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Showing posts from May, 2007

Goodies for teachers and all

Just a few items of interest:

1) Math Goodies CD from www.MathGoodies.com has been updated earlier this year; I got to see it, and updated my review of the CD. It's full of good math lessons with interactive exercises, printable worksheets, crossword puzzles and more.

2) I've added a free online equation editor to my site. This would be most useful for teachers or others who write math content and need images for complex symbols and math expressions.

3) Those of us who use math a lot might also enjoy a free calculator/graphing program called SpeQ Mathematics. You can type complex expressions into it, define variables to be used in later calculations, and make plots.

Mnemonic helps for multiplication tables?

Someone once wrote to me,
...regarding my third grader. We are still slogging through learning the times tables. To liven it up, I decided to order Times Tales (I ordered the deluxe version that includes division as well).

I have read different opinions about using mnemonic devices to learn math facts. Some say that mnemonic devices actually slow the student down, and one even went as far to say it was like counting on fingers. I don't want to use Times Tales if it's going to slow her down, and I do want to make sure she knows her math facts cold.

I, myself, remember I didn't know 8x8=64 in seventh grade, and I just figured it in my head, 8+8=16, 16+16=32, 32+32=64 -- 8x8=64. I did this until I realized how slow I was and decided to commit the facts I didn't know to memory. What do you think about Times Tales and other "helps" for math facts?

Mnemonic helps in themselves are not bad. We use them all the time, in everyday life situations. Say you have a…

Help for house cleaning with kids

Image
This is a special offer for May only:

Trigger Memory Systems is offering a FREE Bedroom Cleaning For Kids Clean N' Flip (a $7.95 value) if you buy either their Times Tales Deluxe OR Zone Cleaning For Kids Clean N' Flip.

Times Tales Deluxe is a collection of short stories that provides a mnemonic aid to learn the upper multiplication tables. The "Deluxe" means that the book has story/picture pages for corresponding division facts as well.

Zone Cleaning For Kids Clean N' Flip is a fun & unique system designed to help children visually and systematically work through cleaning the three main rooms of a house independently, and with ease.

Bedroom Cleaning For Kids Clean N' Flip is a sturdy, spiral bound, 8.5" X 5.5" flipchart that walks children quickly and easily through the process of cleaning their room. It takes an overwhelming process and breaks it down into simple parts. Complete a step and flip the page.

-> Buy a Times Tales Deluxe OR Zone C…

Math Mammoth news

I've made a partnership with Scott from Softbasics to offer additional bonus software for those who buy any Math Mammoth CD product or the Blue Series download.

In essence, by buying any of the CDs, or the Blue Series download, you will also get a bundle of 7 software products (math, L&A, testing):

The Soft-Pak contains:

Math Maker - printable worksheets/activities with answer keys.
Math Master - same activities as Math Maker, but on-screen.
Math User - on-screen program for solving the 900 multi-level word problems (also printable in Math Maker) with a built-in calculator.
True/False Math Challenger - on-screen program for answering math questions that are either True or False using motivational activities. Includes math "facts" that are either true or false.
Language Arts Master - covers spelling and reading (over 4000 words included) plus usage, writing mechanics, reading speed and recall, and a non-threatening grammar section: parts of speech, subjects and predicates,…

Performing well below grade level

I am leading a training next week on how to introduce grade level concepts/standards when the students are performing well below grade level, and I am sure that math is going to be an issue. Any suggestions?

These are my 2 cents on teaching under-performing students.

Let's imagine we have an 8th grader performing on 3rd grade perhaps.

I would dismiss for starters geometry and measuring topics, and concentrate on this train of topics, in THIS ORDER:

addition
subtraction
multiplication
division
fractions
decimals.

... the goal being to cover the basic arithmetic up to pre-algebra.

Think of mathematics as a building. You need to have the foundation building blocks before you can go forward.

Maybe the child stopped understanding the math on 2nd grade or 3rd. We need to find the exact point after which he has not understood everything.

You can gauge this by the way by asking the child simple questions such as,

I give you an addition 8 + 2 = 10, you give me a subtraction sentence (1st grade knowle…

New games website

Again! Games sites certainly abound on the internet.
I didn't try all the games but I liked the tangram puzzle game.

SchoolTimeGames.com - Mathematics

On their home page are links to other school subjects as well.

The good side of manipulatives

Update: read also Mama Squirrel's excellent blogpost on the issue; basically there is probably a balance in this, as in everything.



If you haven't, go pay a visit to the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives.

Lots of good stuff there!

So, why would I suddenly turn around and praise manipulatives, if I have just mentioned how they're not the "ultimate thing" in math education?

It's just one of those things that can be good, if used right, in its rightful place.

Manipulatives do help students to understand concepts, initially, on a concrete level. But they shouldn't stop there. Children need to learn to make generalizations. That is where the power of mathematics is.

For example, maybe you might use The Base Blocks Addition to illustrate the concept of carrying to tens and hundreds (or regrouping) in addition. Once the student understands that, they should be able to translate their knowledge into bigger and smaller place values (including decimal add…