Thursday, December 27, 2012

Learning to count and subtract with a Jamaican Centipede Rhyme

My preschoolers loved learning to count with  A Caribean Counting Book by Faustin Charles and Robertan Arenson. We enjoyed the book so much the first couple of times through, that I thought we could get more use out of some of the math rhymes.  To help  us get the most out each rhyme, I started making up visuals. This activity is for the Jamaican Centipede Rhyme.

Try this fun counting game based on a number rhyme from Jamaica.

How to make your centipede finger puppets

1.  Start with an approximately 2x5 inch rectangle.

Learning to count with a Jamaican Centipede Rhyme

2. Cut out the basic shapes.  The base is a rectangle.  Perch an oval in the middle, then top the oval with a circle, and top the circle with a triangle.

Learning to count as Jamaican centipede rhyme

3.  Cut out the center part of the triangle to form two antennae.  Cut snippets all along the oval to form legs.  

Learning to count with Jamaican Centipede rhyme

4. Tape the edges of the rectangle together, such that the band fits over your finger.                                          Repeat nine times.

10 centipede

Ten centipede a road, crawlin' along,
Tired pickney chase dem all day long!
Nine centipede a road, beatin' they chest,
Eight centipede a road, siddin down takin' rest!
Seven centipede a road, all come last,
Six centipede a road, run so fast!
Five centipede a road, run in de sea,
Four centipdede a road, chase de pickney!
Three centipede a road, big an' thick,
Two centipede a road, run quick,
One centipede a road, lookin'slick!


*pickney means children

Learning to count with Jamaican Centipede Rhyme

How a number rhyme becomes a lesson

We start by counting how many centipedes we have.  My son can now count all the centipedes, or I count with my daughter.  Last time we played, my son looked at the centipedes on all of my fingers, and said, "ten, you have one on each finger."  That's the number sense we're after!  

I read the first line of the rhyme, then let them to pick which centipede the children caught and remove it from my hand.  We then recount the centipedes.  Arriving at the number nine, I read the next line of the rhyme and tell them to take away another centipede.  We continue all the way to the end of the rhyme.  Sometimes while we're saying the rhyme, I pause to let them try to fill in the next rhyming word.  

What they learn through this rhyme

Most of the educational value is achieved by repeating the rhyme.  Hearing the rhyming words reinforces phonological awareness, and important pre-reading skill.  In this format, my son (4) is happy to practice counting every number one through ten, achieving the needed practice for mastery.  It's also a good early introduction to subtraction; he's already learned that one less than ten is nine.  For her part, little sister (2) takes over counting once we get down to three, and she loves taking her turn at removing a centipede.

I've pulled out this rhyme out six or seven times in the past couple of months, often by request.
We're still enjoying it, and hope you will too!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I can't wait to hear what you have to say! Thanks for sharing.