Here’s a BIG idea that can transform why and how you teach math:

Mathematics and arithmetic are not the same thing. Arithmetic is part of math. It is not equal to math. It is a portion of, a subset of math.

Math is another way (similar to reading) in which we represent the real world with symbols. It is a language. Arithmetic is one small skill set of math.

So sure, in elementary ages, children learn arithmetic. But they need to be taught much more; they need to be at least exposed to the big ideas of mathematics. Most of the books below introduce some of the BIG ideas of MATH. These need and deserve equal time with arithmetic skills. (Hear the difference between “skills” and “ideas”?) And as with most ideas, they are fun!

So read some good math today! (And on down the list, I do have my favorite textbooks. But they are all concept oriented rather than skill, drill, and kill oriented!)

The Adventures of Penrose, the Mathematical Cat by Theoni Pappas and her other books

Anno’s Mysterious Multiplying Jar by Anno and his other math books

The Man Who Counted by Malba Tahan

On Beyond a Million by David Schwartz

I Hate Mathematics Books by Marilyn Burns

Domino Addition by Lynette Long

How Do You Count a Dozen Ducklings by In Seon Chae

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara

Murderous Maths by Kjartan Poskitt (a series and a favorite!)

The Number Devil by Hans Magnus Enzensberger (another favorite)

One Watermelon Seed by Celia Lottridge

Piece=Part=Portion: Fractions=Decimals=Percents by Scott Gifford

Prehistoric Actual Size by Steve Jenkins

Sir Cumference and the First Round Table by Cindy Neuschwander

A Very Improbable Story by Edward Einhorn

The Wishing Club by Donna Jo Napoli

Women and Numbers: Lives of Women Mathematicians by Teri Perl

You Can, Toucan, Math by David Adler

Family Math for Young Children by Grace Coates (favorite!)

Games for Math by Peggy Kaye (favorite!)

Calculus for Cats by Kenn Amdahl

Algebra Unplugged by Jim Loats (favorite)

Family Math: The Middle School Years by Mayfield-Ingram

Usborne’s Help Your Child Learn Number Skills (out of print but well worth chasing down a used copy)

Miquon Math by Key Curriculum Press

Buki workbooks (for local readers, Twirl toy store in Taos has these)

Cuisenaire rods (with Math Made Meaningful card activity set), you will use these for years and there are many unit books available for learning with them

Math-U-See curriculum

Key to (Metrics, Percents, etc) by Key Curriculum Press

Base Ten block set

DIME blocks and workbooks (spatial thinking and drawing)

Teaching Textbooks series (the covers look like a yellow legal pad)

Harold Jacobs’ Mathematics, Algebra, Geometry textbooks

Hands On Equations (algebra manipulative set) (this is really impressive!)