Many of us are stuck in the era where learning Math is through memorizing formulae and conventions. Did we have a choice back then? No!Yes...we did it the tough way and somehow managed but have you wondered what happened to the rest of us who can't seem to understand Math that way? Those memorizing and conventions are deemed unsuitable for most of our children now.
Let's Math be fun! Let children have that great learning experience behind those numbers...
It is important to let children learn other things like spotting patterns, sorting in a task rather than drilling them with worksheets...
"You cannot imagine well what you have experience"
Learning Math can be interesting. It can be done through through stories, paintings, posters or movies.
Here is one example on how we can teach "Whole Numbers Using Stories"...
Children learns better through Concrete, Pictorial and Astract approach (CPA)
Concrete: Using visuals and manipulatives like counters, unifix cubes allows children to explore and discover Math problems. Children who are kinesthetic learners would find this useful as they use their hands to work on the product.
Pictorial: Visualisation is the mind's version to see. Children apply their prior knowledge (what they have learnt and seen) in solving Math.
Abstract: Once children has sufficient concrete and pictorial experience, they will then be able to challenge themselves to solve the problem.
Here I am learning about Elementary Math! Never thought that I would have to flip over a thick textbook all about Math. It is not that Math is my least favourite subject but I am not as confident if I can pick up the concepts and skills that will be taught.
Nevertheless, let's look forward for this module to be interesting. Most importantly, I hope to apply what will be taught into my teachings in class....
Chapters 1 & 2
I am sure many of you have the same concerns and struggles when it comes to coaching Math to your children. I do...as a teacher I do not deny that it is challenging to teach Math to a classroom of children with various learning milestones. However, there are solutions to each challenges. So can you.
Through this blog, I hope to share some useful strategies which you can apply on your children. To begin with, let me share why Math is being taught in schools.
Firstly, let me share the 3 out of the 6 principles for school mathematics:
Excellence in mathematics education requires equity - high expectationsand strong support for all students (NCTM, 2000, p.12)
This principle meant that Math is an important skill that each child must learn. It is an extremely a life-long learning subject. This is because Math is around us, encircling us in our daily lives. Have you ever wondered what it is without Math? Are we able to tell the time? Will we be able to describe objects (eg. colours/shapes/sizes)? Will we be able to buy things independently without getting cheated? Will we be able to know how much weight we need to lose? :(
A curriculum is more than a collection of activities: it must be coherent, focused on importtant mathematics, and well articulated across the grades. (NCTM, 2000, p. 14)
Indeed teachers and parents need to have a set of guidelines on what children ought to be taught according to the age group. Thus, a set of curriculum will be set to educate teachers and parents to teach the developmentally appropriate Math skills on the children. The curriculum not only informs us on the mathematical skills and concepts to teach but it will only guides us to plan interesting activities for the children. I strongly believe that in order to entice Math interest in children, teachers/parents can plan interesting and hands-on activities in class or at home.
Effective mathematics teaching requires understanding what students know and need to learn and then challenging and supporting them to learn it well. (NCTM, 2000, p. 16)
As teachers and parents, we need to assess the child's learning ability in the subjects. It is important that children's learning is being scaffold so that children will be able to grasp concepts with understanding. As Math is mostly the least favourite subject for all, teachers and parents thus have to ensure that the teaching approach is fun and creative to make it more enticing. To me, Math is a subject that should be learnt through hands-on approach. At home, parents can use the simplest things around them to teach Math concepts. For example, using clothes pegs and hangers to do number bonds activity and using food to learn fractions.
With 3 of these principles that I've shared, I hope it has certainly enlightened your worries for Mathematics.
I would like to share how the classroom environment plays an important role in teaching Mathematics:-
1) Persistence, effort and concentration
Lots of motivation and support are shared in our classroom to encourage each other to work on Math. It is important that each child to try his best and not to give up on his Math task. Practice makes Math better and perfect!
2) Students share their ideas and listen to to each other
We listen to each other's ideas in class. It is important that each sharing and ideas are respected and addressed. Children learns better this way and being confident to share allows children to not be afraid to make mistakes. By sharing our knowledge, we will be able to discover that there may be more ways to solve a problem.
3) Errors or strategies that didn't work are opportunities for learning
I consistently share with the children that it is fine to make mistakes. Mistakes allows us to work on tasks better and make us more efficient.
4) Students look for and discuss connections
Understanding a concept or skill will be more effective if students practice applying what was taught to other tasks or even to to their daily lives.