Sunday, 4 September 2011

Day 6: 31st August 2011

Final Lesson

After our quiz we actually discussed on solving the sum,
in 4, how many 2/3's are there?
Therefore, if 4 cakes were shared equally, and each person can get 2/3 of a cake, how many people received 2/3 of the cake?

This was solved using 4 square diagrams, divided into three equal parts, how many 2/3's are there now?

We were also given ideas on multiplication activities on Hort Park.
Recently, my school visited Jacob Ballas Garden. Children were given mathematical tasks of adding number of petals the flowers have,the number of trees and etc..

I enjoyed the story of of the book titled 'How big is a foot?' It really teaches or introduces the topic of length to a child in an interactive and enjoyable manner.

The last second activity i enjoyed was the short getaway from class where we went to measure from one floor to another. I used a metal ruler so mine began from the '0cm' mark. However the other rulers did not. And some of them could not come up with an accurate answer and had a decimal place Therefore, I measured each staircase step and my calculation was 15cm exactly. And i went down and climbed up 62 steps. SO I mutiplied 62 by 15cm which gave me 930cm, which is about 9.3m Im not sure if this was right but some of my classmates were arguing about the horizontal space in between each step should be measured but I felt it was not necessary as that was not calculating the height of the staircase.

Ours could hold so many times of 15

The last activity was making a cube or cuboid for 15 kidney beans. First I came up with the outline for the box as the rest werent sure of it, however I had to really change my cube to cuboid to make it smaller for 15 kidney beans. Even so it was still very bigleaving so much space empty. So it was a failure, sigh.. But I learnt from my mistake. Math is all about trying and experimenting and learning from old mistakes. I appreciate this subject more now.

Day 5: 26th August 2011

We began with last lesson's problem of solving the question of how many 1/4 are there in 3?

Most of us using the military method of change over to complete the sum, however,we do not have an explaination of why it is worked out in such a way?

Therefore, I begin to wonder if what I had learnt back in school was just a waste of time. We just use the formula taught to work them out in time. But by drawing for children to visualize the problem allows them to visualize and understand the sum better and to complete it with understanding.

We also learnt how to find the area of shapes on a grid paper. To count the equal number of squares or triangles to find out the area. This was a challenging and interesting activity for all of us. We even tried making odd shapes, the square with the largest area and so on.

The other activity was for all of us to collate the number of pegs we had to plot it into a graph. I suggested to make it unique by pastingthe pegs on the paper itself. We were then able to observe and compare the graph readings.

Day 4: 25th August 2011

Thinking Numbers & Word Problems

We started the lesson with this activity that I really found it amazing when Dr Yeap asked us to think of two numbers and to do an addition of the numbers and two put the numbers side by side as well as to find the difference of the number. And he gave us the missing number. It was amazing on how he could read our mind. Then finally we were taught how to do it and I was so amazed that after i went home and school I had tried it on many of them and they were all equally shocked. It goes to say how numbers can actually follow a pattern. We then learnt how to use stem block to take away tens and ones to find out the answer as well.

We learnt about the different types of questions such as the part-part whole questions,change questions as well as the compare questions. Only today I realize the different types of word sums.

Back at school, I provide hands on activities for the young children to comprehend the word sums I do with them.It could be a simple activity as seen above to use pre cut-outs to count the number of items and to add up the total number altogether. My children simply love playing such activities related to math.

According to this quote said in class,
Children dont learn well through repetitions. Children learn well when give them variations of the same idea.

From what I derive from it, we emphasize children on doing the same questions repetitively for practice, however, if we provide them different scenarios with the same problem.

Day 3: 24th August 2011

Guest Speaker

After a long day of course again today, I entered class and we had a guest speaker for the evening. We were given a video to observe the attitudes and disposition of the teacher and to observe the strengths and weaknesses of the teacher in the video. We then viewed a second video of Miss Peggy conducting a lesson for the very first time with a group of children. I would say that for a first timer, she possessed a clear, firm voice and gave cildren positive praises from time to time. She was confident, bubbly and maintained the children's attention at all times.

Back in class, I try to give children positive praises time to time as well. However, one thing I had failed to do was to give children the time to solve their problems. Insead, if they were stuck I would help them to swim their way out. This as what Dr Yeap shared was not going to help them in the future to fly as they were forced to fly and would skip the stage of trying out themselves. I learnt this valuable lesson and would make the necessary changes.

We used unifix cubes to make unique structures of many types in groups trying to come up as many as possible. This was a fun activity that can be done back at school for my next theme on buildings.

He needed guidance to use three shapes in making a triangle

Making a square with two shapes

Making a triange with two shapes

Tangram homework- I tried this out with my 5 year olds to help me with the simpler steps to use two and three shapes and subsequently I sat down with two other colleagues to get them done. We as adults enjoyed the activity and had our own fun in completing the tangram task.

Day 2: 23rd August 2011

My day had been extra long today as I had to attend a full day workshop from 9am to 5pm. Imagine going for class and sitting for another four hours listening to lectures... I would be dead. Thank god, Dr Yeap keeps us engaged and occupied with hands on activities. Today we began with a quiz of cutting out the numbers 0-9 and to fill them in the boxes to get the same number when we added up all the numbers from the four sides. I managed to do the first one fast which amounted to the total of 12, followed by 11 but that was a challenge.

By then, time was up. The next activity we were given was to find the probability to end up with the last stick with the last person. I feel that this game depends on the number of sticks left to be picked by a person. I've been waiting to receive my first peg. Imagine a grown up woman saying this. But I guess we are also like the little kids at school, excited over such issues. And Yeah! Then finally, I managed to get one peg for the spin the dial game. This was like playing a game of 4D depending on luck. However, it was fun in finding the biggest number formed in class. By the end of the day, I was pleased to say that I survived. Thanks for making it lively for us,

Day 1: 22nd August 2011

I had expected the Math lesson to be draggy and boring as it was on Math. However to my surprise, the lesson was fun, engaging and informative to us. All thanks to Dr Yeap. Dr Yeap began the lesson with a activity using names. I had never done this before and I tried counting it manually to and fro till the 99th number. Then I tried dividing the number 99 with the number of letters in my name. Then I liked the activity of the sound game as this could be carried out with younger children as well.

We were told how young children count from counting to skip counting and to say the numbers just by looking at it by sight. The poker card games were the highlight for the night. It worked like magic. Both my partner jasmine and I found it so amazing that we were persistent in finding a way to get it right. We first just used the cards in one hand and were so close in getting it right. However we miscounted it and could not get it right. At the end, we realized that writing out was a easier way to accomplish this.
In a nutshell, we had learnt about the uses and the different type of numbers. I would like to go back and try some of this activities in my classroom.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Reflections on pre-course reading (Chapter 1 & 2)

Mathematics is one of my weakest subjects since my secondary school days. Mathematics only reminds me of my poor grades in school as it would be the only subject which will be underlined with a red ink in my progress book. I can clearly remember how my teacher reads out test results in descending order causing me embarrassment and made feel even more demoralized. My parents sent me for countless tuition to improve my grades however it just didn’t help much. I guess the interest in the subject plays a huge role to the contribution of grades.
Solving Math problems, memorizing formulas and working out sums from different angles always seem tedious to me. It was never a subject I enjoyed learning at all. I never saw it in a positive way compared to language.
When I noticed that one part of my course syllabus is on Mathematics, I started to ponder on what it has got to do with Literacy?
Then again, it is a known fact that mathematics is found in our daily lives. Mathematics is important as it is evident in the number of times of our heart beats to the amount of flour and sugar needed to be used to bake a cake. Mathematics is everywhere. So no matter how much I’ve no interest for the subject; I still have to impart the basic skills and knowledge to my pre-schoolers at school. This is to make sure that they do not grow to become like me someday. However, at times I do find it difficult to plan lessons or even think of creative ideas, strategies and activities for the math learning corner compared to other learning areas.
When I began reading the first chapter it really gave me a better insight and motivation to teaching mathematics. Before reading this book, I was not aware that there were the NCTM standards as I’ve never heard about it before. I’ve always followed the publication ‘Nurturing Early Learners’ by the ‘Ministry of Education’ for references and as a guide to fulfil the learning goals listed by them.
However, even if the principles for both differ, some of the objectives are almost the same. For an example, the learning principle in NCTM says ‘Students must learn mathematics with understanding, actively building new knowledge from experience and prior knowledge’ and Nurturing Early Learners believe that ‘Effective learning of new meaning in mathematics builds on children’s knowledge and guides them to see connections between what they already know and the new relationships about numbers’. Both are giving us the message that children learn new mathematics skills by enhancing or expanding their prior knowledge of an old skill.
And to generate these strategies children have to know what they have learnt and need to know what they are learning as well as to know what they are doing and how to go about doing it. In Chapter 2, it is written that Mathematics is made up of pattern and order. This is very true as young children are able to see patterns and orders better than just digits and formulas. To allow them to understand the different topics, the teacher has to facilitate how a problem can be seen in many other ways to be solved. This would allow children of different development range to connect their understanding of a problem.
By reading these two chapters, my interest of reading the book is greater. And now I feel that although it is a little too late for me to improve on my mathematic skills by changing my views now. It is never too late for me to learn more from this module to change my views positively about mathematics to benefit the many other children in my class.