Today, we do some discussions about the new curriculum framework. Most of us ask the lecturer:
“Why the new curriculum only wants us to teach the children until 10 only?
“So what we do then?”.
The lecturer shares that we should not rush when teaching the children. Instead, we should really ensure that the children grasp all the concept well. If we would like to teach the children concept of subtraction, we must ensure that we begin with concrete materials first before we introduce them the pictorial. There are also few methods on how subtraction can be done. I also learnt that teachers must be very selective when choosing the variables/ materials. For examples, should we use sticks, we must ensure that all the sticks have the same length. By doing this, we are ensuring that there is no interfering of variables.
We can also teach the children to use the 10 Frame when teaching them subraction. I like the idea when the lecturer shares about using egg cartons or we can give the children an index card with 10 frames.
Should the number is more than 10, I also can teach them using bundles of pens, ice cream sticks and they come in sets of 10 too. Once the children have ample opportunities using concrete materials, teachers can allow the children to manipulative such as cubes.
This course has make me realized the importance of CPA when teaching the children numeracy. And I must always ask myself the three questions when I need to plan a lesson.
1. What do I want the students to learn?
2. How do I know if they can or cannot do it?
3. Observe them in the class.
Today we discuss about the Jean Piaget who is known for his contsructivism approach.We know that assimilation is a process whereby new information is added to the existing knowledge. Accomodation occurs when the children encounter a problem which they are not familiar and then the brain starts to struggle to fit in the new information. Nobody is born stupid, thus, all children can learnt and be taught mathematics. However, the adult around the children play very important part. As adults, when we plan lessons for the children, we must allow them to have access to their prior knowledge and then build up new knowledge. We should not be giving them the solutions at all times instead we should encourage them to solve the problem. As teachers, we need to give them more time to investigate and then share with their peers and teachers on how they solve a problem.
The lecturer started the lesson today by letting us to hear the nursery rhymes of “Humpty Dumpty”. After that, he provokes our thinking. By using the rhymes what are the numeracy concepts we can teach the children?
Some of the them shared are:
- What is the height that we should placed the egg to make it cracked?
- One classmate shares that we could also teach the concept of balancing using the rhyme.
- The children can be taught on counting concept and also one to one correspondence, such as counting the men versus the horses.
For today’s lesson, I also learnt that it is difficult for children to learn the money and time concept. Money concept concerns value thus when learning this concept, the children need to learn from real experiences. And in preschool, teachers are can teach time through daily activities such creating awareness the time they have meals and etc.
Today, I learnt a new word for mathematics that is ‘subitize’. It means “to perceive the number of (a group of items) at a glance without counting (http://www.thefreedictionary.com).
I would be able to ‘subitize’ easily should I need to count there are items less than 20. When I learnt about ‘subitize’, I also learnt that it is one of the strategies used by the children in the classroom. During class activities where the children are required to count the objects, there are children who need to count loudly while others able to give the answer in seconds. Sometimes, as a teacher, I thought that children who are able to give the answers are ‘brighter’ than the others, but, actually they are using the concept of ‘subitizing’. Can the ‘subitize’ by taught? As teachers, we need to create experiences for the children, allow them to investigate, scaffold them and we need to explain or tell them too. I realised that ‘subitizing’ is an important mathematical skills. According to Beckwith and Restle 1996, Wang, Resnick and Boozer 1971, “The spatial arrangements of sets influences how difficult they are to subtize. Children usually find rectangular arrangements easier, followed by linear, circular and scrambled arrangements” (cited by http://gse.buffalo.edu/fas/clements/files/Subitizing.pdf).
We start our first lesson by finding the letters from the lecturer’s name that would be in 99th place. The first step, he takes is to show us how the counting of the letters should be done.
After we complete the activity, we discuss as a class on our findings. Next activity is also the same but we need to use our name. It is quite interesting from our findings that should we have 6 and 7 letters for our names, the 99th place will be the third letter of our name. Though the first activity is only for few mintues but there are many tips that the lecturer shares about teaching the children:
- There are 4 steps when teaching the children: model, scaffold, do it yourself and explain. Should the child is able to do the activity with ease compared to his friends, teacher can challenged the child further.
- Children need the opportunities to discuss with their friends which Vygotsky also mentioned that children learn through social interactions.
- And we must always encourage the children to try solving any tasks as there is always more thatn 1 way to solve a problem.
- We must always provoke the children’s thinking and the lecturer models it by always prompting us by asking, “I wounder why?” By doing so, he is encouraing us think of the solution.
When I read this chapter, it makes me recall an incident I had when I was in K2. I still remember vividly on how I was made to stand on the chair just because I could not rote count 1 to 20. If only my teacher knew at the point that I was unable to do the task because I did not have any prior knowledge.
“Students must have the tools and prior knowledge to solve a problem, and not be given a problem that it is out of reach, or they will struggle without being productive; yet students should not be given tasks that are straightforward and easy, or they will not be struggling with mathematical ideas” (Van de Walle, Karp & Williams, 2013, p. 15).
From the readings, it inspired me to make teaching numeracy to be more interesting for the children. To do this, according to the constructivism and sociocultural theories, I must give ample opportunities to the children to find solutions which can happened during their interactions with one another.
As an educator, there are principles and standards that can guide us when we are teaching Mathematics to the children.
We must give equal chances to the children and also rendering assistance to them. To allow the children to grasp better, we must always teach the children to see Mathematics as in integrated rather that isolation. Nothing is much more critical as a teacher who teaches Numeracy that is to know the content very well before we can teach the children well too. We also need to do assessments as it allows us to check on the student’s understandings and how we can guide them further. With the changing landscape of education, we need to use technology when we are teaching Numeracy to the children. These tools will help the children to focus on the mathematical ideas and finding solutions.
“To teach effectively a teacher must develop a feeling for his subject; he cannot make his students sense its vitality if he does not sense it himself. He cannot share his enthusiasm when he has not enthusiasm to share. How he makes his point may be as important as the point he makes; he must personally feel it to be important. George Polya