Last Friday I had the pleasure of visiting my friend B’s kindergarten class in San Francisco, California. I met her teachers and her friends. I saw the class toys and books. B introduced me to the class frogs, birds, and fish. I watched her dance with her friends and then get ready to go on a field trip to the pumpkin patch. It was so lovely and reminded me of how much I loved being a kindergarten teacher. The room was alive with activity and the children were electric with excitement about the day’s activities.
Outside the room, B showed me this poster.
B explained how they learned “odd” and “even”. The teacher asked them to count using their fingers. For “1” you put up your pointer finger on one hand, and for “2” you put up your pointer finger from the other hand. If both fingers are up, then they are partners and you put them together. Every number that has a partner (2, 4, 6) is “even” and every number that is alone is odd (1, 3, 5). You continue that way, middle fingers, ring fingers, and pinkies. In the picture below, the number 5 is represented by the ring finger that does not have a partner. Therefore, it is odd.
I know that these children are a bit older than many of yours and most of them already have a strong number sense, but I still like the idea of this even for younger children. First, I appreciate that the age board is a departure from the typical Birthday Boards that I usually see and second, the counting system is interesting as it reinforces one-to-one correspondence, is easy to do and can be expanded as children get older.
B explained to me that she was “odd” because she was 5. I asked her what would happen next week when she celebrates her 6th birthday. She looked at me like I was a simpleton and said, “I will be six and move to the other side of the board.”