Thursday, September 26, 2013

Addition and Subtraction

The class started with Dr Yeap reviewing the previous session; talking about whole numbers and going through the different theories. And I am reminded about giving children variation and not repetition!

Then, the problems arises.

We did Problem 9,10,11 and 12.

Problem 9 and 10 involves addition and here, I would like to share about Problem 9.

Dr Yeap got us to write the digits '0' to '9' on  a piece of paper. The problem was to use the digits (digits are not to be repeated) to make a sum. For example, 32 + 54 = 86.
Note that not one digit was repeated.

I had tons of fun making different sums and I shared the addition that I had with Liyana. We challenged ourselves to create different sums and to count how many possible ways to make a certain number.  We then realised that the greatest possible number that we can get is 98 and the smallest possible number is 39. It was such a fun experience for me and I really, really, really want to implement this activity with the K2 children when I had the chance. =)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Whole Numbers

My whole teaching career I have been teaching children whole numbers and last night, I realised just how many things that are related to whole numbers such as
(i) cordinal number
(ii) ordinal number (in space/ in time)
(iii) nominal number
(iv) measurement number

As teachers, we have always taught children whole numbers but usually we do not have in mind the things that we are actually teach the children. Like Dr Yeap always said, "children must be exposed to play." I think, as teachers, when we enjoy teaching the children, we do not actually realised the many, many things that we teach the children. Often than not, we teach children more than what is required; beyond our lesson plans and way way beyond our classrooms.

Another take-away from last night's class was realizing the difference between 'crutch' and 'scaffold'. It made me realised on my teaching methods and the ways that I can improve on. Dr Yeap mentioned that even without the scaffold, the building can still stand strong. And if the teacher employed the 'crutch' method, the child cannot function without it. After last night's lesson, I am more aware of how I 'scaffold' the children.

Last take-away that I got from the class was, "We cannot count things that have different nouns." For say, we cannot give a basket of apples and asked children to count the number of oranges in the basket. It makes perfect sense, right? Well, I just wished that my teachers explained this 'theory' to me when I was in would definitely make things EASIER for me!

The problems that we did in class was very interesting. We did counting of 'How many people are going to St Ives?', counting of beans, the number of beans that Jack got and the 51 eggs shared by three people.
I enjoyed all the activities, especially the beans where we did subtraction and the 10 frames (counting the number of beans Jack got).

It is so interesting that most probably, I would introduce these activities to the children. And hope that the children will enjoy these activities as much as I did!

Monday, September 23, 2013


When Dr Yeap wrote the number of problems that we are going to solve for the session, I went, "Oh gosh, I don't need Math problems. I already have so many problems to think of."

Problem #1: Name
Problem #2: Card Trick
Problem #3: Shredder
Problem #4: Tangram

Surprisingly, I enjoyed working through the problems, especially Problem #1 and #2. 
Problem #3 transported me back to my primary school days where I had to wreck my brains to solve the problems..but 13-ish years ago, my brains are not 'fried' like it is now..

Then came the Tangram. I always gave these little pieces to the children to play and I thought, "oh well, it's gonna be so fun." I was wrong. So very wrong. 
Dr Yeap instructed us to make rectangles using the tangram pieces; making congruent rectangles, making rectangles using lesser pieces..and I CAN'T DO IT. 

Yes, you read that right.


Below are pictures of the rectangles that my friends made.


Now, let's see what I came up with.

 Liyana said that it looks like the 'Superman' logo. Well, Clark Kent will be so proud of me.

Kitty, kitty, lovely kitty. (and truth be told, I have a cat-phobia)

Well, at least, Nandhini said that I am creative. That made me feel way way better about myself. =)

So, Dr Yeap went through different theories on how children learn. He talked about Dienes, Vygotsky and Bruner. And now, as I reflected on my own learning, I can understand why Dienes has 'play' at the top of the list on how children learn. Like me, children need to be given time to play. I might not be able to make a congruent rectangle when everybody around me are able to, but once I did my 'cat', I realised that I did a rectangle without me realising it. Then comes structured learning and practice.  I learnt that I can do a congruent rectangle and with more practice with the tangrams, I am sure I can make as many congruent rectangles as any of my peers!

That's the end of session 1.

Looking forward to more problem-solving skills in class later on.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Reflection of Chpt 1 and 2

A sentence from the textbook jumped out at me, “Children engaged in these actions (teachers using mathematical verbs) in mathematics classes will be actively thinking about the mathematical ideas that are involved”. And when teachers use enough of these verbs in the classroom, we hear children imitating us. And below are some scenarios.

Parents always asked me, “Do you teach Math?” 

When I replied with a convincing, “Yes”, they asked, “How?” and they asked, “When? We don’t see any numbers and equations.”

And to many more parents that might have the same set of questions in your mind, I hope this blog entry will answer those questions.

Math, to a pre-schooler and to their teachers, are not just numbers and equations.
It is not about 1 + 1 = 2…and it is definitely not about finding the value of x or y.

Math, to a pre-schooler and to their teachers, is more than just 1, 2, 3 and its greater than finding the value of x.

Math is everywhere. 

Math is when we count the number of boys and girls in the class and the total number of children in the class; that’s addition. 

Math is during lunch when the children say, “We only need 18 apples today, not 20 because XX and YY are absent.” That, mummies and daddies is what we called subtraction.

Math is when the children stand in line and goes, “I am first! You are second. And you are third, (and the list goes on)”. That is ordinal numbers.

Math is when our little friends drink water from their water bottle and gladly say, “I already drink half of my water.” That is definitely fraction.

Math is during Music and Movement when each of us gets two shakers each. And when you hear the children say, “Got 6 children. We need 12 shakers.” That is multiplication.

The list can go on and on and there will be insufficient space on this blog entry. 

But now, I think you got the idea.