Math Essentials for your Classroom

test documents for the Programme for Internati...

Math is one of the most important subjects areas, but math can be one of the most challenging subjects to teach. There is overwhelming evidence of this as we study standardized test scores from around the world. I saw a news segment tonight that was discussing the PISA, Program for International Student Assessment. The exam was given to 15- year-old students from around the world. The US came in 24th in Math with Shanghai coming in first in reading, math, and science. Education seems to be a hot topic right now. How can the US work to reform schools and create programs that create successful students? There are many important topics being raised; however, change starts in your room. I want to reflect on what teachers are currently doing to effectively teach math. There are always going to be new strategies and methods for teaching math, but we can't throw out everything. There are some great math activities that are working for our students today.
Developing a strong number sense is crucial. Without spending a great deal of time teaching number sense, students can develop a strong foundation with all other math concepts are based on. Use manipulatives, play number games, count everyday objects, and take advantage of calendar time. All of these activities give kids the opportunity to work with numbers and develop numbers sense.
Time, money, and measurement are all also math concepts that should be taught early and often. The more young students are exposed to these important mathematical concepts, the better they can succeed. Practice is a key component to a strong program. Worksheets that provide repeated practice have their place. There should also time to work on problem-solving skills as well as critical thinking activities. While there are many strong programs, I think that supplemental materials are key. As a classroom teacher, you know what your students need to practice. Find the supplies that you need to teach the most important concepts.