Mathmatics Living Teaching DVD Q…

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  • cedargirl


    I was taking rough notes on the segments up to place value last night. When we got to 10, and you showed the writing of 1-9 in a column and then how 10 gets marked under it, I thought, 0 is missing. Is it fine to introduce 0 in the 1 lesson? For example:

    How many buttons do you have?

    I haven’t any buttons.

    Well, we can call that zero. No buttons or none of any object is called zero.

    if I give you a button, how many do you have!


    correct! One! Now if you give me back the button, how many will you have?


    You get the picture.  Is this Ok to do? I see an opportunity for them to discover a repeated pattern of 0-9 and the begins again when the 0 of the numeral 10 is written under the 9. Do you know what I mean?

    As well, on the days of introducing 10, 11, 12,…

    do I get the child to write the column of 0-9 (or 1-9) each time before writing down 10, etc. Good practice or too taxing at early stage?

    I tried to insert a photo of my notebook page illustrating my point but could not from this phone.

    Richele Baburina

    Understood without the photo 🙂  I’ll try to get back to answer this today.


    Richele Baburina

    Hello cedargirl,

    My apologies for being unable to attend to your question immediately.  Your first question asked if it is okay to introduce zero in the first lesson and gave some nice examples of how it would be done.  I checked in my  collection of arithmetic books Charlotte’s schools used to see if any dealt with the number 0 and they don’t.

    Sometimes I fantasize of having a “WWCD” bracelet but then remember we have something better…her 20 Principles.  Charlotte advised her graduates of the teaching college, teachers and administrators to work out their specific questions using the 20 Principles of the philosophy of education.  Since I like to think about this kind of stuff, bear with me as I think through it aloud (remembering that math falls outside her rule of literary presentation so we don’t get to run wild here).

    Principle #11 says that “facts are not presented without their informing ideas.”  The examples you’ve given seem to offer ideas (big thumbs up) so it will be up to you to see if the concept of zero on the first day isn’t too abstract for your child/ren.  Irene Stephens, Ambleside’s Lecturer in Mathematics, tells us that when children enter school (at six) they find that they know how to count but they “know nothing of the properties of numbers.”  Likewise, our children usually learn to count with the number 1.  Miss Stephens also said they found it a good practice to present math the way it was historically presented to man so my own theory is that it might come later in the sequence since zero was accepted so much later in history and when it was, it was as a place holder.  In the scope and sequence we see zero introduced as signifying “no units.”

    That’s my very long way of saying, introduce it in the beginning along with the accompanying ideas if you like and see how it goes.  It may work out, it may not.  Charlotte didn’t always get it right the first time (e.g., The ABC of Arithmetic which was recommended in Volume 1 was found to not fit CM’s philosophy upon use).

    Your second question was on how often to write that column of numbers.  My experience is that once is enough for that idea to take hold and if your child is writing neatly in their math notebook and there is space then subsequent numbers can be written underneath as they are learnt (this means working out sums on a different page).

    I hope this information is helpful.  Although I haven’t found zero addressed specifically in Charlotte’s writing it doesn’t mean that something new might be entered in the CM database at Redeemer College that sheds new light on things but we are always sure that her principles remained the same.  Another very wonderful things is that just as Charlotte’s faith extended to the children, it also extended to the teachers.  Enjoy your time of teaching and working out the method and principles in your arithmetic lessons and let me know how that number zero goes.



    p.s.  There is a superb documentary called “The History of One” that also deals with zero.  It is a fun and informative watch if you are interested.


    Thank you Richele! I will look for that documentary, I enjoy them. I did notice this morning in the Ray’s New Primary Arithmetic, lessons V and VI, that children are to be asked orally to write “naught” for zero. I am guessing since no one calls it naught anymore, I should then continue by using “zero”? And now that I think about it, we Canadians say zero and possibly it is common in the USA to just say “oh”? Ok, last Q not important, but I will press on as suggested by you above and let you know how it goes!

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