A few quick conversations


Sometimes we just have very short conversations that are worth sharing here, but not worth their own full posts. Here are three such conversations…

In the middle

The main television in our house is in the parents’ bedroom. As a result, 99% of the kids’ TV watching takes place on our bed. The other day, Rachel (my wife) was lying on the bed using the remote to start an episode of The Brady Bunch (the kids’ latest obsession). Griffin was already on the bed. Tabitha entered the room. I was standing up at my dresser, folding clothes.

Tabitha (6 years old): I want to be in the middle!

Rachel: Don’t worry, I am about to get off the bed.

T: But then there will be no middle.

Rachel had misinterpreted Tabitha’s desire to be in the middle as a desire to be in the middle of the bed when in fact she wanted to be the middle person.

T: There is no middle with just 2.

Me: But with 3 there is?

T: Yes.

Me: What are some other numbers that don’t have a middle?

T: Four doesn’t….Five does…Six.

Me: Is there a middle with 0 people?

T: No!

Me: What about 1?

And here, dear readers, I do not have notes about her answer. It was a few weeks back. I invite speculation in the comments, and I will ask her again about whether 1 has a middle.

First grade math

Tabitha has homework this year; both reading and math. The math has been awfully simplistic given her present knowledge. Counting small numbers of cows in a picture, filling in numbers on a hundreds chart, that sort of thing.

She has declared that it is too easy.

I asked her about this one night.

Me: When you do math in school, is it different from this or a lot like what you have for homework?

Tabitha: It’s the same mostly.

Me: How do you feel about that?

T: OK.

Me: Which makes you think harder, school math or daddy math talks?

T (smiling): Daddy math.


Perhaps it was the same evening, perhaps a different one recently, Tabitha wrote the wrong number for the number of cows in the picture. She caught her error and expressed frustration at needing to erase.

In a desperate attempt to bring something new to this task, I told her not to be frustrated.

Me: One of my favorite things to do in class is to fix a number on the board without erasing. My very favorite example is turning a 2 into a 3.

I demonstrate. Tabitha is eager to try.

Me: Also, a 5 can become an 8 quite easily. And 7s are easy to turn into 9s.

She has a fine time practicing and dreaming up new number-fixing techniques.


A week or so later, she is filling out a hundreds grid and becomes very excited to do the 80s row. Each and every 8 begins as a 5 and is corrected. She is very pleased with herself.

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