I was happy that Compass Publishing asked me to do another math resource book review.  Last time I was able to review Laura Candler’s book, and now there is a new book (just released on 11/15/13) called: The Crawfords’ Big Book of Math-tivities!  The official book site is here.  This book is aligned with the Common Core and has ways to make math more fun for Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd graders.

This book incorporates a very tactile math approach.  It gives you ideas and reproducibles that support what you are teaching in the classroom.  It also leaves some reproducibles blank so you can make your own.  I did like all of the suggestions that had children drawing and discussing math so they wouldn’t be so hesitant to realize that math is all around us.  I also think their alignment with the Common Core standards was very helpful.

There are six chapters in this book and much of the chapters are taken up with reproducibles.  I thought it was a little bit much for my taste, but I know many teachers don’t have time to make their own material.  Here is a breakdown of what the book looks like…

  • Chapter 1: Mathbooking.  I like the open-ended aspect of this and how the students get to make their books unique.  “Creative Doodling” is encouraged.  There are nine pages of instruction, description, supplies, and considerations before they go into ten prompts for each grade level (spanning fifteen pages).
  • Chapter 2: A cool idea that I haven’t seen very much before that seems fun.  The instructions and suggestions for making your own take up seven pages and then the thirty pages are one large activity (geared for each grade level K, 1, & 2).
    • The nice thing about the division of the copies between K, 1, & 2 is that each paper specifies on the printout which Common Core standard is being reinforced.
  • Chapter 3: Math & Tell has ideas for you to have your students make their own stories to equations.  They give some samples and how to effectively do it in your class.
  • Chapter 4 is really fun with games and puzzles.  Nine pages of instruction and then thirty pages of copies.
  • Chapter 5 is my favorite chapter with bringing math outside.  Six pages of instructions and tips, then twenty or so pages of reproducible activities for K, 1, & 2.
    • I enjoyed how many senses some of the activities incorporated.
  • Chapter 6 gives ideas and some activities for teaching/reinforcing math with the holidays and seasons.

Overall, I enjoyed the book but I did fell that some of the reproducibles could have been condensed.  The golden parts of the book are where the authors suggest how you can incorporate their ideas into how you teach.  After all, I think that is how most teachers do it (take good ideas and teach it the best you can with your own spin).

Do you use a hands-on approach to math in your classroom?  I’d love to know how well it’s going.

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