Friday, July 22, 2011

Math 1512/ Family communication

While working this last year and summer on my elementary education degree, my 14 year old son has come in several times to ask me if I need any help with anything either around the house or with school work.  I am very proud of my son.  This is one aspect of our family life that we work on all together.
We have anyways told my son not to be scared to ask questions regarding school work.  We all need help from time to time.  Although we help him, we try not to do the work for him.  I feel that it is so important for families to help their children with school work and guide them to finding the answers the children are looking for.
There has been times when he has brought homework home that I was puzzled at and didn't know exactly how to help him.  I can imagine that other parents have the same thing happen to them.  By talking to teachers and using other helpful resources, parents can help their children and their education.  Times have changed since many people have been to school so it is good to ask questions in order to help our children.
As a future teacher, I will strive to have excellent communication with parents in order to involve them in their children's education.  If everyone works together, children will grow and succeed.

Here is a website with further helpful hints.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Math 1512/ Mean, Median and Mode

 When I first started back to college to complete my elementary education degree, I took some math refresher classes to make sure that I remembered everything that I needed to.  That was one of the best decisions that I made.  I found out there was many concepts of math that I quite didn't remember or comprehend. 
One of concepts that I had trouble remembering was how to solve figuring out the mean, median and mode.  Once we started solving problems for the mean, median and mode it all came back to me.  I think that I could have remembered it better if in high school or early college days I had some fun and interesting ways to think of the concepts.  Most of the time it was only textbook or worksheets that we worked on. 
Now we have so many different options to help students not only learn these concepts but also become engaged learners and retain the information presented to them.  Through cooperative learning projects, computer websites and videos, we can help students retain materials that they will need later on in the future.  
Here is a fun video that is fun and interesting that can help students learn these concepts:
Here is a fun website that is interactive for students:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Math 1512/ Measuring; What does a pint equal to again?

SALE Measurement Conversion Chart Magnet Cute Puppy Dog Chef DesignThis is similar to a chart that I have hanging up in my kitchen. I love to cook and bake and sometimes have to refer to the chart with different recipes.  I realize that all measurement does not only have to do with cooking but also length, weight, time and capacity.  All of these are important for students to learn since they are used almost every day. 

This conversion table will help students understand the different measurements that might be used in our world today.  I have a hard time remembering them all myself, so we can't expect students to remember them all of the time either. 
I think that within a measurement unit, a class could do many cooperative learning projects.  From learning how to convert within a cooking recipe to creating a garden for the school.  I am sure there are many ideas out there. 
Here is a fun interactive computer website to help students learn measurements:

Math 1510/ Fractions! Do students hit the panic button?

I know as a student a long time ago, whenever fractions came up in math, I would panic.  I don't know if was really that hard but just the sight of different fractions really freaked me out.
Recently I was completing a college course in a fourth grade room during math when fractions were the next section to be discussed.  The teacher in the room warned me that students have a tendency to dislike fractions.  When she started on the section I could see the confusion and panic in their eyes.  I guess it was not just me that had the same feeling.

 I think that are many ways we can help students learn fractions without hitting the panic button.  The teacher in the room I helped in used a smart board to give students visuals to help understand how to add and subtract fractions.  She used pizza, fish, pie and many others to not only gain interest but gain comprehension of the subject.  She also had a bulletin board that students could work on anytime of the school day as extra practice. 

Here a few websites that make fractions a little more fun!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Math 1510/ Why can't I remember how to put together Roman Numerals?

 While working on a chapter in my college math class, I was learning how to write and count with Roman Numerals.  At first I thought, "no problem".  I have used Roman Numerals before and I see them used quite a bit.  This was not the case.  I had problems right away.  So much for being easy.
I feel that having a chart like above will help students (including me) understand Roman Numerals better.  It is important to understand Roman Numerals since they are used more than we think in real life.  There are different rules that also go along with Roman Numerals.
1. Subtract ONLY powers of 10.  Such as I,X or C.
2. Subtract only a single letter from a single numeral.
3. Do not subtract a letter more than 10 times greater.
Having the chart and rules posted somewhere in the classroom will help students understand Roman Numerals and eventually retain what the symbols are and the value. 
Here is a link to a video that teaches students about Roman Numerals with music:
 Roman Numerals

Math 1512/ Ratios ARE IMPORTANT for students to learn!

 What are ratios?  A ratio is an ordered pair of numbers used to show a comparison between like or unlike quantities.  Ratios can be written different ways.
 Ratios are such an important thing for students to learn but can also be difficult to grasp.  Why are they so important to learn?  Ratios are used in everyday life whether we know it or not.  This is one reason it is important for students to learn and understand ratios.
One way for students to comprehend ratios is by manipulating real life objects.  These objects can range from blocks to food items.  By using some type of manipulative, it will help students deal with the concept of ratios and create a wider understanding of ratios.
Teachers could also use learning ratios as a cooperative project in the classroom.  I feel that students can gain a better understanding by writing what they know about ratios, and verbally share and discuss with the class information about ratios. 
Here is a link to a video that simply explains ratios to beginning learners:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Math 1510/ Is it a good idea to use words instead of variables for prealgebra?

Let's face it.  As a future teacher, one of my main goals is not only to have students understand math problems, but to also retain the materials for events to come.  This includes more math classes that are inevitable and real word applications. 
Students do not learn from worksheets alone.  Working on paper can often become boring and tedious.  I have learned this from my own experiences.  If we want students to gain long term retention, we need to link any kind of information to help students create a better understanding of math problems. If using words instead of variables in algebra problem solving develops comprehension in students, why not use them? 
I feel that involving students in choosing different words to relate to an algebra problem is an effective and efficient way in guiding students to a better understanding of math problems.  Try having students write their own words that make sense to them personally.  If a student feels comfortable, have them show the other students, with their own words, how they got their answer.

I know that I have felt just like this kitten when it comes to algebra.  I hope to help students gain a better understand of algebra, whether with words or other means, so that they don't have to feel this way too!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Math 1512/ Does the word GEOMETRY scare you too?


When I was in high school, a long time ago, I remember when I had to take geometry.  I think that even the word had me scared.  Everyone told me how difficult it was to pass.  Although I did alright in high school, to this day when I am working on geometry problems, I still worry that I am not going to understand it.  Just the word, geometry, makes me nervous.
Geometry is a branch of mathematics that is concerned with questions of shape, size, relative position of figures and the properties of space. As many of use know, geometry has to do with lengths, areas and volumes. It is one of the oldest mathematical sciences. This is such an important area of math for students to discover and understand since there are many real world problems that deal with geometry.
 There is so much technology out now that can help students not only understand geometry, but also find the geometry can be fun. While working on different assignments in pedagogy class, one assignment was to create lessons for a selected grade, subject and unit.  I developed lessons for fourth grade mathematics in a geometry unit.  This helped me to understand how to create lessons in geometry that can be interesting and help students remained engaged.  It was my goal, with the help of a smart board and math websites, to develop lessons for students so they wouldn't have to be scared of the word geometry. Geometry does not have to be scary anymore. 

 Here are a few websites that I found that can help with geometry:

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Math 1510 Lattice Multiplication - Is it really easier?

Growing up I learned how to multiply only one way, column multiplication.  As I work in a school and finish my elementary education degree, I am learning many new ways of how to teach students multiplication.  One method that I found interesting, yet I am still unsure of, is lattice multiplication.
Lattice multiplication is algorithimically the same as regular long multiplication.  This method breaks the process into smaller steps.  Some students find this method easier to use for multiplication.  The lattice method can also be used for decimals.  This method can be used for students who have a hard time grasping place value with the column method. 
I am excited to find alternate algorithms for math so that all students can find a way to grasp math concepts.  This way students can find a method that works effectively and efficiently for them.  As a future teacher, I will continue to investigate alternate algorithms that will help students.

Here are two websites that has more information and problems for students regarding lattice multiplication.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Math 1510/ Student Teams


I do feel that deciding on student teams depends on the various tasks or assignments that the team will be working on together.  Most of the time, I prefer to see teams selected by the teacher with a mix of diverse and different students in each group.  I think that we need to take into account the personalities of students (quiet or more verbal), gender, ethnicity and work habits.  Part of the learning process is having the group connect and learn how to get along in order to finish their problem or project.  The size of the team will also vary but if possible, kept to around four or five students.  This will aid in participation from each student.  In fact, in order to have a collaborative effort by all members of the team, there should be a division of different jobs among the members of the team.  This way each team member will know what their job is and how to reach the team goal at the end.
Working in a kindergarten classroom, when we have group centers or other group work times, we seldom let the students pick who they will work with.  Even at this younger age, children have a tendency to pick friends and socialize too much.  It also leads to leaving one or two students out of the mix and can lead to bad feelings.  No one likes being the only one not picked for a group or team.

Here is a website that I found that gave more useful information regarding student teams:

Monday, June 20, 2011

Math 1512/ Helping students learn to analyze data?!?!?!?

What an overwhelming obstacle this seems like.  Working in a kindergarten classroom I have come to realize that one of the one most important aspects that is taught is which way to read a graph.  Do you start at the top or bottom?  Do you read the graph from left to right or right to left?  This seems fairly easy compared to the more complex data displays that we have been learning in Math 1512.

During my pedagogy course, I got to teach lessons on how to make single bar graphs in fourth grade.  When I taught the lessons I decided to use the smartboard in the classroom.  This technology is a awesome asset to the classroom.  I would have the students come up and add to the graph while answering different questions regarding the graph.  The smartboard is a great tool to keep students interested in the materials that they are learning while still having some fun while doing it.

There has to be many other ideas and examples of how to make analyzing data interesting and fun so that students can retain the information.  I found that connecting to information such as their favorite foods, sports etc... helped to grab their attention and interest.

I found this website that gave some good ideas:

This website had interactive math tools and activites for kids and teacher:

This video explains how to use data from students to keep them engaged:


My head is swimming with numbers as I go to bed at night.  As I take these math classes, I hope that I am learning everything that I can so that I can teach math to students not only in the best way, but also in a way that the students can find math fun. Math and numbers can seem so overwhelming at times not only for me as an adult, but also for younger students.

Math is such an important part of life.  There is some type of math involved in everyday life.  We all need to have a basic understanding of numbers and math no matter what age we are.  When we go to the grocery store, go out to eat at a restaurant, figure our how many hours in takes to do homework or how many people are coming over for dinner, we are always using numbers and math.

There are many types of numbers involved in math.  I had to re-learn what are integers, natural numbers and whole numbers.  I was reminded what the properties of addition were.  The identity property, the inverse property, the commutative property and associative property are all a part of math.

Manipulatives are an essential element in helping students learn math.  Many people agree that manipulatives can help children of all ages grasp math concepts easier.  Manipulatives give students a chance to explore, discover and apply new mathematical ideas and concepts.  I hope to learn more ideas on how to use manipulatives in the classroom to help students with math.

Here is a website I found that explains more about manipulatives:

Here is a video I found that explains more about manipulatives: