Horton Hears a Who is a Dr. Seuss classic, with revived interest from the younger generation thanks to Hollywood. This story is a great tale of the commitment and unselfishness of Horton, and the importance of cooperation and individual contribution from the Who’s. It reiterates the famous line, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” That’s something every young child can appreciate! Reading this story also incorporates some fantastic language components including new vocabulary, such as “shirking” and “keen”, and as always, Dr. Seuss’ rhymes are great for building phonemic awareness! Use this story in conjunction with teaching social skills, while doing a Dr. Seuss author study, or as part of a zoo or jungle theme.
After reading and discussing the story, do a little clover mathas an activity! Buy a multi-colored package of pom poms from your local craft store. The ones I used recently were sized about 1 inch, and that was a great size for the little fingers. You’ll want to get enough for each of the children you’re working with to have several to use. These are your clovers. Just as Horton protected his one special clover, assure the children that at the end of the activity, each child may select one special clover to keep. Use the pom pom clovers as you would any other math manipulative and give the children at least 5-10 minutes to use them and explore with them as such. Here are some suggested ways to use these pom poms as math manipulatives:
Count. How many pom poms do you have? It’s the simplest way to go with math manips, but can evolve into so much more! Be sure that the number of pom poms you give the children corresponds with their proximal counting range.
Sort, and Count Again. Sort by colors. Count the groups. Which color do you have the most of? Ask questions and encourage math vocabulary growth by using terms like “more”, “less”, “most”, “least”, etc.
Build a Graph. With sorted colors from above, you can build a graph to show very quickly which color has the most to the least and put them in ascending or descending order. Some children will even build the graph in that order intentionally.
Make a Pattern. Use the different colors to make patterns. Some children may do this on their own, others may need a “What should come next?” type of prompt. Start with the basic ABA or ABC patterns before proceeding to the more complex, such as ABBA, or AABB, if that’s needed.
Group Count. For older children, you may want to group several children together and have them count their combined clovers by organizing them into groups of tens and then, of course, counting by tens. This is definitely an advanced skill, but one to be aware of for those who may be ready for such a challenge!
The sky’s the limit! You can use these pom pom clovers to do almost any math practice to match the level of your little clover counters! As promised, let each child choose a very special clover to keep when all the play work is done!