November 16, 2009

The Planet 10

Hannah Jane does a daily sheet of simple arithmetic facts, but today Saxon switched it up on her and had her fill in the box with the missing number in a problem that went: SINGLE DIGIT NUMBER + EMPTY BOX = TEN So she had to find what number to add to make ten. She had a little trouble with this, so we decided to make it fun by doing this ridiculous activity that I came up with while trying to enjoy my shower while she complained about the difficulty of her math sheet from the other side of the curtain.

We are reading Lowis Lowry's the Giver in our free time, and in the book people are not allowed to choose their own spouses. Spouses are assigned. So, we made up a scenario that on planet Ten, numbers can only get married to a number that helps them add up to ten. It is, by the way, the law on planet Ten, in case you didn't already know :) So I got out the poster board and she colored a big purple circle and cut it out for her planet Ten while I cut out numbers one through ten with an extra five since it's the double fact for ten.

Then we went through and figured out who, according to the laws of planet Ten, could get married. Then I asked Hannah Jane to tell me what each number likes about the other. Really dumb stuff to help her have a little fun with it. As she told me what features they like about each other, I cartooned those features on the number. Here's what it looked like...

Five likes Five because he's just like him. I got a little worried this was about to stir up a same sex marriage discussion and I'm not quite ready to take up the ins and outs of that topic with my six year old -a girl who recently said, "Dad loves that goat so much I think he wants to marry him. But he can't because they're both boys!" Never mind one is a goat! Anyway, that's why five wants to marry five.
Six likes Four because he has a big purple nose and always wears a bow tie. She likes his style! Four likes how Six always wears a flower in her hair!

One likes how Nine wears that bow and smiles at him so sweetly. And Nine, of course, thinks One looks dapper in the ties he always wears.

Three like Seven's big lips while Seven likes Three's big eyes! Seven looks a little like the Angelina of numbers to me!

Finally there's Two with her fancy shoes that always catch Eight's eye. And of course Eight always has his camera and takes pictures of Two's shoes. That makes Two feel special, so she thinks she should go ahead and marry him (not that she has any other options an Planet Ten)!

Hannah Jane had so much fun making up reasons the numbers fell in love that she remembers which numbers add up to make ten together. When we started, she was coming up with actual good reasons that the number would like each other, reasons that are hard to illustrate like, "Because Eight would make a great father," and, "Two is always kind." So, we decided that in this case it was okay to be a little shallow for the sake of the project. So no hate mail my way for teaching my kid that a nice tie collection is a good reason to marry a man. I mean, if you lived on planet Ten and had no choice in who to marry, would it be such a bad thing to look for any little positive in a man since you have to marry him anyway? I mean, a nice tie collection couldn't hurt. Right? Just kidding!

Anyway, that's how we spent our morning. Marrying numbers and then gluing them to planet Ten. Maybe in a few weeks we'll flip it over and make planet Fifteen or something. Who knows what we'll come up with?


  1. I realize this post is about numbers, but you mention that you are reading The Giver. That is one of my favorites! I actually have it on CD as well. The reader has an amazing voice - much like I imagine the old man in the story would sound like. I shared this book with a 6th grade class I taught (got in some bit of trouble, but that's another story), and we read silently, aloud and listened. I am curious how your kids are reacting to it and their feedback?

  2. Yes, it is a bit heavy. It is a challenge for me to find reading materials that balance her reading level with her emotional self. The thing I like about the Giver is that much of the difficult content is offered in vague terms, such as "He is being released." It doesn't say, up front, "WE are going to kill him." She can view it how she needs to, and we discuss it with her as the guide. We're not to the end yet, where I anticipate some of the vagueness will be cleared u, even for a six year old, but we'll take it as it comes, and will certainly skip some pages if necessary. The books did really come to life for us during the recent death of our family pet. Hannah Jane said it hurt so much to loose Lucky because she loved her so much, and that if she hadn't fallen in love, losing her would have been no big deal. We talked about the book, and how it looks when you are not allowed to have emotions so that you don't experience pain, and how we could choose not to get another pet so that we didn't have to feel that pain again. Having examined such an emotionless world through the book, she seemed much better equipped to say, the pain is from the love, and the love was worth it. She has referenced the book many times during her grieving as a comfort to herself.

    What was the trouble you faced with the 6th grade class? It seems perfectly age appropriate for them, to me.

  3. That is really incrediblely mature for her to make those connections. My 6 year old is not very communicative in the first place, much less expressing his emotional side. I have been trying to help him with that without putting words into his mouth and trying to assure him of being there to help him through whatever, but it is a challenge.
    As for the 6th graders, it was a Catholic school and the books were already there from previous years. But I didn't communicate well wnough with the parents about the book's themes so there was some concern about this world without God and some of the themes of death and maturing (the dreams were fun!). All in all, it worked out and I think the kids enjoyed it and hopefully it made some think. This was before I had any training as a teacher as well, so there are some things I am sure I would do to try to evoke more discussion and thought.
    A funnier story is when I was reading the last few chapters of Where the Red Fern Grows aloud. I started to cry (always do) and the kids started to cry and at that precise moment the principal was walking by with a prospective parent! Ha! At our school we make your kids cry! Don't you want to send them here!?!

  4. She is mature, but we talk a lot about feelings, and I try to think out loud when I think I can model working through tough feelings for them. The emotions element was one of the reasons I decided to go ahead with the book despite some of the mature themes. I believe that if they see us working through feelings, or even making connections with a book, they will have incentive to do that as well and see it as a part of growing up!


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