Module conclusion

It is such a pity we only had a crash course on these topics, although I am not sure how much more Math I can handle. But I do look forward to the next module with Dr Yeap Ban Har.
Dr Yeap has changed the way I view Mathematics. And the familiar story about the butterfly struggling out of the chrysalis (it is an expert-corrected error) is a motivation for me as a teacher to always ensure learning is child-directed, and especially for Math, that grasping of concepts is paramount to memorizing formulas.

The caterpillar does all the work but the butterfly gets all the publicity.  ~Attributed to George Carlin


31 August 2011

I was lucky I had time to finish today’s quiz but I think in panic and hysteria, I was writing nonsense by the last story problem….. I thought I understood this question when I invented my story problem about dividing 4L of orange juice into two thirds. For a question such as 4 ÷ 2/3, a story problem goes something like this: There are 4 cakes in the class. Each students get 2/3 of the cake. How many students are there? It definitely took some time to register.

Before I had time to fully comprehend this concept (the models were very convenient), I had another shock. That the weight I know is actually an amount of mass in newton!

Tip of the day: “If you want to lose weight, go to the moon”.

Before I had time to recover from Shock No. 1, I received Shock No. 2: Do not use the word “weight” with the preschoolers. Instead, use phrases such as “How heavy is this?”, “About how many marbles does this weigh?” This advice will definitely come in handy.

Big Idea of the day: It is enough for preschoolers to be able to tell the time. All the “fill-in-the-hands” paperwork is an invalid form of assessing whether the child can tell time. In fact, no worksheets are even necessary to teach time! Just be able to relate time to a an event in school or home. To think it was so easy!

I look forward to using Earlybird Kindergarten Mathematics as a reference to rearrange my centre’s Math curriculum so that the topics are age appropriate, and most importantly, the teachers are using the right words and teaching the right concepts.


26 August 2011

Today was another sleepy day. It was rainy, and cold and TGIF!

I got abit confused with today’s lesson on fraction. The question: 2 fifths ÷ 1 tenth. I could understand how to draw the pizza, but I could not understand why the answer was 4 tenths. It took me awhile to realize that I want to divide the 2 fifths into 10 slices, and not that I want 1 tenth of the 2 fifths. I believe “communism” is the excuse for my inability to “see” reasoning beyond “Fraction is like that because I say so”.

I love squares. Thanks to my secondary school art teacher for introducing Piet Mondrian to us.

And anything that look squarish. Such as

It was thrilling to think about George Pick’s formula. And I have got it.

Google and Wikipedia are so helpful.
So this formula works for polygons with more than 4 perimeter dots. Such as (The answer is 45 square units).

We are down to one last lesson! And I was just beginning to enjoy Math! I look forward to seeing Mr Yeap again in the next Math module!


25 August 2011

I was able to solve today’s quiz! I got the idea for the three solutions by subtracting two from each side, and moving only the numbers that are affected. The multiplication sentence was tough, but hopefully I score the three bonus points.

Today I was very sleepy during class. But I still managed to keep my eyes open. Thank goodness if not I would have missed out on getting a peg!

 The, I shall call it “Multiples of 9 magic” was intriguing. It made me think.

Math is so unique. Some statements or questions look illogical at first sight.

How can these triangles be equal? YET it actually is! And it IS proven to be equal.

Math can very well be a Wonder of its own.

I enjoy doing word problems because I get to do what I like best; reading and imagining! I can actually get hungry solving Math story sums, especially if they are about apples or cookies.

I always thought fractions is only fun when you are talking about pizza. But today I was proven otherwise. And I appreciate today’s lesson because of my Big Ideas of the night:

One, treat the fractions as nouns (Read 2 cookies = 2 fifths).
Two, there are fractions as part of a whole, and fractions as part of a set/a quantity. If we want to divide children up from a group, we do not want to be splitting them up like God making Eve out of Adam.

I am beginning to enjoy Math thoroughly now. Challenging questions, bring it on!


24 August 2011

Today we learnt about Lesson Study from Peggy Foo. From its name, I assumed it was about just studying a lesson; but it was more than that. It was about revisiting the lesson to find something to improve on. Like what Peggy said, there is no perfect lesson. If there is so much as one person who says there is, it is definitely God.
We only went through two case studies, but from these two, I learnt that I need to take note of these in my lessons:

    effective communication
    effective use of manipulatives and materials
    clear and precise open-ended questions
    classroom management
    logical flow/sequence of lesson

As we fixed 5 cubes to form different structures, I realized I lacked imagination. It must be because I never played much with blocks or fix-toys during my learning years.

I have had my cube fix tonight.


23 August 2011

I thoroughly love my new Math teacher! I wish I could relive my primary school days with a teacher as Mr Yeap.

During our first quiz today, I thought Math was depressing because I was trying to apply my “2 Odds get 1 Even” rule but I just could not get a solution! It did frustrate me as it seemed such a simple sum.
But as the lesson continued, I began to enjoy Math again because now I know John does not really need to make fractions of his money, but instead be able to develop a deeper understanding of the Math skills that will help in daily life.

I feel that Math is indeed a very personal topic. I am very used to using let us call it the “umbrella” to do long divisions, and was very confused by the appearance of the “division tree”. In school, do we teach both methods?

My Big Idea of the day: As teachers, we do not teach Math, but we use Math as a tool to teach children.


22 August 2011

First of all, it is a nice change to have a male lecturer from Singapore after many female lecturers from US. And with all that talk about appreciating numbers, I definitely appreciated Dr Yeap’s (pronounced yah-p) humour. Math cannot be a serious topic.

In just one lesson, I realized that I have changed the way I look at numbers. And this new change is also thanks to one Math problem we had to solve; arranging five numbers  into a cross. I am now able to remember unchangeable rules such as Odd + Odd = Even and would put these in mind when analyzing a question. However, I still am afraid of confirming an answer because I have this fear that there will always be a probability that I am wrong; during the Name Game I was confident the 99th letter will fall on I in Elizabeth’s name, yet I went through all the trouble to count to 99, just to make sure (it falls on I by the way).

I wait for the day when I will confidently say “I have the answer!” and get a problem right 😀