Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dog Bones

Meet Dog Bones. It's not a dog treat, you see I never have any of those because our overly smart dog knows how to break into the treat barrel. I'm pretty sure he'll have chewies buried in the yard to last him a lifetime, but I'm so getting off track here.. This set of dog bones is a math game. It can be played in many different ways. The idea and templates are a resource from The Mailbox Magazine. (It's a great magazine and you get many of the templates and resources free online to print off.. Super cool!) Anyway the idea is to help with numerical order. Something we have a small problem with, in an odd and freaky way.

You see Morgan can count forwards, he can count backwards, he can count by 2's, 5's, 10's, 100's, and so on, but ask him to start counting with say number 3 and continue by 1's and he'll go crazy on you. I'm talking completely over the edge crazy!

Morgan's mind works on a one way track. He has to know how and why before he completely understands something. He can then fully understand the entire concept and use it. He has to know every minute little detail and then he has to think about it and mull it over and then he can put it to use. You can't just show him how to do something and have him walk away fully grasping it. So, when I say what's 5+2, he can't say 5, 6, 7. He'll start counting at one and count clear up to 7. I've tried holding up 5 fingers for him, it's still a no go. He must count each and every one of my fingers. The other day he ran out of fingers and made the dog sit still so he could borrow a few furry toes, it was highly amusing and disturbing all at the same time..

Nothing annoys him or freaks him out more then seeing _ _ _ _ 14 _ _ _ _ 19 _ _ _ 23 _ _ on his math paper. I mean NOTHING. He'll sit there staring at it with looks that say, "I wish my eyes could burn this paper up." He knows what to do, but that's not the point. They've taken something systematical and they've messed it up. He can't stand it. Not only that he can't fully understand it.

This means that he can't look at number 14 and know instantly that 13 comes before and that 15 comes after. He has to sit and think a minute, and often times start with 1 and count it out. Perhaps it's the lack of speed in this particular area that throws him for such a big loop, I'm not sure. All I know is that he hates this particular math problem.

Enter Dog Bones. I started by giving him 4 bones to work on last Tuesday. They were met with scowls and "Oh rats, I was really hoping it would be a better game then this!" and "GRRR, I can't find the right number." "I hate blank numbers!" The end result was tears. He retrieved his 100's chart and filled in the blanks.

You know what else bugs Morgan? Preteens. I'm not talking people of that age, I'm talking the numbers. 10, 11, 12. These three numbers have always given him problems, even from the time he was a toddler learning to count the library stairs. They are teens, but you don't say teen, and that takes another perfectly good mathematical system and ruins it. Thus, the preteens mess him up. It took a lot of patience and counting and tears to help him understand those three numbers, and that was just me! I can't imagine what he suffered through!!

So, a double whammy meanie pants dog bone is _ 11 _ . Cruelty hath no bounds. Funny thing is, day one with dog bones was tearful. Day two, was a grumble. Day 3 was peaceful. Day 4 was a total success. Day one this week, tearful. The fact is that Morgan works systematically, and asking him to work outside of that comfort zone freaks him out.

I respect his zones, I do. I have my own form of comfort too. I want to see his as a flaw, but I am constantly reminded this week that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made." Which also makes me fully aware that it's not a flaw. It's a process his mind goes through. My mind might work differently, and thus I don't care how or why I just want to know that it can be done. Yet, as his mother and teacher, I want to be sure that he can move outside of that comfort zone and still accomplish the task at hand. I want to know that even if the numbers are missing he won't panic but remain calm and place the missing ones in order.

In his own way, he'll figure it out. I just have to find a mathematical pattern or code to explain it in, until then.. he'll be seeing a lot of dog bones in his future..

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My daughter has some of the same math issues. It's so good to know that she's not alone. Thanks for the resource idea.