By Delia Mathews. 3rd Grade Math. Published at Monday, November 02nd, 2020 - 02:36:18 AM.
Emphasize Skill Building In any academic subject, skills build upon each other as a child learns. If even one math concept has a child lost or confused, theyll have a hard time understanding the next thing that theyre meant to be learning. Its important to put emphasis on skill building at an early age so that, by the time they reach 3rd grade math, kids have the foundation necessary to begin learning and mastering more complex concepts. A knowledge of math facts is key at this level, especially when it comes to multiplication. In order to come to a full understanding of these facts, kids need to be proficient in addition and subtraction. Both of these processes involve a clear understanding of how numbers work together, a skill which can be tested and reinforced through the use of math games and interactive learning tools.
I know that I seem pretty harsh on this young teacher, but his actions indicate a couple of character issues that make teaching a poor career choice for him. Having said that, his situation does point out the two major flaws of the UCSMP program. Because the series is so very different in terminology and methodology, two things need to happen every year. First, new math teachers need the same training all of the teachers received when the series was adopted. I can make a good guess at what happened here. When my district adopted the UCSMP series, we received a great deal of training in the philosophy of the series, lots of teaching help, and even training in teaching reading in a math class because UCSMP is very dependent upon student reading. But that only happened the first year. After that, it became the responsibility of each math department to train new teachers. Sometimes this new teacher training is too hurried or maybe even non-existent. And because we are such a mobile society, it is not at all unusual for the entire department to have completely changed within a very short time. I suspect that this young teacher got little if any instruction into the differences in UCSMP or why it was chosen. UCSMP requires yearly teacher in-servicing.
Most school districts are rather lenient when it comes to new teacher mistakes. However, because of a lack of experience, there are several things that can and do get new teachers fired. This article is about one specific action by one specific teacher; although Im beginning to wonder if he is one of those Urban Legends. First, some background. A couple weeks ago I was doing some research for an article about UCSMP (University of Chicago School Mathematics Project) and trends in mathematics. I taught high school math in a school district that started using UCSMP (we referred to it as the Chicago Series) in 1988. My feelings about the Chicago Series will be in another article, but overall, I considered it to be an excellent math series with tremendous potential for improving student understanding of mathematics but with a couple major flaws that always seemed to lead to its demise. For my research, I just wanted to know if it still existed. I came across an article that I thought was written this year by a 23-year-old, male, 3rd grade math, 1st year teacher. My immediate reaction to his article was that he should be fired for several reasons.
With adaptive learning programs, your child wont just play one level and complete the program. The games offer a comprehensive learning tool that works with kids from kindergarten through third grade. With hundreds of levels, different ways to play and constant interaction, the online games never lose their meaning. The same children can play the games but in different ways, since the programs are tailored toward the learning styles of each child. This is what makes adaptive learning an essential tool in classrooms as well. For 3rd grade math, you can expect a balance of fractions, graphs, money and multiplication that challenge the mind with each lesson. If youre unsure about investing in a particular program, try a program with a free trial. By implementing these valuable learning aids, you can help your child make the most of third grade.
In his article, this brand new teacher--straight out of college--was hired by a school district to teach 3rd grade math. This school district was using the elementary school version of UCSMP--Everyday Mathematics. I cant remember whether he wrote the article in September or October (one of the facts I wanted to check), but the point is that it was very early in the school year. He had already run into some problems: his students didnt understand anything they were being taught and their parents were all mad. He decided that the problem was the textbook and its approach, so he made a unilateral decision (no discussion with the department head or Principal) to stop using the district-chosen series and, instead, teach his 3rd grade students the way he thought they should be taught. And not only that, but he was so proud of his decision that he put it on the internet. No discussion with his Principal, but he writes about it on the internet. The arrogance of youth!
A recent Newsweek article made the connection between physical fitness and success in school, quoting a Harvard psychiatrist who pointed out that the ancient Greeks drew a clear line from physical fitness to individual learning. In other words, this connection is nothing new. Scientists have long understood that the human body is amazingly complex, and with the help of sophisticated brain-scanning equipment, theyve been able to go further than ever before in showing why physical fitness has such a profound effect on intelligence. Before this equipment existed, scientists were well aware that aerobic exercise served to pump extra blood to the brain and body, which increased oxygen to the brain cells. However, this is only the beginning. When muscles engage, they release chemicals through the bloodstream and to the brain, which in turn releases more chemicals that boost higher thought.
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