Sunday, September 22, 2013

Note to Parents

"Mathematics ability is not inherited - anyone can learn mathematics." - Van de Walle, Karp and Bay-Williams(2014)

In the past, when we think about math, we think about words like "listen, copy, memorize, drill and compute". Math was driven into our heads and forced on us through piles and piles of practicing on worksheets. Many students who could not understand the concepts just gave up and never liked math again. This is something we educators would like to change and parents, you play an important partnering role with us in adding math into their life.

Firstly, I would like to introduce The Five Content Standards from Principles and Standards to you. Knowing what your child is learning will help you set appropriate goals and expectations for what they need to know about math from elementary through middle school. They are : 

.Number and Operations
.Data Analysis and Probability

Following these, Principles and Standards lists five process standards. These are mathematical process which your child should acquire and use when doing math. These processes are skills which will aid your child in tackling mathematics. They are:

.Problem Solving Standard
.Reasoning and Proof Standard (logical thinking)
.Communication Standard (able to explain mathematical ideas verbally)
.Connections Standard ( connecting mathematical ideas and using math in the real world)
.Representation Standard (use of mathematical tools to symbolize mathematical ideas)

Of course, the above requires us to have knowledge of the math we are teaching. We also need persistence, a positive attitude, readiness for change and a reflective disposition. Our attitude towards the teaching affects how the children learn.

Mathematics is the science of pattern and order. You can find pattern of regularity and logical order in mathematics. Students are taught to develop ideas of math, connect the materials together, respond and build on those ideas and make conjectures and predictions. In connecting dots between theories and practices, we need to encourage students using an inquiry approach whereby they develop their own ideas and use their prior knowledge in trying to assimilate or accommodate new knowledge. They will in turn need our help and guidance in providing then with the environment for learning math. An important note to remember is that the students are the ones doing the thinking, the talking and the mathematics.

 "Mathematics requires effort, and it's is important that students, families, and the community acknowledge and honor the fact that effort is what leads to learning in mathematics" (National Mathematics Advisory Panel, 2008).

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