When I first had my son, I never knew what challenges awaited him in this big world. It started with having to overcome diabetes. This was a long and constant process. It took us about 3 years, but now we have it down to a science. He knows exactly what he needs to do and how to maintain his health. Once we got a system in place it was rather easy for him. Now he is in the third grade and we have hit the second biggest challenge / struggle of his life; math class. This is rather ironic because my husband and I both have Master's degree in engineering and mathematics. We have mastered very highly levels of math with relative ease. My son Cameron on the other hand, struggled to grasp the concept of multiplication. I had to help him find a way to tackle this. I thought to myself, what could I do? Then it hit me, we already developed a strategy that he has mastered to maintain his health. Why not help him develop a strategy to learn math concepts and skills? So I developed this 3 step method that changed everything.
Math worksheets don't promote communication and collaboration _ Math worksheets are often assigned as an independent activity, however research indicates that communication and discourse are needed to build a deep understanding of math topics. Students need opportunities to explore mathematical ideas in different ways and to build their own connections. This involves communicating their ideas, listening to the ideas of others, arguing a viewpoint, describing, and explaining. Math worksheets are rarely used as a catalyst for conversation. Instead of assigning worksheets, find activities that encourage discourse, such as "number talks," or collaborative group work. During the session, be sure to require students to explain their thinking and listen to the strategies and thinking of their peers. If you are fortunate enough to have an interactive whiteboard in your classroom, using it with interactive math software creates many opportunities for group discussion and student participation. Teachers can can begin by posing problems and modeling approaches, and then ask students to work together to find solutions. Then have them come to the board to demonstrate their solutions in front of the class. These days, many examples of how to teach math concepts on an interactive whiteboard can be found online in the various whiteboard community sites, educational sites, YouTube, etc.