Monday, September 27, 2010

my reflection on the class

This math class exceeded my expectations and I was very surprised to ‘discover’ that I actually liked math. My whole perspective has changed and I feel more confident not only about teaching math but also assessing the children’s ability and explaining to parents about their child’s progress in a more professional way. Although it was only a short class but it left me with a good impression and I look forward to the next class of  problem solving with you. Dr. Yeap, thank you for all the fun learning experiences and for helping me gain more confidence and  better understanding of Mathematics and how to use it as a tool to enhance my students and my own skills and most of all, for making me see math in another light.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

chapter 7, using Technology to teach math

While I was reading, I tried to remember how I used a calculator in high school and if my memory serves me right I remember only using it for a few functions but for sure not in the way the book describes. I was very impressed with the wide variety of possibilities a teacher can introduce technology to the students and the great opportunities they have to gain mathematical skills in such a fun way. In addition, the whole idea that calculators and computers are used to enhance the student’s problem solving skills wasn’t something I thought about previously.
I also liked when the book emphasized that “Again, however this device is only as useful as the tasks teachers create for students” some think that a teacher’s job is easier today as “we let the children think for themselves”. What they need to understand is that the teacher’s job is actually more challenging as we need to create learning experiences which will provoke the children and plan for tasks which promote deeper thinking to complete.
The other great thing about using technology is the many possibilities for the child to practice without the teacher having to prepare so many materials and without the child needing to clean up afterwards.
I will conclude by saying that now I have a better idea regarding using technology however, I think teachers (or some teachers) need to be provided with training and learn how to use these devices in a more effective way.

Teaching young children number place value

When I taught K2, I wanted to introduce the children to the concept however; I debated with myself on how to do that. I thought that it will be best to start with single numbers and move on. Starting at the first day of school, we started to count the days we came to school as for when we reach 100 days, we will have a party to acknowledge this important milestone. Each day during circle time, the leader of the day would come up and write the number of the day on the stick and then add it to the jar/pot and when we got to 10 we bundled the sticks together with a rubber band and continued in the same manner. (that also gave the children an opportunity to practice writing the numbers, identify the number before and after and make a prediction to how many more we need to make another group of 10) I found that this worked well with the children as it was a simple way to integrate a variety of ways to introduce concepts and enhance the children’s learning gradually and in a meaningful way.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

my reflections on problem solving

I agree with everything in the book regarding teaching through problem solving. Very often people say, “The children today are so much smarter then they use to be” I believe that the reason for that lays with the new way of teaching starting in the early years. Educators today gain a much deeper understanding of the value of the thinking process themselves and therefore, are using the skills to challenge their students with more creative and meaningful problem solving tasks. In general, most if not all, teachers share the philosophy of seeing each student as individual and respecting their background, prior knowledge, skills and abilities. Moreover, teachers also share the belief that all children can learn and using the method of scaffolding to help each child to move forward in their own pace and time. In addition, these days educators are putting more emphasis on the learning process vs. only the product and they understand and allow children to reach the conclusion using their own method. This defiantly increases the learner’s confidence and self esteem. It also helps develop the idea that everyone can be good at math and it is not a field just for the ‘top’ or ‘the smarter’ or even only for the ‘boys’ in the class.

I thoroughly enjoyed working on the group project using the MRT station as our base to explore mathematical concepts. It was fun to see the enthusiasm we all shared and the learning experiences/lessons that we were able to develop by using the environment. I believe that the concepts we are introducing in our plan are considered problem solving skills as by engaging in them, the children’s intellect can grow, they are able to link it to their daily lives and the learning will be fun and meaningful.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

reflection on first class

I can’t believe that I actually had fun in the math class. It was actually engaging and fresh. Yesterday, I tried the dice game with my students and the look on their faces each time they found out that I was right about the hidden numbers was priceless. Although they are too young for this, it was something that defiantly grabbed their attention and they willingly wanted to see more of Ms Iris’s “Magic”. The other part was that later on when the children were resting, I shared the games with my colleagues who said that it was very interesting and they even tried it at home in the evening with their family members.

chapter 1,2

From the start, the book grabbed my attention like no other math book before. Throughout the years as a student, I always dredded math class and I never thought I was good at it. I am very happy to be a part of a change.

Regarding the six principles, I strongly believe that ALL children should have equall opportunity to learn math. It is time to empower children and specifically girls to believing that they can be just as good at math as boys. I also agree that we need to help the children make connections and link ideas when teaching reading and writing; math class should not be left out as it is a very important discpline that should be introduced to young children as integrated part of their learning.

I also think that it is all in the hands of the teachers whether the children enjoy math time or not. I feel honored to be an early childhood educator and I embrace the opportunity to enhance my skills at teaching math to young children as I believe that they should have a strong foundation. From the children's prespective, they should be provided with the right tools to becoming logical thinkers and independent problem solvers.

The point of teaching math through technology also brought my attention closer to the fact that I need to enhance my skills in that area as to become a more effective teacher.

In addition, I believe in the constructivist theories and I see first hand how children construct and add on to their knowledge with each learning experience provided to them in the classroom.