Monday, July 23, 2012

What I want to know...

  1. What are some strategies that you would suggest to teach Math to slow learners?
  2. What are some other ways I can help children with autism to learn number concepts, other than using concrete visual methods?
  3. What can I do to get children be intrested in learning Mathematics other than the use of technology?

What I have learnt...

  1. As described by National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, mathematical power "includes the ability to explore, conjecture, and reason logically; to solve routine problems; to communicate about and through mathematics; and to construct ideas within mathematics and between other intellectual activity." Mathematical power also involves "the development of personal self confidence and a disposition to seek, evaluate, and use quantitative and spatial information in solving problems and in making decisions. Students' flexibility, perseverance, interest, curiosity, and intuitiveness also effect the realization of mathematical power.
  2. When learning mathematics I need to "get my hands dirty" by trying my best to get the problem fix. I should not give up easily and keep going till I succeed. After taking this module I realised that there are many kind of ways I can do to solve mathematics problems.
  3. Children need to acquire good language to understand math problems therefore in order for children to understand math they need to be good in their language too. If they are not strong in their language then they will have difficulties in understanding the problems and they don't even know what they should do to solve the problems.  
  4. Math is fun when it is being use in games and involved concrete materials.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Math + Technology= Interesting!

It is crucial to use mathematics-based technology as part of mathematics instruction for many different reasons. Technology can help enhance students understanding of mathematics. The power of technology enables students to solve problems quickly and effectively. Students can examine examples that are not feasible by hand to broaden their understanding of a topic.

Technology helps effective mathematics teaching. The use of graphing, visualizing, and computing can all be done using technology. This aids in accuracy of the material being taught. If a student is learning how to graph a function, a calculator can be very helpful to get the exact picture.Technology can help improve students’ visualization and therefore help with a better understanding of the material being taught.

All technology is hands on and I believe that is how many students learn best because they are able to interact. Technology like calculators and computers are of interest to students, they are therefore more likely to pay attention to the material being taught. Kids love playing with technology and if they are told they can use a calculator or a computer, many would be more interested. Therefore, technology can make mathematics more engaging and fun for the students. An example of this is geometers sketchpad. It allows students to visualize and work with shapes. It is a fun application that many students enjoy using.

Some students find Math is a difficult or boring subject but as a teacher we can ask ourself two questions, “Will it allow students to do something they could not have done before?” and “Will it allow students to do something they could have done before but in a better way?”. These two questions are very important because I believe technology can aid in both of those questions. The use of technology can promote a higher level of thinking. There is only so much you can do with just a pencil and paper. Technology can help aid in that higher level of mathematics.

Another important reason to incorporate technology into the classroom is that specific technology can engage students with physical challenges in mathematics. Children with special needs should be able to learn the same material as the rest of the class, and technology can help make this happen. Technology can be useful to a variety of ages. Young children can solve problems using large numbers. Elementary students can arrange and analyze large data sets. Middle school students can study linear relationships and high school students can use simulations. These are just a few of the many things technology can do to help students succeed.

In conclusion, there are many reasons why technology should be used in mathematic classrooms. It enhances students understanding of mathematics, promotes a higher level of thinking, helps improve students’ visualization, and it’s just all around more engaging and enjoyable than the normal paper and pencil.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

What a BIG surprise!

Today class must be super fun but unfortunately I was not able to join in the fun due to high fever and bad cough. Before I sleep, I browse through my Facebook newsfeed and guess what, most of my classmates wrote about a square is a rectangle!

Aha! Geometry!

Huh! A square is a rectangle!
I thought a square is a square and rectangle is a rectangle!

I post a note in Facebook and begging them to share with me what they have learnt.
One of my classmates suggested to look at the defination in Wikipedia.
I read through the defination hmm...very intresting!

As I was reading and trying to figure out how a square is a rectangle.

My understanding says....

All lollipops are candies, but not all candies are lollipops.
All girls are people, but not all people are girls.    
All cars are machines, but not all machines are cars.
same goes to a square is a rectangle!

A rectangle is a shape with 2 sets of parallel sides and 4 right angles, no more and no less.
A square is a shape with 4 sides of equal length. and 4 right angles, no more and no less.
Is a rectangle a square? Well, no. A rectangle does not necessarily have four sides of equal length. However, a square is a rectangle, because it has 2 sets of parallel sides and 4 right angles.

Actually.....a square is a special kind of rectangle too =)
Super Intresting~~

Let's take a look at the diagram below:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


When a child first learning to count, a child counts by rote memorization. Which means he will will say the name of the numbers from 1 through 10 because he memorized the order of the words, "onetwothreefour..." Before a child understand one-to-one correspondence, he count by rote memorization. When asked to count a small group of objects, he will likely count quickly through the numbers he has memorized and randomly point the objects being counted instead of touching and counting each object just once. 

For yesterday lesson, one of my take-away is I learnt about teaching children on how to count  in group. One of the idea that I would to teach my children in class is using dice as grouping tools. As we all know that children in preschool after need to be divided into groups for various activities. Instead of simply telling the children which group they will be placed in, I will hand out flashcards that feature the different sides of a die. Children who received a flashcard with a one will be grouped together, those with a two will be grouped together, and so on. By this stage, children must be able to count the number of spots in their die to determine the group to which they belong.  From this activity, I can also see which children has the ability to subitize the number dots =)

I believe that learning how to count is a skill which is essential for living in today's world. Counting may come easy for some children, mastering the technique many be more difficult for others. Children who gain confidence in their counting skills at a young age are more likely to develop the skills necessary to excel in all areas of their education. Therefore, the teacher role is important in planning mathematical games such as using dice as an educational tool to help children improve math in a non-threatening way.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Interesting & Inspirational

As our children go about their daily lives exploring and discovering things around them, they are exposed to the world of mathematics.

Today, as i enter my first EDU330 math lesson I asked myself 'When is the last time attend Math lesson!' Many yets ago! As i enter the class, I tell myself 'Be positive... Math class is Fun.' I believe positive attitudes about math are important for my own success. I must love & like math. =)

From today's class I learnt that mathematics involves problem solving, communication and reasoning.

Firstly, I need to be a problem solver to investigate and explores problem to find a solution. As I was doing the math lessons, I realized that we need to understand the question carefully before we can even think of how to solve the problem. Therefore, English (language skills) is important too as you need to understand what the questions is all about and what you need to do to solve it.

Secondly, I learnt to communicate mathematically- to use words, numbers or mathematical symbols to explain the situations and also to talk about how I arrived at the answer. During class, we listen to others' way of thinking in solving the problems. I also realized that math problems can be solved in different ways. While some problems in math may have only one solution, but there may be many ways to get the right answer.

Lastly, In learning math we need to have a reasoning ability- to think logically and being able to see similarities and differences about things. While doing the lesson 2, I've got my answer wrong because I forgotten about my algebra. But i tell myself never give up! Wrong answers can help :) Accuracy is always important but a wrong answer help me to discover what I may not understand. The wrong answer helps me to look further, to ask questions and to see what the wrong answer say about my own understanding for that problem.

Math is tricky for many people, but with basic knowledge of mathematics, as well as understanding each math question, it can become relatively easy to approach the solutions.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Math should be FUN!

Many students find learning Mathematics stressful or unpleasant-something they would gladly forgo if given the chance.

Currently, I am teaching the 4 years old children, I was given the N2 class as the teacher went for maternity leave. As I entered the class, the Math corner looks so boring and nothing-with no activities for children to use and there are only two commercial toys available in the corner for children to use.

I tell myself that I want to make a change in this classroom. I want the children to learn Math the fun way. Then I asked myself how and where should I start.

Firstly, I start by doing an assessment- checklist and observation. This assessment helps me to know the children's ability in how much they know on the Math concepts. From the assessment that I've done, I found out that most of the children still doesn't recognise numbers from 1 to 5 and basic shapes. Secondly, I start to set-up the Math corner to ensure it is welcoming and inviting for children. In addition, I gathered resources to create games which focus on number operations 1 to 5 and basic shapes. It took me for almost 2 weeks to implement this change.

Once everything is done, I still remembered that morning when the children came in to the class they were surprised to see the drastic change in the Math corner. One of them said "Wow! I can't wait to play at this corner!" Some of the children were seen pulling out each trays from the shelves to see what games are available for them to play. These are some of the games available at the current Math corner.

This is how the current Math corner looks like:

During corner time most children wants to play at the Math corner. But they know the rules that only 4 children are allowed to play at the Math corner therefore they took turns. After implementing this change, I could see the vast improvement in children's Math learning. I did the assessment again for the second time to see how much they have improved, I could after 1 month after children use the Math corner most of them were able to recognise the number 1 to 5, they are able to count objects using their pointers from 1 to 5 and they can even recognise all the basic shapes.

Furthermore, I also did an observation on the children while they are at the Math corner:

This girl was using the dough to make the shape of circle and triangle. As she was making the triangle she said, "I have to make three snakes (long lines) for my triangle." Next, she did the circle, once she is done she said, "Circle have no lines it goes round n round. the car wheels. Look! This chair have circle on it. Hee"

From this observation, I can see that the girl is able to recognize and describe the properties of a triangle. At the same time she is also able to show her understanding by naming and matching some of the circle shapes to her environment.

As I was doing this implementation, I could see the importance of assessment. Assessment helps me find out the children's strength and weaknesses. At the same time, assessment helps me plan further lessons to help support children's learning. According to Van de Walle (2013),assessment should be a major factor in making instructional decisions,. By continuously gathering data about students' understanding of concepts and growth in reasoning, teachers can better make the daily decisions that support student learning."

I have also learnt that Math should be learnt through fun way. I can see that children are able to grasp math concept very fast when they enjoy playing and manipulating things which involve Math. I can see that children work as a team to problem solve and gives reasoning while they were playing at the Math corner. They acquire the concept independently through play. It is important that teacher's provide children with appropriate materials and a fun environment for children to acquire the Mathematical skills in the classroom.