Thoughts and resources from your Instructional Coach
Making Math Children Will Love
The latest Grades 3 and 6 EQAO data showed that a significant number of children do not enjoy math, finding it, "hard, boring, mostly irrelevant and unrewarding." (L. Colgan, What Works? Research into Practice August 2014). How can we help shift this thinking and improve attitudes around mathematics? Here are three things to give some thought to:
1. Engagement - providing a "hook" or a provocation through videos, images, and strange problems can get students asking questions about mathematical concepts without even knowing it. These queries set the stage for the intended learning goal.
2. Conversation - allowing students to talk the math out with each other creates an environment where it is acceptable (and encouraged) to question, reason, judge, communicate, and reflect. It also provides rich evidence of student learning and allows you to give prompt feedback.
3. Variety of tool use - the majority of our students are visual learners and need tools to learn, think, and talk about math beyond paper and pencil. Algebra tiles, counters, base ten blocks, fraction strips, rulers, graph paper, linking cubes, LEGO, board games, card games, dice, virtual manipulatives, ...the list goes on and on. Differentiation goes much deeper than simply changing the question; providing students with varied tools will help to make mathematics more approachable.