4 out of 3 people struggle with math :)

“Pure mathematics is, in it’s way, the poetry of logical ideas.”  Albert Einstein

I’m learning to love math, but it has taken me a long time.  I haven’t always had a happy relationship with numbers, and struggled with math in school.  You might wonder what changed.  How did this tumultuous relationship with numbers turn into a friendship?  Singapore Math is the game changer.  Seriously.

I went to a couple days of staff development last year and now I have a much deeper understanding of how the program works.  The more I teach in this manner – using models to help with word problems, breaking numbers into parts to add and subtract, and using a part / whole model – the more I like it.  I see students mastering the concepts and developing a genuine understanding about numbers and how to solve word problems.  I’ll give you an example.  When I taught math before, I used to teach that when the word “more” was used it meant that the problem was asking students to add.  And then this problem came up:  “Suzie had 15 pencils and Sam had 25 pencils.  How many more did Sam have?”  My instruction to add didn’t work in that instance and I was stuck.  Singapore math shows students how to draw a model of the problem using a part / whole system, and it works every time.  It’s logical.  And for someone who struggled with math, the pictures make the concepts relatable.

The video clip below is an example of Joey M. using cubes to solve a math problem.  Students made 3D clouds with Mrs. Gutterman and they wanted to know when they would be ready.  The clouds are pencil toppers and they are so cool!  So she said it would be a while because they take about a half hour to print.  Students were pressing me to answer how long it would take.  So I seized a teachable moment and turned the problem over to them!  Several students worked on the problem, however I videotaped only one.  Watch Joey explain how he solved this!

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone on Tuesday evening for open house.  It is from 7:00 – 8:30.

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