Tuesday, June 10, 2014

PJ Puzzles PK-2 Storytime (with Bedtime Math)

oversized tangrams
Hey everybody: I did a program where the oldest kid participant was 8 years old. AND it was not pop-culture-based. AND the attendees LIKED it!

I feel like I have to start this off by saying: I wasn't the biggest fan of Bedtime Math when I first heard about it. This is because:
When they rhetorically ask, "We read bedtime stories right before bed! Why not do math?"
This is supposed to elicit the following response in the reader:
"Hmm, yes, why not?"
BUT: I really feel like the CLEAR ANSWER to this question is:
"...because listening to stories for fun employs cognitive skills that are far less demanding than math, even when done 'for fun' (you know, Webb's Depth of Knowledge and all that)."

Here's where that gets us into a pickle:
a. Children need a good night's rest to perform well in school.
b. Higher-demand cognitive processing delays sleep, not even starting with the fact that math anxiety is a real thing.
Check out these tips for a good night's sleep. Not one involved doing a word problem. Kids need wind-down time, too.

This is not at all to say that we shouldn't make a point to include mathematical themes in play and throughout the day as much as possible. I have strong opinions on this and how we're doing math all the time and we need to be deliberate about it so our kids realize that. This is why I really, really like Bedtime Math's new offering, Crazy 8's. Everything they do comes with scripts and everything! And I do appreciate that they emphasize on their website that it's about adding math to a daily routine whenever that happens!


I called the program "PJ Puzzles" due to Wanting to Sound Fun. I also only did one of the two suggested Bedtime Math activities, and wanted to reflect that. Here is how my program went:
1. Promoted SLP and storytimes, sign-ups for both of which are happening right now.
2. Read "Dinosaur vs. Bedtime" by Bob Shea, inviting Audience Participation Roars to rev everyone up.
3. Explained that some of the things we would do today were part of Bedtime Math, and talked a little about that was (not at all related to what you just read).
4. Read "The Perfect Square" by Michael Hall. One of the activities I had the kids do, after reading this book, was rip up pieces of colored tissue and glue them in different shapes on a piece of weird scrapbooky cardstock from our basement. They ended up with some really artsy creations.
5. Explained and let them loose on 2 stations: one was the The Perfect Square station, and the other was a station with Bedtime Math Tans and their printable tangram pictures. During this time I put together the gift bags provided by Bedtime Math, complete with brochures, fridge magnets, blank dominoes and stickers to make them at home. We also had received enough Bedtime Math oversized tans that I could give one set to each family!
6. Read "Race You to Bed!" by Bob Shea: We started out with 2 big, deep breaths to help us relax. And yes, I did address that it was another book by Bob Shea even though it was a very different book!

They've discontinued the program now, but if you still haven't held YOUR Bedtime Math Pajama Party check out this post by Anne at So Tomorrow for a more orthodox program.

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