In this issue......

* Editor's Notes

* Elementary Math Manipulatives

* Singapore Math

* Make Learning Math Fun

* Math Journals

* Relate Math to Real Life

Editor's Notes

Thanks again for subscribing to my monthly newsletter which will be my last for this school year.

This newsletter focuses on different math strategies that I'm sure elementary school teachers will find useful.

Just a reminder to visit my Teacher Seminar page. I recently held a teaching workshop for Faculty of Education student teachers at York University in Toronto. During the workshop, the student teachers and I discussed how to handle a number of typical situations that arise every day during the school year. I videotaped each scenario and I've been adding these videos to my site that you can find through my Teacher Seminar page.

I'm always adding new pages to my site so please visit my site and click on the RSS symbol at the bottom of the navigation bar and add me to your favourite RSS reader so you don't miss these informative updates.

Teachers should always keep in mind that they will have much more success in motivating their students if they can relate their lesson plan to their students everyday life. This strategy applies to math in particular. Math can be a very abstract subject to teach and learn; i.e. many students will have great difficulty in understanding how a lesson could possibly relate to what they're ever going to find useful in the outside world. Here are a number of useful math teaching strategies.

Elementary Math Manipulatives

Math manipulatives are essential educational tools that are a must in your classroom from junior kindergarten to Grade 6 and even higher. They can be colourful, edible, bought, home-made and/or used (garage/yard sales - can be a major find for creative manipulatives).

You can use them to sort, explore, assess, calculate and discover. The list is endless, so show your creativity. Some examples

* Colourful - geometric shapes, pattern blocks, dominos, mirras (for symmetry)

* Edible - certain cereals (cheerios, fruit loops), pretzels, chocolate bars, e.g. Aero, KitKat, Cadbury (great for fractions)

* Other useful objects - sea shells, coins, pasta, deck of cards

Consider taking your class outside to collect math manipulatives, e.g. pine cones or look for geometric shapes

Singapore Math

Teaching techniques that get your students to think and be creative has shown to be the most effective way of teaching. Singapore is one of the leading countries when comparing student scores on international math tests. Singapore math, as it's sometimes referred to, concentrates on teaching students to think in mathematical/logical terms rather than using repetitive drilling and rote learning which is why I promote The Math Riddle Book, which is full of math puzzles and is a fun way for students to build the Math skills they'll need throughout their lives. Learning is easy, enjoyable and makes students think when they're solving puzzles!

Another source of printable math math games and fun math activities that make math exciting and easy to learn are these 4 books of Fun Printable Math Games.

Make Learning Math Fun

A math learning system that is fun, easy to use and has an interactive quality where skills can be developed and reinforced, will decrease frustration and shorten the learning curve. The math software and games that you will find at All Educational Software will allow your students to proceed at their own pace and develop their visual, reading, reflex and keyboard skills in the process.

Math Journals

One teaching strategy that you may find useful for both you and your junior grade students is to have them keep a math journal. In their math journal students document what they have learned during a math lesson or write down the steps they have taken to solve a particular math problem or math exercise. By documenting the steps the student becomes more aware of the process involved in solving problems.

The math journal entry can be of great assistance to the teacher as well by giving him/her a better insight into what students may or may not have learned/understood about a math lesson or math concept. The teacher can then take the appropriate action, i.e. further review, etc.

Relate Math to Real Life

As I mentioned above it can be very helpful for your students to relate math questions and problems to everyday life situations. One suggestion is to distribute monopoly money and use it to simulate shopping, banking and other daily life scenarios. For example, using various food flyers, put your students in groups of 4 and give them $100 to spend (great for adding, subtracting and multiplying) OR use them to create word problems.

Discipline and the control of your class are important keys when teaching a successful, educational and fun math lesson or any lesson. Be sure to read my page on classroom management .

My last words of advice: Enjoy your time off and the beautiful summer sun. Some of you may be taking an additional course or spending time with family or friends or travelling. Whatever you do have fun on your well deserved rest. "See you in September!!!!"

I will continue to add pages during July and August so stay in touch.



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