Friday, April 09, 2004

Literature-Based Mathematics in Elementary School.

Literature-Based Mathematics in Elementary School. I had never thought of math as a fiction genre before...

From the site:

"When we think of mathematics books, we think of non-fiction, even though mathematics itself is predominantly fiction" (Pappas, 1999).

Some of us may feel uncomfortable with the notion that mathematics is fiction, but the concepts and procedures of mathematics are all constructions of our minds, products of our attempts to understand our worlds, real and imaginary. Some mathematical ideas have obvious practical applications in our everyday lives, while other ideas seem very abstract, with little apparent connection to life as most of us experience it. All mathematical ideas, though, take shape through our attempts to communicate, and therefore find their way into our literature. Having an inherent sense of number (Dehaene, 1997), we express mathematical ideas in stories, essays, poems, books, and other forms of literature that convey life experiences, real or imagined. One way of connecting school mathematics to everyday life, then, is to draw attention to the mathematics embedded in the literature of everyday life, to reveal the mathematics inherent in human thinking and communication about life experiences.


Linking mathematics instruction to children's literature has become increasingly popular in recent years for a variety of reasons. Some suggest that the literature connection motivates students (Usnick & McCarthy, 1998), provokes interest (Welchman-Tischler, 1992), helps students connect mathematical ideas to their personal experiences (Murphy, 2000), accommodates children with different learning styles (Murphy, 2000), promotes critical thinking (Murphy, 2000), or provides a context for using mathematics to solve problems (Jacobs & Rak, 1997; Melser & Leitze, 1999). Hebert and Furner (1997) introduced the idea of "bibliotherapy" to help students see mathematics as a tool for making life easier. Smith (1999) described the use of literature in designing lessons that place mathematical ideas in a cultural context.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

First School Years

First School Years. Free worksheets, flashcards and other educational resources for teachers and parents of children in their first few years of school.

From the site:

The worksheets and resources on this site are targeted primarily at Key Stage 1 ( 5 - 7 year olds). Some may also be suitable for children in Early Years or lower Key Stage 2. The printables are in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format. Don't have Word? Don't worry - just download and install Microsoft's free Word 97/2000 viewer by clicking below.

Monday, April 05, 2004

National Data for Studying Rural Education: Elementary and Secondary Education Applications.

National Data for Studying Rural Education: Elementary and Secondary Education Applications. I work in an urban school. However, i found this look at rural primary schools of interest.

From the site:

Information collected specifically on rural education is scant (Haas, 1992; Stern, 1994). However, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) recently geared up its efforts to disseminate data and products on elementary and secondary education that contain measures of community urbanicity, making rural-urban comparisons or rural-focused analyses possible (Stephens, 1992). This digest describes NCES datasets, presents issues that can be addressed with NCES data, and offers practical tips for accessing these data.

NCES has primarily two types of data: population data and survey data. Population data cover the nation's school universe and provide descriptive information. Survey data do not actually cover the national population, but can yield estimates from nationally representative samples of schools or students. Most NCES surveys are conducted by questionnaire (some with supplementary telephone or personal interviews) using stratified probability samples. Driven by specific policy issues, surveys collect detailed and dynamic information.


The Common Core of Data (CCD) covers all public elementary and secondary schools as well as local and state education agencies. Information collected by CCD includes descriptive data on schools and districts (name, address, phone number, and locale); demographic data on students and staff; and fiscal data (revenues and current expenditures). CCD is a major source for identifying and describing public elementary and secondary schools and school districts in the U.S.