Monday, August 31, 2015

Welcome to the 2015-2016 School Year!

I am excited to start my new position at Our Lady of Fatima as the Math Specialist. I will be working particularly with grades 2-6, working with teachers to assess students and provide support in the classrooms for a variety of math learners.

One of my favorite parts of our new Math program is the progression from concrete (doing stage--physically manipulating objects to build math models) to pictorial (seeing stage--representing math models with pictures) to abstract (symbolic stage--using numbers and symbols only) that is prevalent across the grade levels and part of all lessons that involve new skills. I started out my teaching career in a Montessori school in Toronto, Canada where concrete objects were part of every math lesson that I taught to first and second graders. The use of concrete objects to explore mathematical concepts is such an essential foundational skill, and when there are materials provided it is much more effective in re-teaching concepts that have not been mastered. The use of concrete objects also helps build a deeper knowledge of the mathematical concepts and are the stepping stones to more abstract thinking.

I often hear parents say, "I can't help with the math is so different from how I learned Math!" And yes, many things will be different from what you experienced in elementary school math class. This is a good thing! We know so much more about how the brain learns new concepts and how the way in which we learn can help us with future endeavors. There will be new vocabulary and students will be required to show their thinking in different ways. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to develop a Parent/Teacher Homework Help Desk for Nickelodeon this Spring. Many parents were polled and asked questions regarding the new math that their students are bringing home. There are explanations of basic questions and links to helpful sites for further reading and/or student practice.
Nickelodeon Homework Help Desk:

Please check back often to the OLF Math Corner for more resources and links as the year progresses!