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Children Count

Exploring What is Possible in a Classroom with Mathematics and Children

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Mary M. Stordy

Children Count is an interpretive exploration into the teaching of mathematics to children. Through the use of narratives to make meaning of particular pedagogic events, the book explores the possibilities that exist for children and for teachers if mathematics is allowed to thrive in schools as a living human enterprise. Such a re-conceptualized view of mathematics challenges the status quo and results in a different image of schooling. Children Count gives the reader a picture of what a classroom could look like when it includes creativity, inquiry-based learning, empowerment of children and teachers, academic rigor, holism, and integrated and generative curricula. The text captures the mistakes, choices, the actions, and the decision-making process of a teacher who reflects and learns from her students as she realizes she must listen to them because what they have to say counts.
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Chapter 6. If 5 Is the Answer, What Might the Question Be?

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IF 5 IS THE ANSWER, WHAT MIGHT THE QUESTION BE?

Ms. Stordy, I want to come talk to you about math and grade one. Can we arrange a time? Thanks, Susan. There it was, a note written in William’s agenda in ink beside Tuesday’s agenda message. In the busy pace of the school day, the scanning of agendas for messages from parents becomes another teacher reconnaissance skill. While keeping an eye on all children and ensuring they are ‘on task,’ the skilled teacher is able to get to every student’s agenda to check for notes from parents about hot dog money, early pickups, missing jackets, and, now and then, curricular issues. I was not one of those skilled teachers described above who could organize her day in such a way that the checking of agendas was made without some effort. It seemed to be one of my least favorite activities because it cut short learner teacher work and play and the surveillance task—checking journals—was, therefore, often left to my last minute. While reading Susan’s parental note I was standing in the midst of a dozen other agendas being thrust at me—I felt as though all the spokes led to me, the center/hub of a wheel. The children were bustling about getting their coats and boots on to catch the bus for home. ‘What does Susan want to know?’ I thought. ‘We’re following the Program of Studies. It’s...

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