Thursday, September 30, 2010

Geometry Around Me

I have never been great at geometry and can never remember what each shape is called. Polygon, hexagon, octagon- but how many sides each, I have to refer to textbook. If just remembering the shape names is hard, what's more calculating angles.
But I was very surprised that during the lesson on Geometry, I was very interested to see how much I can remember and I was more than determined to prove to myself that I can do it.
Relating it to the preschool class, children sees shapes everywhere. My 6 year olds are even having fun making pictures and patterns out of shapes.
The tangrams are fun and I hope to let my K2s try it out too! And ironically, I had the most cookies on this lesson.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Personal Reflection

3 big ideas in teaching Mathematics:
3)Number Sense

That is what I have learned and experienced throughout the lessons with Dr Yeap. Truly enriching and fun, with many ideas and strategies to teach basic Math concepts to children. All along , it have always been said that to teach Mathematics, we should always use concrete materials. This will allow a child to have a better understanding of concepts taught.
But after my week ended with Dr Yeap, I think another strategy for teaching Math is also to have a vibrant vibe ! As a learner, I come to class looking forward to see what other "tricks" Dr Yeap has up his sleeves and how "thought-provoking" the exercises that he had prepared for us that day.
I find myself very challenged to solve the Math problems and if I can't solve, I would go "Oh I see..." rather than "Oh ok...".
I have always been fond of Math, though not very fantastic at it, during my school years. Attending the module have made me recall and reflect myself as a teacher and as a learner.
In Math, there can be more than one way of seeing the logic and through manipulating with concrete materials, we get to experience for ourselves, as the magic of logic unfolds.

Number sense = Make sense ?

Reading this chapter makes me reflect my practice as a Math teacher to preschoolers. There are actually a lot of concepts that these young learners learn ! But these concepts are taught very progressively , as they build on the foundation for Mathematics for a young child. Nowadays,these concepts are taught in such that it develops the child's thinking, scaffolding them to be independent thinkers.

Among the common concepts practiced in school are :
1) Counting on and counting back
2) Part-part Whole Relationship

I have been using these 2 practices to teach children the concept of addition and subtraction using concrete materials as well as number line . I have also used the practices to get young children to see how we derive to number bonds.

The less familiar concepts to me are :
1)Anchoring 5 and 10.
2)Doubles and near doubles

Perhaps these concepts can be similar to some practices that I have done but the strategies used are not the same.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Blog is not ready for your view

Hi Dr Yeap,

Truly enjoyed the Math module. Very refreshing approach and had been lots of fun!

Unfortunately, my blog will only be ready for your view on 30th September.

But just so you know, I'm a proud recipient of 7 cookies!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Technology in the Classroom

The first thing that popped into my mind when reading the chapter was the usage of calculators back in my secondary schooldays. At that time, I was quite apprehensive as it was a new tool to me and making a mistake was one of my fear , just in case I spoil the calculator.
But children nowadays, are so exposed to technology , that they embraced the idea and welcome technology in the classroom quite easily. In fact, their homework can even be done through the internet! It's pretty simple - log on to the website, enter password and Viola, the homework is ready for you to do!The website can tell you which questions you had done wrongly and you may revisit straight away to correct it. I learned this from my 9-year old. Another surprise came when my boy asked me to save his powerpoint presentation in a thumbdrive. How cool is that?!
Nevertheless, in teaching Math concepts, nothing beats using concrete materials. As I had mentioned before, to me , Math means logic. It is quite hard to manipulate things if they are abstract and for young children, they need a lot of trial and error in making sense of their learning.
I guess, that is also why Dr Yeap seldom use technology during his lessons. It was more of "You do and You see and You understand" kind of activities that we did in class.

With the inclusion of technology in teaching Mathematics, it serves as a fun element in the child's learning journey .
~counting one to one correspondence, an extended activity using computer games (abstract) after the child has mastered the concept well~

~ an addition activity, child making connection between abstract and non abstract medium~

Technology? Yeah, it's useful when you need to blog, especially for Dr Yeap to read your understandings.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Which comes first?

I find this entry very amusing and interesting. I have been teaching my K2 this concept of place values of tens and ones.But I have never thought about which ones comes first;should I introduce the place value chart first or the number words or the numerals ?

It took me a while to deliberate on the steps . But I finally decided on these sequences after showing children the concrete materials ( in this case, the sticks :10 in a bundle - 3 bundles of sticks with 4 sticks on its own) :-

1)The place value chart.
After the children are exposed to concrete materials, I recommend introducing the place value chart to make connection that one bundle represents 1 ten and hence 3 bundles signify 3 tens and 4 individual sticks represent 4 ones.

3 tens 4 ones

2)Numbers in tens and ones.
To show children the transition of the place value chart to writing it in a sentence.

3)Expanded notation.
I would then get children to make the link that 3 tens is 30 , hence I would introduce the expanded notation now.

4)Introduce the numerals.
Number cards may be used. By this time, children should have understood that 3 tens 4 ones is 30 and 4. This is the time to show the representation of 34 .

5)Last step is to introduce number words.
I feel that these steps are in accordance to theory by Bruner, in which he feels that children's learning should be from concrete to pictorial to abstract.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mathematics in the Environment and Problem Solving

We did a group work and had to find a place that we thought would be interesting to teach children Math concepts. Our focus was the K2 level and we decided to use the lamps in front of the Cathay at Dhoby Ghaut.

The lights were clumped in fives and there were squared and triangular tiles on the floor. We decided toteach the concept of skip counting in 5s. We thought of an opening activity for the lesson and came up with the main activity.

After that, as we looked around, we also managed to find other things like the railings, steps and pebbles that the children may use to reinforce the concept that we had in mind.

It was an interesting experience as we looked around the environment for teaching opportunities . I have used the environment as my "classroom" before, but that was more for Language and Science activities.

As far as I can remember, I have used the stairs outside my school, to do a lesson on ascending and descending order.The children had great fun and the experience left a deep impact on them as the children are able to remember the concept taught well.

Using the Math in the Environment lesson as one of the example to problem solving in Math, teacher could actually give children a simple task, after they understood skip counting in 5s well, to look for other opportunities in the same environment, to skip count in 2s or 10s.

There are 4 steps in problem solving process :-

1.Understanding the problem
2.Devising a plan
3. Carrying out the plan
4. Looking back

Children may use or may be guided through these 4 steps to find solutions to the problem posed by the teacher.

Through problem solving, children are given opportunities to make sense of their own's thinking and also to work out rationales behind their own decisions.