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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 addresses. 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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