ATTN: iPad users! If this post doesn’t display properly, with all its nifty graphic and text links, try here. Stuart’s workshop on Visual Learning and Story Telling in Early Childhood Education will take place on Friday, January 27, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m., in Room 192C, West Building, McCormick Place. Hope to see you there!
Posts Tagged ‘Mathstart’
Does your class like make maps? We would love to see and share them!
We are still basically newbies on Facebook, just starting to get our social media sea-legs (ahem, ahem: please “like” us…and tell your friends!) We have been experimenting with features such a “MathStart Book of the Day!” and, of course, news about Stuart’s new Pre-K series, I See I Learn.
It has been delightful to see who has discovered us. We have made some wonderful new connections.
Mr. Murphy: The students in my class are confused about the weird pictures in your book Treasure Map. We love the book and love the pictures, but we do not understand why there are giant objects by the small kids. Any help explaining these crazy pictures to us? Thanks a bunch. Please write back.
— Mr. Jason and the Star Room Kids, Circle School, SA, TX
I handle most of the posts for Stuart on Facebook and Twitter (@vizlearning), so wrote a brief reply, but clearly this called for Stuart’s insights.
Hello Mr. Jason & the Star Room Kids!
I love this question!
Janet’s right. Tricia Tusa, the illustrator, wanted to emphasize the fact that a map represents a section of the real world at another scale. Therefore, on pages 8-9, the map actually “becomes” the environment that it represents. On pages 10-11, the members of the Elm Street Kids’ Club have been reduced to the scale of the map and actually step right into it. From that point on, Tricia plays with dimension and scale to complement what is happening in the story.
On page 30, Tricia brilliantly added the returning Rocky River Rascals to her illustration. This was not part of the manuscript. She wanted readers to be constantly thinking of time, place, size, dimension and scale.
You didn’t ask about the “upside-down” map on the endpapers. Again, this was Tricia’s idea. She positioned the map, which is of Houston, where Tricia lived at the time, to be from the point of view of Matthew, who is pictured carrying the map, rather than from the perspective of the reader.
Here’s an idea for the visually alert Star Room Kids. Maybe they could create a map of their classroom, cafeteria or playground. Then they could try to figure how big the desks, tables, or they themselves would be at that scale. If it’s really cool, you can send it to us and we’ll include it on our blog.
We would love to see maps of every classroom, cafeteria and playground! If your class has some fantastic maps you would like to share, please send photographs to feedback (@) stuartjmurphy (dot) com. Be sure to include contact information.
Did you know that Treasure Map is one of six MathStart stories featured in a new musical called The Main Street Kids’ Club? The play was adapted by the talented Scott (“Schoolhouse Rock Live!”) Ferguson through a special workshop class at Northwestern University. It’s a lot of fun. The music is great and the math is spot on!
If you know a regional theatre that would be interested in performing the show or would like to find out about school tours, please get in touch with Scott at TheatreBAM Chicago.
It’s the Main Street Kids’ Club / Where the laughs are loud in the the fun is free / We’re in the Main Street Kids’ Club / That’s the MSKC to you and me!
- Creative Cartography: 7 Must-Read Books on Maps / Maria Popova, Brain Pickings
Preschool Roundtable on libraries and school readiness: Sunday, January 9, 4:00 – 5:30, Room 30B, SD Convention Center
While Stuart prepares for an incredible trip to Qatar, India and China (MathStart in Chinese!—but that’s another post for another day…), I will be heading to San Diego for the American Library Association’s Midwinter conference.
It’s no secret that here at vizlearning we love librarians. Indeed, I am the daughter of one (officially retired, but an active member of a legendary 50+ year Great Books group). I remember learning how to sign my name just so I could get my very own library card. Rites of passage don’t get better than that.
So I was thrilled when Sue Nespeca asked me to talk about school readiness and Stuart’s new series, I See I Learn, at the Preschool Discussion Group roundtable.
Just like MathStart books, I See I Learn stories use visual learning strategies to reinforce learning.
Visual learning and young children are a natural fit. Long before children can read, or even speak many words,they are accomplished visual learners. They understand illustrations and photographs with ease, as well as more abstract representations such as symbols and graphs.
Each book focuses on a specific skill from one of four domains:
- Heath and Safety
Stuart’s stories are modeled on real life situations and, just as in real life, often involve more than one skill. For example,”Freda Plans a Picnic,” is about sequencing, a cognitive skill, but the picnic itself is a social event. “Percy Plays It Safe” focuses on playground safety skills, but playing successfully in a group requires self-regulation, an emotional skill.
Jill Bickford, from Michigan’s West Bloomfield Township Public Library, will also be presenting: “How Libraries Can Help Parents Get Their Children Ready for School and Partnering with Schools.”
I sat in on the roundtable at the ALA conference in DC last summer, taking lots of notes. It was fabulous!. After the official presentations, everyone in the group of about 10 librarians had a chance to share ideas about outreach efforts, including ways to weave in the use of digital tools.
If you are a children’s librarian, or a librarian interested in children’s books, please join the group:
Sunday, January 9, from 4 to 5:30 p.m., in room 30B of the San Diego Convention Center.
Although I am not quite Stuart, I promise treats for all! Please spread the word!
* The I See Learn books will be available at the Charlesbridge booth, #1808. Please stop by.
Also, Stuart now has a Facebook page. We are just getting started. Please share with all your FB friends. Thanks!
And, of course, we are on twitter @vizlearning, too.
See you in the cybersphere!
by J.A. Ginsburg
“The books are here!” Stuart beamed as I walked up to the Charlesbridge Publishers booth on the first day of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair last March. “They’re WONDERFUL!” Freda, Percy, Emma, Ajay, Carlos, Camille and the one-and-only Pickle the green bulldog (Woof!) were really real. Other people could see them, too! It was thrilling. The first four books! We stood there. Thrilled.
For the last two years, Stuart and I, collaborating with a spectacular team from Charlesbridge and Tim Jones Illustration, have been living and breathing the development of “I See I Learn,” a new series for young children (and their teachers, parents and caregivers) that helps teach skills important in life and for school.
The books cover social, emotional, health and safety, and cognitive skills. Each story, which has been reviewed by a team of early childhood experts, also includes two pages of questions and activities.
Just as in Stuart’s award-winning MathStart books, visual learning strategies play a key role reinforcing skills. Visual learning is a particularly good fit for young children: They may not be able to read letters yet, but they can “read” visual information with ease. “I See I Learn” books build on this natural talent.
We returned from Italy, wined, dined and even more thrilled, showing our precious sets of books (hardcover and paperback!) to friends and family, wondering how we were ever going to contain ourselves until July, when the books would finally start to be available in stores.
And then came Jacqui Kolar, a reading specialist from Big Hollow school near Chicago, who introduced Stuart for his presentation at the International Reading Association (IRA) conference in April. Who were we kidding? Containment? Back to beaming for us!
Jacqui, who had been given a pre-publication set of books, told the audience about reading “Emma’s Friendwich,” a story about making a friend, with her youngest students. Afterward, she placed the book on the floor, planning to start a casual conversation with the children later. She never got the chance! They started to pore over the story themselves, looking at the pictures and making their very own “friendwiches.” Then, all together, they made a “club friendwich” with Jacqui.
Stuart J. Murphy reads “Emma’s Friendwich”:
Friendwiches. They’re the best!
- “Visual Learning” a brief overview by Stuart J. Murphy
- For Pre-orders & Email Alerts: firstname.lastname@example.org / 800.225.3214
- Library & Bookseller orders: Baker & Taylor, Ingram and, of course, all your favorite local wholesalers, too!
Few things are as nearly as much fun – or satisfying – as seeing an idea become real. This Spring, with the first touring performances of “The Main Street Kids’ Club: A MathStart Musical,” Stuart and I are literally dancing and humming with delight. This is even better than we’d hoped…
Based on six of Stuart’s MathStart books (listed & linked at the bottom of this post), “MSKC” tells a tale of adventure, mystery, friendship and math. And it gets the math right! What’s not to sing about?
It is hard to believe that is all started with a friend’s casual comment about Stuart’s jam-packed schedule and how great it would be if we could only clone him so he could visit more schools to get even more kids excited about math. “A play? Maybe a musical?” We wondered how such things happen.
Serendipity helps. Rives Collins, a gifted storyteller and chair of the Theatre department at nearby Northwestern University, was intrigued when I brought over a stack of a dozen of Stuart’s MathStart books one afternoon. He almost fell over when I told him there were actually 63 titles in all. Clearly, this was going to require the talents of someone undaunted by such a wealth of material, someone who knew how to craft a story that would work as theatre, someone who really understood that math skills are indeed life skills.
Enter Scott Ferguson. Scott, a Northwestern alum, has been working in Chicago theatre for the better part of two decades, both as an actor and director. Included among his many credits is a popular stage adaptation of the 1970’s Saturday morning television classic, “Schoolhouse Rock.” A perfect choice! With Rives paving the way, Scott directed a workshop class, bringing in actor and musician Michael Mahler to collaborate on the score. Michael, also an NU alum, had recently worked on the score for a “How Can You Run with a Shell on Your Back?,” a stage version of Aesop’s Fables that premiered at Chicago’s Tony award-winning Shakespeare Theater. Like Scott, he brought an intuitive sense of how to weave a series of unrelated stories in single compelling story for the stage.
The class was an instant hit. Here was a chance to help develop a new musical! Something that combined literature and math! YES! So many students signed up, they had to be split into two troupes. Stuart came, read stories and talked about the background and philosophy of MathStart and about visual learning. Throughout the development of the script, he was consulted to make sure the math was presented correctly.
Now, with the first performances touring schools in the Chicago area, reviews are coming in from real live kids. “RAD!” says one third-grade critic, giving it an enthusiastic “thumbs up.” A teacher was asked by her class to find out if there’s an album – they loved the music and wanted to hear it again. Great idea!
In the meantime, you can listen to song clips and read more about the production at MainStreetKidsClub.com
- For information on booking a performance or production through Theatrebam Chicago, contact Scott Ferguson at email@example.com or by phone: 773.465-8668
- For information on obtaining the licensing rights to stage an independent production, contact HarperCollins at ChildrensPermissions@HarperCollins.com or by phone: 212.207.7700 or fax: 212.702.2582
Math: It’s a musical thing!
These books are featured in “The Main Street Kids’ Club: A MathStart Musical”:
Treasure Map (Mapping)
Lemonade for Sale (Bar Graphs)
Less Than Zero (Negative Numbers)
100 Days of Cool (Numbers 1 – 100)
Captain Invincible and the Space Shapes (Three-dimensional Shapes)
More or Less (Comparing Numbers)