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How to Get Inspired by Math!


Inspiration in the grocery store

I was walking down the grocery store “chips” aisle when I saw these colorful little chip clips (click here to view). These caught my eye because they were in the shape of two hands, kind of clapping together. My mind just started to explode with possibilities! I bought 5 packs totaling 10 clips in all.


Let’s try it!

When I got home I decided to try the clips with a new friend I had who was working on counting by tens. Up until this point he had learned the counting to tens song quite easily and could sing it independently, but he didn’t seem to understand the concept of ten or groups of ten yet.

At my next tutoring session, I brought out the colorful hand clips. My friend got very excited about the clips. I showed him the clips, and how each clip had two hands joined together. We counted all the fingers on the two hands, which equalled ten fingers. I then clipped the hand clip onto my shirt. I said “ten”! Next I attached another hand clip to my shirt and counted the two clips, “ten, twenty”. I added another clip and counted all the clips, “ten, twenty, thirty”. By this point he got the game and wanted to put the next clip onto my shirt. He counted the clips himself, pointing to each clip as he counted, “ten, twenty, thirty, forty”. We played this game until I had all ten clips on my shirt and he had counted to one hundred by tens. Next he took each clip off my shirt and he counted the clips again by tens as he removed them.


The power of “fun” in teaching

After a few weeks he was able to count the tens in reverse as he took the clips off one by one. We also played at putting the clips on my pants legs, his shirt and even his pants legs. It was funny to watch and funny to participate. Fun is a powerful weapon in teaching! After a few weeks we changed the game to count by fives, using the same clips!


Quick tip:

Keep your eyes out for new and interesting ways to demonstrate concepts. You may find one in a most unusual place!


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Meet Katherine:

Katherine is a seasoned educator with a wide variety of expertise in the field. As a teacher with over 30 years of experience with students ages 3-18, she is also a Certified Elementary School Teacher (K-8), a Certified Special Education Teacher (K-12), an Inclusion Specialist, and a Visual and Performing Arts Specialist. In addition to her credentials, she has also spent 2 years as a House Parent for Severely Emotionally Disturbed teenaged girls (ages 9-18), and has worked with all types of students with various labels including Down Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, SED, ODD, FASD, ID, ADHD, Schizophrenia, Gifted, etc.

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October 14, 2017

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