Teaching Mathematics

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Teaching mathematics to young children is about developing strong number sense, mastering their facts, using vocabulary skills and providing concrete elementary math activities.

"When students are engaged in a 'balance' of math activities, they can succeed where it counts - in applying their skills and reasoning ability to solve real-life problems requiring mathematical solutions," (Ainsworth, 2000).

Today we are requiring students to become critical thinkers and problem-solvers. There are also the demands that teachers develop an expertise in how students learn and develop meta-cognition.

Even our youngest children can use problem solving strategies. This is the heart of learning and applying math.

Differentiated math instruction, whole group math lessons and guided groups are all essential.  They are both used to review concepts and to allow higher students to extend their knowledge.

Simple Ideas for Teaching Mathematics

What is Mother Goose Math?  It's a fun and simple way to incorporate literacy into higher order math skills!

You will love this simple approach to using nursery rhymes in developing oral math skills and problem solving for grades K-6.

Click the book to find out more!

The Equity Principle should be applied when teaching mathematics. This means high expectations for all students - it does not mean that everybody gets the exact same lessons.

It does mean that the opportunity and support for learning is available to all children in the math activities we prepare.

A positive attitude towards mathematics is also linked to effective teaching, and that includes a willingness to reflect on what works and what we need to change.  

Click on through for essential math teaching tips, strategies and lessons!

Learning Math Facts

There should be work on math facts every day. A misconception is that this is equal to "drill and kill."

In their book Five Easy Steps to a Balanced Math Program for Primary Grades, Larry Ainsworth and Jan Christinson identify five steps to teaching mathematics with a balanced approach:

  1. A daily math review consisting of grade level concepts, computation, elementary math vocabulary words, and mental math
  2. Designing conceptual units using scoring guides and performance tasks
  3. Problem solving
  4. Mastering Math Facts
  5. Year end performance task to demonstrate mastery of learning

Actual work on learning math facts is done through activities that support deep conceptual understanding. There is nothing wrong with expecting students to be able to use mental math to quickly calculate basic facts, but they need to deeply understand the process and the "why" before they can show the "how."

But they still have to be able to use mental math too!

Math Games

A kindergartener's mathematical ability is highly predictive of future success in math. Children from economically disadvantaged homes tend to enter school with a lesser grasp of basic number sense concepts than more affluent peers, and much of that is thought to stem from a lack of playing games in the home.

A 2007 study from Carnegie Mellon University showed that board games do indeed impact numerical development. 124 preschoolers met with a researcher in their schools for four 15-20 minute game sessions for two weeks.

The results?  Significant gains were made in number identification, counting, estimation on a number line, and comparing numbers.

The study went further and looked at older students who played informal games regularly.

Again, students who played more games performed better in all areas of mathematics

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