I think Waldorf Math Gnomes are one of the most magical ways to introduce the math processes! It all begins with a story!
Once, a long time ago, there lived a Gnome King. He loved the jewels found deep in the earth and asked for special helpers to fill his treasure chest. Four very special Gnomes came forward offering their services. The first noble Gnome was Gnome Plus. Oh how the idea of gathering jewels for the King's treasure chest excited him!
“Ooo! I can gather 2 plus 2 plus 4 plus more!” He exclaimed.
The Gnome King asked to see his work. “Take this jar and fill it with jewels!”
Off ran Gnome Plus. Every time he found jewels, he added more. “Here's three. Oooo! Plus two! Yes! Plus four.” It was not long before his jar was brimming with jewels. He counted his jewels over and over again. He loved counting his sparkling pile.
Gnome Plus proudly went back to the Gnome King. “Look my King, I have a jar of jewels for your treasure chest!”
The Gnome King was thrilled. Gnome Plus was given a cape and cap of blue and a special sign so that everyone would know his special gift of adding. Gnome Plus stood proud next to his pile of jewels. He guarded it and counted it for the King everyday.
Next, I created a Math Gnome set for each student in my class.
Each set has a Gnome Plus, a little glass jar of jewels, a the magic Plus Circle and the math pad (felt square).
I created a Plus Circle worksheet to go along with the set.
The children place jewels on either side of the divided circle. (I started with 12 jewels in the jar – we added more each day.)
They draw circles to represent their jewels on the worksheet. They have to count the jewels just like Gnome Plus.
And counting these jewels was a treasured activity!
The children loved their Gnomes. “This one is Sparkly,” S told me as she counted her jewels.
I will continue with Gnome Plus for the next two weeks until a pesky little gnome (Gnome Minus) appears and creates havoc for Gnome Plus. Stay tuned!
Hi Sally, love this so much! Remind me what grade you are teaching this year?
First grade! And loving it!
Me too, except I have a combo with second grade too.
Sooo, our state has adopted Common Core, which leaves subtraction to second grade. I feel so strange doing that!
Hi Sally, I loooove this! You are such an inspiration!
Hi it’s a great story… my daughter is in grade 1 but not in an waldorf school because my city doesn’t have one…. where can I find gnome minus
Can’t wait to see what Gnome Minus gets up to! This is so cute.
Love this idea. Where did you find the little wooden figures to decorate?
At our local craft stores, we have Michael’s and Hobby Lobby that have all kinds of wooden shapes!
Hi, where to you get the wooden gnomes and glass jars? Loved you story!
Love digging through the craft stores for all of the glass, jewels, and wooden pieces-we have Hobby Lobby and Michael’s.
Hi, this is wonderful! I am teaching grade one as well using gnome stories. Would you share your reasoning behind the circle pieces? Wondering if it’s basically a visual of # +# = a whole?
I teach kindergarten….. I think the kids would really enjoy this!
This is truly wonderful Sally, thank you so much! Very much looking forward to seeing what Gnome Minus gets up to!
Thanks for your good work, Sally! This is such fun.
Love this! You are so inspiring!
… oh wath a wonderful story and method to learn math!
A big hugs from Italy.
This is a great story for Plus! Did you ever get around to the others? 🙂
These are great! Have you posted the rest of the story? My students are showing signs that they are ready to move on to subtraction now and I’d love to add to their Gnome collection and tell them the story.
No I have not posted the rest – but it is on my to-do list! lol!
Hi, my children loved this story!! Thank you for sharing it. They are really excited about what’s going to come next. There’s speculation about an entire kingdom which they want to build lol!
It would be wonderful if you could post the next part 🙂
I hope to eventually!!
Do you have the rest of the story? I love your version of Gnome Plus, and would love to have the story for Gnome Minus!
So glad you enjoyed it Erin! Sorry I don’t have Gnome Minus right now. I will update the post when we are able to add the story for Gnome Minus!
thank you. how to tech about minus,times and divides? thank you. 🙂
Hi. I really loved your story – thank you so much for sharing. I am going tell it and do the worksheets with my kids.
Do you have a link for the other stories?
Camilla from Denmark
Unfortunately I do not at this time. But if you do a search online – there are many Waldorf sources for math gnome stories.