Sunday, January 27, 2013

Math Song Contestant #1

A few days ago, I began blogging about my quest to help my children learn their math facts.  In my journey I found four math cds that I love, each for different reasons.  I previewed a lot of cds on Amazon before finding a few that I enjoyed for both the lyrics and tunes.  The first cd I hadn't heard at all before my kids and I began listening to it.  I had seen the words for one of the songs and I was curious.

Contestant #1:  One Hundred Sheep, Skip Counting From the Gospels 

This CD has been published by Common Sense Press, the same publisher who publishes Learning Language Arts Through Literature.  This cd has 9 songs.  Children learn to skip count by 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, 6s, 7s, 8s, 9s, and 10s.  But, this isn't your normal preschool skip-counting sesame street cd.  The tunes are catchy and fun.   They are fast, though, so your children may have a hard time catching the lyrics at first.  The first time we listened, my oldest daughter declared that she didn't like the cd.  I explained to her that when songs are fast and we don't know what people are saying, then we usually aren't prone to "liking" a song.  I suspected that once we sat down and listened to the songs and read the words, the girls and Eli would love the cd.    A few days later we found out that I was right.

What I love about this cd is both the skip counting and the meaning of the lyrics.  On Thursday, my kids and I sat while I read the lyrics and discussed what the songs are about.  The first song is about a boy named Ezra who hears about Jesus' birth from the angels.  He counts the angels by 2s.  Each song is based on biblical passage(s).  I read the passages to my girls and they enjoyed the songs.  The second song counts the years of Jesus' life by 3s.  I don't think my girls or I will forget that Jesus lived 33 years.  The songs prompted a good discussion between my girls and me.  I have read these Bible stories to my children many times already in their short lives, but these songs allowed them to hear and think about them a little differently.  I used these songs as our morning devotion.  After playing the songs that morning, Autumn's new declaration was "Mommy, I love these songs!  I wish I had learned to skip count before addition and multiplication.  Eli is lucky he gets to!".  She went on to explain that she's always struggled with 3s, so she is very glad to be learning to skip count by 3s now.  I listened to her sing the 2s and 3s skip counting throughout the rest of the day.  

My plan is to listen to 1 or 2 songs at a time, read the words and discuss what the songs are about.  These are great songs because they allow children to practice singing along and listening.  I am encouraging my kids to sing along to the skip counting, but listen to and think about the lyrics to the rest of the song.  After we have listened to each of the songs together, we'll listen to the cd in the car.  I love to find music that we can listen to in the car that will help my children learn.  

Skip Counting is the foundation of all of the math facts.  If a child knows skip counting, the math facts will have a foundation to build on.  I've saw this when Autumn learned some skip counting for 5s, 10s, and 25s when she was learning to count money in kindergarten.  I would have loved to have this cd back then.  When Autumn has a question about quarters, I just call that rhythm to her mind and she can count quarters quickly.  

One reviewer on CBD likened the music's style to Jack Johnson's music.  I think it actually reminds me more of the fun music I still enjoy from the 1960s and 1970s.  If you have realplayer installed on your computer, you can listen to a sample HERE.  Scroll down the page and you'll find the link.

This would be an awesome preschool and kindergarten supplement for math.  It would also set the stage for kids to learn their math facts by singing them.   I am excited to use this cd as a part of Eli's PreK and Kindergarten curriculum.   

One of the questions I faced as I listened to each of these cds is:  Is it worth the money?  A set of good flash cards costs $8 or so.  This cd is $13 on CBD.  A math facts quiz book costs about that much.  If your child is an auditory learner, I would say it is definitely worth it.  If you, like me, have a hard time finding the time to daily go over skip counting, then again--yes, it's definitely worth it.  If you're looking for a Bible-based cd for  a devotional change, then it's worth it.  If you're looking for a supplemental math resource that your family can listen to when your kids are out of school (if they attend public or private school), then this is a great way to make fun time a learning time without it seeming like homework.  This would be a great cd to listen to over summer break when your children are taking a break from math.  I can think of lots of great reasons to listen to this cd.  

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this cd for review from Common Sense Press.

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