Counting Till Christmas…

The early days of December have been filled with the sound of children counting: Counting coins and bills, and counting down the days till Christmas! These past few weeks were marked by the anticipation of not only of the coming winter holiday, but also of the Lower Elementary Shopping Day.

Students line up at the “check-out” counter.

Making Money Make SenseThroughout the past several weeks, students have been exploring money concepts in the classroom. Students have been manipulating currency in class, building up their knowledge of dollar and cent quantities. Younger students have been working on applying their addition fact skills to money problems, and familiarizing themselves with ways to make whole numbers using various coin values. Older students have linked lessons on decimals and fractions with their work with money, and have focused on sharpening their mental math faculties in order to make change quickly.

The Money Game: Applying money concepts through practical (and fun) group work.

The manipulation of concrete materials – in this case, actual coins and bills – as well as the application of concepts to practical tasks are key in solidifying children’s understanding of money concepts. Thus, great emphasis was placed on working with materials in the classroom, and creating practical scenarios with which to frame students’ lessons. In the classroom, students really enjoyed playing the “Money Game,” which involved setting up a fruit market (using real fruit) and taking turns as buyers and sellers in making change. The real-life nature of the exercise enabled students to not only apply math fact skills but also required them to verbally express and work out amounts, and exercise grace and courtesy with one another.

Perusing the merchandise during Shopping Day.

Real-Life LearningThe Lower Elementary Shopping Day was a culminating event that vividly brought our studies to life. Students relished using real money to purchase real items donated by Lower Elementary families. Students had to practise mental addition skills in adding up totals, and used their knowledge of money amounts and subtraction to determine if they could afford their selections. Some students acted as check-out cashiers, checking the accuracy of totals and ensuring correct change. The Lower Elementary community came together to provide a wonderful spread of books, toys and other kid-friendly treasures to the “sale,” the proceeds of which went to Red Cross. By making the application of our learning very real and practical, we turn academic lessons into life lessons.

Splicing celery stems!

Christmas CountdownIn addition to the excitement of Shopping Day, this month has offered many opportunities to productively harness the children’s anticipation of the holidays. A review lesson in botany focusing on types of stems became a rather joyous experiment when the children were given the opportunity to make “holiday celery” by splicing the stems and placing half in red dye and the other half in green dye. The simple twist made learning about the functions of the xylem and phloem tubes in the stems easily enjoyable (and very festive).

LED and LEU students enjoy baking holiday cookies together.


Children listening to a student read aloud.

holidays are also a wonderful time for the community to come together. The Lower Elementary children of both LED and LEU really enjoyed the many opportunities to interact in the last few weeks of the term: singing during the holiday concert, working with one another during the Shopping Day, and baking stained glass cookies together. Just as we form a tightly-knit community within the classroom, we are part of a larger community beyond it.

This first term has been a wonderful beginning for the LEU class. While we are all looking forward to enjoying the holiday break, we are all also very excited for school to begin once again in January 2013!

We wish you all a joyful and restful holiday, and we will see you in the New Year!

Comments are closed.