It’s called a “math reader” and it’s particular brand of math concerns money.  Anyway, I spied it in our library bin and added it along with a handful of various coins to Brother’s math workbox.

When math time came he and I had the most enjoyable time.  He read the story but I held the book which meant that at appropriate moments I could close the pages and ask questions like: “What do you think she’ll charge this time?” or “What coins do you think that person will use to pay?”  or “What other ways could they pay?”  For each question he created an answer using the coins. 

We played around with this relatively short story for nearly half an hour and by the end of it I discovered two things.  First, Brother is a better reader than he (or I) had realized. (He was quite concerned in the beginning about the book being a “step 2” reader but in reality he had no problems at all.)  Second, although he’d done several worksheets about coin values this year, he had actually retained very little.  This simple 30 minute lesson consisting mostly of reading and giggles conveyed far more than any piece of paper has.

This whole experience has be re-evaluating (again) each part of our curriculum.  Every book must now answer true ~ “Is this the best way to teach this topic to my kids?”  Is this topic even worth teaching right now?, ever?  Not surprisingly a number of my original choices for the year have been set aside. … but, for now anyway, math readers are in. :-)