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The AL Abacus


AL Abacus front

AL Abacus, reverse side

In a previous post I talked about the Right Start Level C math program Bruce has been using, and its core component, the AL abacus.  I explained about how even though I think the abacus is totally amazing, Bruce hasn’t been too keen on it yet, which made following the specific lesson plans in the Level C teacher guide difficult.  He still benefited a lot from the other parts of the program however.

For those of you unfamiliar with the abacus, here’s a cool and (free) link that let’s you explore it online: http://www.alabacus.com/pageView.cfm?pageID=321

Here are also some pictures of two ways to represent 57.


Pretty cool, hunh?  Hopefully Jenna will be much more interested in using it when she is ready.

Multiplication Memory

Here’s a game we have been playing this week from Right Start Math.  http://activitiesforlearning.com/mathcardgames.aspx  It’s called Multiplcation Memory.  We have special cards for it, but you could make them at home too.  This game is set up for X 6s.  You put 6 on the left.  Then you put out 10 cards numbered 1-10.  Then you put the = sign.  Then you put out the products: 6, 12, 18. 24, 30 etc.  After that it pretty much works like the normal memory game.

Bruce already has a solid conceptual understanding of multiplication, and is now just working on memory recall of facts.  This is a fun alternative to flashcards, although at some point we might use flashcards too.  As a teacher, I would notplay this game with a child who was a multiplication novice, but it is fine for Bruce.

Doing Math for Fun (or Profit?)

Bruce is down to the last seven pages classroom activity pages of our school district’s second grade curriculum, Houghon Mifflin Math Expressions.  That means he’s done about 173 pages from the classroom books.  I’ve only had him do about 30% of the homework books, because a lot of it was too repetitive and easy.  I made an exception for the the double and triple digit addition and subtraction pages, which I had him complete because he needed the practice.  Curriculum compaction is a common practice for gifted children, who get bored and surly with too much repetition.

I am a soooooo looking forward to moving onto something else with Bruce.  Houghton Miffling has been okay, but I’d like him to do something more inspiring, like our Right Start Level C curriculum.  http://www.alabacus.com/pageView.cfm?pageID=286   So yesterday, on one of Bruce’s non-school days I made him a deal that if he could do seven pages of math in one day I would pay him ten dollars.  I called this “the ten dollar challenge”.  (Okay, so the merits of paying a kid to do school work are debatable.  In my defense, he’s five and a half and seven pages would be like doing a week and a half of second grade math in one day.)

Well that little son-of-a-gun!  Bruce dragged out his Hougton Mifflin homework book, and started cranking through the data and graphing pages that corresponded to the unit he did last November.  It was super easy for him, and he did seven or eight pages in about an hour.  Pay up mom!  The seven classroom activity pages, are yet to be completed.

Then last night when my husband and I were going to bed at 10:20, I found Bruce in his room with the light on doing more math.  He had another seven pages ready to give me, for payment.  That means he did three weeks of second grade homework in one day.  I need to end this deal or I’m going to go broke.