Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ooeys and Trogs

The heir apparent wasn't catching on to the idea of carrying in math. I showed him on paper, I put coins in piles, he got that cloudy look (with which I'm quite familiar, as I'm told I exhibit the same symptoms when people talk bits and bites and router configurations to me. I was at one point a VB programmer, but that was purely accidental and geek is not one of my natural languages), he scratched at his eyes, he turned away and found something else to do. Something interesting.

OK. There must be another way.

So I lay in bed one morning at 0400 hours (I'm a yogi, you would think by now I would have learned how to stop that monkey in my head) and it dawned on me: I have boys. I need monsters and violence.

Once upon a time, there were little red monsters called Ooeys. There were also larger orange monsters called Trogs. And there were much bigger, yellow monsters called Hawgs.
The Ooeys liked to get into groups and play. When they got into a large group and there were at least 10 of them, they were compelled to form a circle, run at the center, and BAM! the ten Ooeys would become one Trog. They would then join the Trogs group. If there had been more than 10 Ooeys, the others had to remain Ooeys until there were at least ten, then the circle formed again...

Similarly, when 10 Trogs got together, they always formed into a circle, then ran at the center as one and WHAM! the ten Trogs would become one Hawg. The Hawg joined the Hawgs group. Any remaining Trogs had to stay Trogs until there was a crowd of at least 10.

This worked. No fussing, no complaining, no faraway look, and pretty good results the first time he carried ones into the tens column.

When Ben can complete a page of any two-digit numbers being added to any other two-digit numbers, his reward is a round of golf at Golfland. His success rate must be at least 80%. He is getting close. I believe that carrying is a pretty big milestone for a first grader, so we have a special goal established for this.

Look for us on the links!

I am so grateful for a brain that can come up with alternatives, and for such wonderful children.

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