Q&A #164

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Kindergarten math

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From: Lynn

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 1998061623:12:39
Subject: Kindergarten Math

I have been teaching Kindergarten since the late 70's,and I have had
a lot of success in teaching mathematics because I invested in myself
and paid to take the workshop titled "Math Their Way."  I have retaken
this same workshop two more times.  It is not a program that is ever
complete; you can always learn more, include more and go into it in more
depth.  It cost about $350 for one very full week of instruction. 

It is here that I learned the underlying principles of how to teach
mathematics to young children.  The math methods classes in college
just skimmed the surface.  In Math Their Way, you are taught how to
get the children to see patterns, how to sort and classify, count,
understand numbers and sets, measurement, time, money, more than, less
than, equal to, ordinal numbers, beginning place value, addition and
subtraction.  The most amazing part is that this is done without a
textbook, worksheets or teacher lectures.  The children are encouraged
to get their hands into maniupulatives and learn how they learn best,
by doing it.

Math Their Way is not something you can just pick up and do. It takes
time, planning, and a concerted effort on the part of the teacher.  
I would say it took me about 2-3 years to feel I had become moderately
proficient with this way of teaching.  But the pay-off was fantastic.

Each year, after the first 2-3 weeks of school, I make it a point to
talk to the first grade teachers about how the students I had in
Kindergarten are doing.  I have yet to have any complaints about their
math skills.  They are confident and well prepared.  They do very well
on the first grade pre-assessment.  Last fall, the lowest score on the
pre-assessment was an 82.  

I would also advise you to look into other workshops which are
similiar to Math Their Way, but only after you have taken Math Their
Way (MTW) and have gotten well into it for at least 2 years.  Otherwise
you will be overwhelmed and confused.  The other workshops help you to
customize and fluff up your program.  I really enjoyed "Box It, Bag
It," Marilyn Burns, Math and Literature Workshop, Kathy Richardson's 
"Using Unifix Cubes to Develop Mathematical Concepts," and Marcy Cook's
Workshop.  If you need information on how to get any of these presenters, 
please let me know and I will be glad to get you their 800 numbers or 

Remember the old Chinese proverb, "I see it, I forget.  I hear it, 
I remember.  I do it, I understand."  Aren't we all like that to some 
extent, not just young children?

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