Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hello Parents!

Hi Parents!

Thank you for dropping by and feel free to check in on fun and creative ways to teach your child math, as well as personal thoughts and sharings by me :)

I have recently been reading perspectives on teaching Math from Elementary and Middle School Mathematics: Teaching Developmentally" by John A. Van de Walle, Karen S. Karp and Jennifer M. Bay-Williams, a textbook from my math module for my course of study. I hope my sharings from the text will be helpful to you as you and your child embark on this learning journey of discovering new ways to learn Math!

Teaching Mathematics in the 21st Century

Mathematical competence opens doors to productive futures - NCTM (2000, p.50)

Indeed, math is needed as we pursue future goals and dreams. It is seen everywhere in our environment. Symmetry in buildings, calculations made when purchase of things are made, and even in the measurements of making delicious cupcakes. Math is used everywhere :)

Children should therefore be encouraged to explore and seek out math solutions in every day problems. They will see that:
  • Learning to communicate in math fosters interaction and exploration of ideas,  
  • It is also important to see how mathematical concepts build on one another in a network of connected ideas. 
  • Math plays a significant role in art, science, language arts and social studies. 
They can then:
  • Make sense of problems and persevere 
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively
  • Model and understand Mathematics
We as teachers strive to help our students appreciate and understand math concepts by:

  • Creating an environment that offers all students an equal opportunity to learn
  • Ensuring Students' engagement in problem solving, reasoning, communication etc.
  • Using technology to enhance understanding, which is useful in today's day and age. 
A great learning posture is definitely encouraged for all teachers who are teaching Math. We need to persist and have a positive attitude and be ready for change, as Math is ever changing! And at the end of the day, we need to be reflective and evaluate how well the students have understood our teaching and whether they are familiar with the processes and are able to apply them.

Exploring What It Means To Know And Do Mathematics

Children will come to know that math is all about pattern and order. Different numbers add up to the same total number. In reading story sums, children learn the language of maths using words such as: explain, compare, describe, predict, explore, formulate.

In experiencing discovery using math tools such as cubes, counters, measuring rods, spinners, children have fun with math building and taking away bite size concepts of how more or less works, or a quarter of a fraction is covered, and even measuring cubes to build the Great wall of China!

A personal sharing on projects with my K2s 

Mount Fuji with blocks

 Great wall of China (Mini version)

 During block play: a massive castle structure built by my boys.

My 6 year olds embarked on building famous landmarks a few weeks ago. They were learning about how famous landmarks around the world are built according to equal numbers of bricks, and created their own Great Walls, much to my delight. I was so proud of them at how they calculated equal number of cubes on each side would make their structure sturdy and not fall over. They incorporated colours too, to mark certain portions of their Great Walls. All these encouraged thinking and planning, and they put their problem solving skills to good use when buildings did not stand firm and fall over. I see these skills in their block play as well, and it goes back to building good foundations of equal cubes/blocks on each side, which is Math!

Self discovery is definitely a great platform for children to learn, and with the teachers' guidance in learning how to use the math tools given, the children will be engaged in meaningful activity. Other examples include: two coloured beans help children to learn about number bonds, which build onto addition and subtraction, and shading of coins help children recognise how money looks like, before moving on to discuss the value of money to carry out exchanges in buying things.

We encourage children in their pursuit of learning and they will then be able to recall and retain what they have learnt, which is so important! They develop reasoning skills, improved attitudes and beliefs, and an effective learning of new concepts, with a productive disposition.  

More to come soon! May your math journey with your child be a wonderful world of discovery and fun!

Ms Jane