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• Index 371-386

work with rulers, measuring cups, spoons, and other measuring instruments was fairly infrequent, with two-thirds of teachers (66 percent) reporting use of them three times per month or less.

Generalized teaching strategies and activities are defined as those that can apply to a variety of the NCTM mathematics standards. The most prominent generalized strategy was calendar-related activities, which occurred on a daily basis in over 90 percent of the classrooms surveyed, this despite the fact that mathematics educators do not consider most calendar activities to be useful early childhood mathematics instruction and have serious questions about the efficacy of “doing the calendar” every day (see Box 7-1).

More than half of the teachers reported using the following strategies and activities twice a week or more: playing mathematics-related games, explaining how a mathematical problem is solved, doing mathematical

BOX 7-1

How Using the Calendar Does Not Emphasize Foundational Mathematics

Many preschool and kindergarten teachers spend time each day on the calendar, in part because they think it is an efficient way to teach mathematics. Although the calendar may be useful in helping children begin to understand general concepts of time, such as “yesterday” and “today,” or plan for important events, such as field trips or visitors, these are not core mathematical concepts. The main problem with the calendar is that the groups of seven days in the rows of a calendar have no useful mathematical relationship to the number 10, the building block of the number system. Therefore, the calendar is not useful for helping students learn the base 10 patterns; other visual and conceptual approaches using groups of 10 are needed because these patterns of groups of 10 are foundational.

Time spent on the calendar would be better used on more effective mathematics teaching and learning experiences. “Doing the calendar” is not a substitute for teaching foundational mathematics.

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