In an earlier post, I talked about the importance of the 4 C's (creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication) as well as the 3 R's in preparing students for life in the digital age. All to often technology skills, as well as curriculum standards, are taught as a discrete set of skills.
In a mindset of covering information (that will be on the test), adding in things like 4 C's seems like one more thing squeezing in our instructional time. This mindset does little to improve student learning and misses an opportunity to provide students with a rich learning experience that addresses both the 3 R's and the 4 C's.
Recently, I have been working on materials specifically designed to boost literacy (Building Literacy in Elementary - Free Resource Kit) through work that were relevant and meaningful, and utilized technology projects that encouraged collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and digital age communication.
So where does math fit in? As I was looking at ways for students to connect to literature through retelling, adapting, and writing, I came across a list of math books and project ideas I had created. The list included a lot of ideas that paired reading and writing with math through creative work with technology. What I liked about it most was how simple some of the ideas were and while not high-level, pbl work, a step in the right direction and easy to implement.
Great books for connecting to Literature in math
Five Creatures. Emily Jenkins
Have students write and illustrate their own Five Creatures story using the members of their family. Print the files as a booklet to take home or export as an HTML storybook.
The Grapes of Math. Greg Tang
Have students write and illustrate their own math rhyming riddles. Combine all of the class riddles into one book and export to HTML to share online.
The Greedy Triangle. Marilyn Burns
Have students write their own story about a geometric shape. Using the ideas in the book, encourage them to make connections to where the shape is found in the real world.
The Math Curse. Jon Scieszka
Have students write their own stories about the problems they encounter during a typical school day or the problems encountered by a fire fighter, police officer, doctor, etc.
The Best of Times. Greg Tang and Harry Briggs
Have students create their own simple rhymes to help them memorize basic facts. Students may use stickers and paint tools to illustrate each rhyme.
The Shape of Things. Dayle Ann Dodds and Julie Lacome.
Have students compose images from 2 dimensional shapes and complete a sentence that describes their composite to create their own version of the book. (lesson plan)
Math for All Seasons: Mind Stretching Math Riddles. Greg Tang and Harry Briggs
Have students create their own unique counting book with patterns using stickers and pictures. Student may publish their stories as short movies to share with others.
Math Fables. Greg Tang
Have students create their own counting fable using scenes and characters from familiar stories they have read. Print their stories to place in classroom library.
Marvelous Math: A Book of Poems. Lee Bennett Hopkins and Karen Barbour
Have students create their own math limerick poem for students to share. Compile each student’s poem as a class book.
Pigs Will Be Pigs. Amy Axelrod and Sharon McGinley
Have students create their own comic strip using basic money concepts for counting and making change. Other books in this series can help students explore math through travel, cooking, sports, and more!
Polar Bear Math: Learning about Fractions from the Klondike and Snow. Amy Whitehead Naqda and Cindy Bickel
Have students choose a daily concept like making lunch or time spent on homework to illustrate daily fractions found in the day. Student can create an HTML project to share with others.
Last to Finish: A Story About the Smartest Boy in Math Class. Barbara Esham, Mike Gordo and Carl Gordo
Have students create a step-by-step guide for problem solving. This guide could be shared with others for future problem solving situations.
I encourage you to come up with and share your entry level ideas which combine literacy, math, and technology to help students work on both the 4 C's and the 3 R's without treating them as specific skills or narrow standards we have to cover.