As a family, we have decided today that I am not the best teacher for
Melissa where Mathematics is concerned. I feel very sad about it.
We started out today and immediately got into attitude, sulkiness,
purposely missing problems, not working - the whole shebang. I brought
Mike in to have Melissa show him how she does division problems, and I
sat in the back of the room while he worked with her.
He's amazing. He pulled things out of her that I couldn't dream of
doing. He pulled out tricks and questions to get her to focus.
He explained to her about the right brain/left brain and how if she's
worried or anxious, the Math side of her brain won't work. He kept
calling her back to the logic.
He corrected her sloppy quick writing and how she was holding the pen.
He went over her times tables to find that she had NO IDEA that they had
patterns to learn. She used her fingers or counted in the air. She has
never memorized any of them. Apparently she wrote them on scratch papers
then threw them away before I came back when she did her tests so that
she didn't have to memorize them.
She has learned enough to pass tests, but she isn't retaining any of it.
We have to go back to the beginning and start with the concepts of
addition and subtraction. She will STILL try to subtract 8 from 1 and
get the answer 7 in stead of borrowing from the 10's column. She still will write ones in the ten's column...I am starting to wonder now if she really understands the number place system as well. :(
She understands skip counting but doesn't realize that is what Multiplication is - regrouping to add faster with groups.
When dividing, she will slip between dividing, multiplying and adding instead of choosing which concept is the correct one.
I feel like a complete fool and a failure that I thought she understood
the concepts, but because of my frustration with her, she's turned so
emotional she can't do them anymore.
We are starting over again - drills on addition and subtraction facts.
Drills on multiplication tables. Online math games to strengthen the
Kinda sucks because she WANTS to move on to fractions in the book, but I
can't in good conscience let her do it when division is a big part of
the understanding of fractions.
She is SO smart...too smart for her own good, I think. I thought she was
understanding each part - and she was at the time, but her retention is
very bad and her implementation of which property or operation to use
to solve a problem is not there EXCEPT in word problems - which is
strange. Those should be very hard for her.
So...I feel a little bit deflated today. I know as a parent I must do
what is best for her, and what's best for her is for me to NOT teach her
math...but I can't say I'm not feeling blue about it.
If anyone can point me to a really fun game to work with math facts, I'd REALLY appreciate it.
Just because she is having trouble with Math now, doesn't mean you are a bad mommy, or a bad teacher. And maybe at another time you will be able to teach her math. But it is ok not to be able to do it right now, or ever. And it is *great* that she gets math in the real world, the story problems. That is wonderful. It means she understands how math is used day to day, but in abstract it is confusing. And from a developmental point of view, that is understandable. For my 2nd grader, he can only do subtraction with carrying if we get out the manipulative ever.single.time. I've been told by our counselor at STAA that kids don't usually have their multiplication math facts completely down until 5th or 6th grade. We keep struggling with it too. My 5th grader started doing really well with them, so we stopped doing the daily flashcards. Then they all leaked out of his brain. :( So we are back to it again.
I have heard Timez Attack is good. I think that is the name. We have being using some Motion Math apps on the ipad for other concepts, and they have been very helpful. I think they have some addition stuff, some number line stuff, as well as fraction stuff.
I hope things go a little better with your husband taking over Math. I am finding I have to have my husbands help to be able to keep the attitude in check, and get my oldest to do his stuff. My oldest does better when I am on hand to help out, but he reports to my husband each night what he accomplished.
I really like the flashcards that came with the Saxon math books. They are color-coded and you work with one color at a time until those are mastered. Something about knowing "all the green cards are x2" sort of sets the child's brain up for success.
Another thing I've done with my kids is to create "counting cards" out of index cards. For instance, to learn the multiples of 3, you would write them out one per index card from 3 to 36 (or whatever). Then the child takes the stack and counts the cards down as they create a path with them along the floor. They then pick the cards up from highest to lowest this time, saying out loud the number on each card as they pick it up. Repeat 2 or 3 times per day (one set of multiples per day or week).
When all the multiplication facts are learned, my kids then drill with me and a timer daily (sometimes more than once/day). I start the timer and then begin flipping the entire stack of flashcards. They get rewards for beating their best time.
It is a lot of one-on-one work for the teacher/mom, but I don't think there is any method that works as well as flashcards for memorizing math facts.
I think I posted about this before but I can't find it.
This blog is run by the head teacher of an Educate Together school here - they have a very child-centred ethos, teachers on a first-name basis etc. They are known for innovative tricks :). Rote learning just doesn't seem to happen in ET schools.
He wrote an 8-part series on multiplication - I think it's brilliant. Start at part 2, below. He makes it astoundingly simple.