Sunday, 27 October 2013

Sixth Session: Mathematics Teaching in Practice and Lesson Study

Today we had our second quiz. I thought it was tougher compared to the first one. We had to create our own problems based on these equations.

The first two questions were manageable. But the last two were really hard! I really respect those teachers who created math questions. It needs lots of  skills and understanding to set the questions. Solving is a skill and creating is a mastery.

After which we were introduced to a game - Salute.

How to play?
1. Form a group of 3. (To make it more challenging, add more players)
2. Player 1 and 2 will each take a card without looking and place it on the forehead.
3. Player 3 will multiply the two numbers shown on both cards and tell the answer to Player 1 and Player 2.
4. Player 1 and 2 will then have to guess what number he/she is holding.

It was a fun game! We had so much fun calculating and it really brought back memories when I studied my multiplication. Our group decided to challenge ourselves and added two more players. It was insane! We took quite awhile to count and one of our friends is really good in multiplication. The rest were flashing out our calculators on iPhone and she amazingly survived without! Cool! This game is good to introduce to older children who are learning multiplication. I'll introduce this game to my preschoolers too. However, instead of multiplying, I differentiate it and change it to addition/subtraction.

It has come to the last session of the module. I've learnt pretty much from Dr. Yeap and my fellow classmates. Without them, I guess I would not be able to survive for the past nights. Thank you everybody!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Fifth Session: Teaching of Algebraic Thinking and Data Handling

Tonight's lesson we used tangrams again. There are so many ways of making squares using tangrams. I was exploring on it and attempted with different sizes of triangles.

We first attempted with the least number of triangles to form squares. Subsequently, we added one at a time. It was challenging. My group members were draining our brain juice on how to create the squares. We managed with 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7 pieces.

It is amazing what these triangles can do. It really drill us to explore the different possibilities of using these triangles.

Not only we can use tangrams for squares. We can make it into different animals. I believe this is going to be an exciting activity that the children will like. Can't wait to introduce to them!

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Fourth Session: Teaching of Measurement and Geometry

Since young, I've always enjoyed Geometry out of so many Maths concepts. Probably because is more hands-on and there are many possibilities for a question.

During the class, Dr Yeap enlightened me with this quote.

It is so true! I see how my children progress from the past months and they are always eager to learn new concepts now. So heartwarming and pleased that they are consistently looking forward for Math activities. Learning should never stop. It should be fun and enriching for the little ones.

That night, Dr Yeap gave us a few questions to ponder. One of the questions was to create many patterns as possible by just leaving a dot in the middle.

Initially I only managed to do 5 patterns and I gave up. I was surprised that there were so many answers when we shared as a class. 

Are you able to derive other patterns as well?

Third Session: Teaching of Fractions

What is fraction?

As extracted from Wikipedia, "a fraction (from Latin: fractus, "broken") represents a part of a whole or, more generally, any number of equal parts."

Compare to previous sessions, I enjoyed this session the most. Why? Perhaps I'm slightly confident in multiplication. 

In one of the many problems we discussed, I like problem on using 10 digits to form an equation. It was simple yet interesting. I did it with many trials and errors, coming up with different equations to get the biggest number. It was fun.

Here are some of the snapshots I took.

The rule of this activity is that you cannot reuse the number again. Each number can only be used once. Sharing or borrowing numbers from peers are not permitted. I was so engaged in this activity as it was not that intensive.

Throughout the class, I like what Dr. Yeap said. We should teach children from simple to complex. Concrete to abstract. This is so true! Children's interest is very important. If they are given challenging materials or activities for the first lesson, definitely they will lost interest and motivation in completing the activities.

Looking forward to the next few lessons!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

2nd Session: Teaching of Whole Numbers

Whole numbers?
Cardinal or ordinal numbers?
Place value?
Uses of numbers?

I was surrounded by these terms last night. I was overwhelmed literally.

In school, I am familiar with teaching whole numbers and place value. But after attending Dr Yeap's class, I wondered whether I had been teaching the children using the correct technique? Did the children really understand what I taught?

Out of all the problems and concepts we discussed, I like what Dr Yeap explained on Rational Counting. Indeed, sometimes in class I did not use the same nouns in doing counting and many of the children were confused. I was so frustrated that I began to doubt my job and hated Mathematics more. I have to agree that using the same nouns/objects would be easier for children to relate and count. I need to be precised in my verbal instructions. E.g. I should count 1 chair, 2 chairs, 3 chairs, 4 chairs instead of 1,2,3,4. This is one of the learning points I picked up.

Another activity that I enjoyed pretty much is the Jack and the Beanstalk video.

The song is catchy and children will definitely like it. Learning Mathematics through songs is also a great way to engage children in.

A question to ponder. There are 51 eggs and I have to share them among Jack, Jill and the mother. How many ways are there that Jack will have more eggs?  If you know the answer, please share with me. It will be a great help for me. ;)

Monday, 23 September 2013

1st Session: Creating a Mathematical Climate in the Classroom

Tonight was a 'shocking' night because the first problem sum was so challenging. I was literally struggling with it. Never did I expect there were more to come. *sweats

Out of the four problems that were given, I enjoyed the Tangram activity most. As a kinesthetic learner, I absorb better when I can explore and play with the materials.

We were given 7 pieces of tangram of different sizes. It is also called 'seven boards of skills' in Chinese. We had to make a rectangle using these pieces. Initially I was totally zonked out because I simply had no idea where to start from. Thanks to my friend, she guided me along and I was enlightened in creating rectangles and squares using the tangram.

This was how I felt when I started the activity. Lost and overwhelmed. 

Thankfully, after many trials and errors and some assistance from my peers, I managed to create a few rectangles and squares of different formations.

The outcomes were surprisingly good. I thought that tangram would be an engaging activity for the K1 and K2 children. This activity requires children to explore, to experiment, reinforce shapes identification and orientation skills. I hope the children will enjoy as much as I do. As what Dr Yeap said, we all learn from social interactions and discussions and I do believe that it plays an important role in the child's learning.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Teaching Mathematics

Teaching mathematics may seem to be a challenging task to achieve. But in fact with the correct and positive mindset, anyone can be a Mathematics teacher. Yes anyone, including you!

One with a positive attitude and readiness to teach, are always ready to accept challenges regardless in school, at home or anywhere. Learning happens everywhere, anytime! Indeed, there are so many mathematical concepts and skills to learn and teach the young ones. It may be stressful but one with continuous learning, upgrading opportunities and good learning dispositions, will learn new methodologies and concepts which in turn benefits children's learning one way or another.

Never ever stress a child if he or she cannot comprehend the mathematical concept. Give them time and encouragement, including yourself. There are so many implications for teaching mathematics. Let's take baby steps in delivering the information to the children. Remember, one's attitude towards Mathematics plays a big part in child's learning. If you think that you are incapable or in teaching, you will never be able to deliver the skills to the fullest.

We do not wish the children to dislike Mathematics and totally shut off during activity time. To enjoy and adventure in many possibilities is something we would hope for. Provide opportunities and support for them and engage them as they learn and explore the essence of Mathematics. Take errors and mistakes as part and parcel for learning. Scaffold and provide assistance in their learning and I believe with these strategies, the children will excel exceptionally and develop a love for Mathematics.