A few years ago, when I was struggling to be an effective math teacher, I heard myself say, "I'm not good at teaching math." When I stopped to think about that comment, I realized that even as a child, I had never said that I was good at math...ever. I had always "accepted" that my math skills were not high and I never remember questioning or attempted to change this.
I was then shocked when I asked my students about their ability in math and much to my dismay, some of those sweet little hands raised indicating they felt they were not "good at math." For a third grade student, (and know that I found this happens to children much younger as well), to tell me that they were not "good at math" was simply not acceptable.
It was then that I began working overtime, tapping into the exposure I had to some of the greatest master teachers in the field. From them, I learned many effective pieces regarding math instruction which I then combined with personal experiences and reliable research studies, to develop my own way of teaching math. This path has, ironically, has made me a significantly better mathematician than I have ever been...EVER!
As such, I will be sharing my tools of the trade with you so you can benefit from what I have learned and hopefully move you, your child, or your student to a different perception of math and ones ability to "do" it.
At the core of my instruction are three key factors that never change:
1 - Workbooks should only be used to support the real world.
2 - Always, always work backward from a real world "word problem" when teaching ANY concept.
3 - Teach formulas and rules for solving problems.
In my next post, I will begin to explain the specifics of each of these factors with the hope that it will help instructors, parents, and students alike to glide through math with a better understanding of what it is, how it works, and how to "do" math with greater success than before.
Talk soon -
At the center of this lies, (either you love it or you hate it), Common Core. Yep, I said it...Common Core. This tool alone has put almost all of us, at least at some point, in a downward spiral. I can confidently say, however, that after several years of dissecting the information within it through guidance by instructors at East Carolina University, personal classroom experience, and also an intense personal focus on research/case studies in the area of elementary, that teaching mathematics with this piece at the center of my instruction has made more of a difference than I could ever image. I am incredibly proud of the state of North Carolina as they have now enhanced several of its key pieces in the recently adopted K-5 North Carolina Essential Math standards, effective 2018-2019 school year. Want to know more about how these standards and student investment will revolutionize your child's success in math?
All of us here at Key Up Education are super excited about the upcoming visit of third grade students from Sylvan Elementary! Students will be coming to help address company issues while focusing on engineering and math. I went to visit the students on Monday 5/23 just to make sure they were up for the task and it was incredible!
Can't wait to see how high they soar when they arrive!
I am a teacher at heart. The last few years have provided me with many unique academic experiences, most of which were due to the openness to share of many, many master teachers. I am simply a collection of many, looking to pass on the knowledge that was invested in me to others looking to do the same. We are all in this together!
tales from the instructional side