Literature and Math

Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday

I used this with some struggling third graders, and they wrote their own stories about themselves using the same format (Alexander gets a small amount of money and spends a little each day, until he has none left. My students started with $1,000,000. ~ Nancy Schilling

I have always loved Alexander Who Used To Be Rich Last Sunday. When I have read it aloud to kids, I have given kids a 10x10 grid of pennies (coloring sheet) and asked them (after hearing it several times) to listen to the story and color in the money as Alexander spends it. It is always interesting to see if we can hit dead broke together. Mostly for CGI problems I use literature we have been reading (not necessarily mathish) or real life class experiences. I think it is always fun to have kids write literature based story problems. ~ Lori Jackson

The Doorbell Rang

This story lends itself well to measurement, multiplication, division, graphing, etc. ~ Lori Jackson

Who's The Beast?

This is an absolutely beautiful book featuring richly patterned illustrations...great lead in for discussion of organic patterning. I never would have thought of it but my youngest son took it for show and tell in kindergarten last year and did an impromptu math lesson that thrilled his teacher ( I bought it to use for an art history lesson as it reminds me of that French painter's beautiful jungle paintings and then had to buy another copy because my kid staked a claim). ~ Lori Jackson

Old Henry

In this story, the pies baked by neighbors could easily become a fractions lesson or a measurement lesson or multiplication (If Henry's neighbors wanted to bake him X pies and they needed Y apples for each pie, how many apples would they need?" ~ Lori Jackson

The Magic Money Box

When second graders are working on money I read this story about coin equivalents. After listening to the story and discussing the content, students get to write about the story. Many students will tell their favorite part. During the next math time, I read the story again and review the content. This time I ask them to write their own story about money. Depending on ability level, I get some very interesting pieces. Some children weave the coin equivelents and number sentences within the text, others do very creative pieces; one wrote about a black ant buying a house from a red ant for $200,000. From others, I may just a picture or some numbers or pictures of coins. ~ Arlyne LeSchack

Fish Eyes

This is a good book to use when first graders are working on adding on. I follow a similar format as that with "The Magic Money Box." At first students write about the story; later they write their own adding or fish stories. ~ Arlyne LeSchack

Caps For Sale

After listening to this story, second graders have to figure out how much money the peddler would make if he sold all his caps. The first time I tried this, many students could not come up with strategies but some students did. One little girl in particular immediately linked 2 caps together (he sold them for 50 cents) to get a dollar and then very quickly knew that he sold the 16 caps for $8.00. ~ Arlyne LeSchack

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