Sunday, March 9, 2014

SOLSC #9 Coincidence or calculated?

I am posting every day during March as part of the annual "Slice of LifeChallenge for Two Writing Teachers.  Check out their website for lots more reflections on teaching.


Several Big Cats were playing in the sand at the sensory table and talking about "house" -

I am the big sister and you can be the Mommy
Here's the Daddy.
There are two babies with the Mommy.
I live next door to you. I have my own house.

I interjected with a playful question,
How old do you need to be to live in your own house?

Their answers were immediate, one right after another -

"5" said Eloise,
"9" said Lavinia,
"11" said Seymour,
"20-teen" said Jasmine,
"100" said Shaan.

I found myself smiling as I jotted down their responses, thinking it would be a cute note to share with families.

You can see that preschoolers are just beginning to developing number sense; they do not  have a true understanding of time - how long a day or month or year is...what an age might be? [I am flattered on my own birthday when preschoolers will guess my age as in the 20s.]

But as I jotted down their responses, I noticed that this little group of friends had steadily increased their numbers, each guessing higher than the one before.  I find that fascinating.

Coincidence? Or calculated?
How did they happen to do that?

(A daily share by a preschooler, in their own words)
A Story Collage by Alyja

These are the spots where I live. The three little dots are to have fun. Look – there’s Mommy, Alyja, baby, Daddy. Here’s a spider, walking up the fence. The spider hides right here. That’s for the wild cats to scratch. They say, “Meow! Give me food! Give me food!” The wild cats came to the baby’s ancestors. They didn’t do anything, they’s just wild and they scratch people. They like to eat spiders and spiders like to eat flies. Mommy’s living in a house and I am living in the house next door and Daddy’s holding the baby. Today it is snowing and there’s icicles on top of the roof. The wild cats are going to run away. The spiders are disappeared. The End.


  1. Love your glimpse of these preschoolers number sense! Alyja's story collage - so many wonderful things going on in that picture!

  2. My favorite response has to be "20-teen." Wouldn't it be great to ask Eloise that question again when she is Kindergarten? I wonder what here answer will be. Also this struck me, "The wild cats came to the baby’s ancestors." I love that Alyja used the word ancestors in a story. What rich vocabulary! Not sure if its a coincidence or if its calculated. My 5th graders would initially guess that way (going higher) but usually some realist will interject and say, "that doesn't" make sense. Then they all really think about the question and adjust. It's pretty funny when they do it because it's born out of that competition to be bigger and better.

  3. What an imagination Alyja has! This connects to those wanting to live next door to the parents, too. Interesting? My granddaughter uses the number 55 a lot. She can count and add, but still I think she likes the sound of 55 and that it seems 'big'! I wonder too about your students increasing the number-inner intuition?

  4. I absolutely love small children's guesses at time, age, estimation. I've been guessed to be as young as 6 as old as 94. When I showed my students a picture of my mom wearing a "60" crown for her birthday, they said "WHOA. That's a big number. She must be ooooooold." Finally, when I asked my student for how long that day she had been feeling ill (in order to gauge whether she was coming down with something or just sick of naptime), she looked at me with tearful eyes, sighed deeply and said, "I don't know, Ms. Laura... 9, 8, maybe 10. Ten YEARS." So hilarious and adorable.

    It would be fun to do a time capsule for them. Interview them with questions like "How old will you be when... you get married, have kids, buy a car, get a job... etc?" and then save it for them til they graduate 8th grade and get to laugh at their little selves.

  5. "I found my self smiling . . . ". --how many times have I done this exact thing so I may share 'a moment' with parents. Little minds are a constant wonder- this piece captures that and your joy in your work.