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Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Minute

A minute is only 60 seconds long, but depending upon where you are, or what you're doing, it can seem like a whole lot longer (or a whole lot less). Does that mean that time is flexible? What does it mean to a child?

For the minute, there are not one, but two books that can start a child on the path to understanding.


Not surprisingly, both books have the same title--Just a Minute.

Just a Minute, by Bonny Becker, is a picture book [JP BEC]. Here's the publisher's synopsis:
"I'll be just a minute!" Johnny MacGuffin's mother calls as she sails away past the purses and plates, up the up excalator in Bindle's department store.

Johnny is stuck waiting again.

The minutes crawl and soon Johnny is sure days have flown by, and months have come and gone. He's waited so long that he's even grown up, bought a house on the hill, and had kids!
It doesn't exactly sound like a math concept book, does it? However, many instructors use it when teaching time to students. (For lists of other time related books useful to teachers, click here and here.)

The second book, Just a Minute!, by Teddy Slater, is found in the "beginning reader" section [E SLA]. Just a Minute! is part of the "Hello Math Reader" series, and thus was written specifically to teach the concept of time. It starts with a story about a boy named Fred who doesn't know what a minute is. The story is readable by a child on his/her own. The end of the book contains activities for parents or teachers to use to reinforce or expand on the concepts learned through the story. It sounds like it could be boring, but it's not! For the first and second grade reader, the results of Fred's telling Rags the puppy, "Just a minute," when he needs to go out, are exactly what they'd expect!

Sometimes adults exaggerate what can be accomplished in a minute. This can be seen in The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard [658 BLA]--one minute alone won't make you a good manager, but I suppose the accumulation of well-spent minutes could help!

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