A new study confirmed what most parents and teachers already know. The American Educational Research Association found that the non-traditional methods are ineffective in teaching first graders who are struggling in math. When teachers identify an area in need of improvement, they are more likely to turn to non-traditional methods of math instruction, popsicle sticks, cheerious, music and more abstract points of reference. This only confuses a struggling student even more. The main reason is that non-traditional teaching methods, while creative if one wants to use them, are too abstract. Without a from knowledge of numbers, finding all the ways to add to a certain number is beyond frustrating. Concepts in need of re-teaching shall be simplified.
I am not sure why it took research such a long time to come to such obvious point. I am also not sure why teachers resort to making math instruction a mysterious practice and waste precious instructional time. We stink at math simply because of badly written curriculum and ineffective teaching methods. All students, gifted or struggling need to build number foundation through rote learning. This can be accomplished in many fun ways, board games, card games, digital clocks, money counting, dominos, etc. Only when students have a good grasp of numbers they are able to make abstract connections and elaborate on their learning. It never works the other way around. We don’t start reading without knowing letter sounds.
Have fun with math!
Lena, M. Ed.
Dominoes is a perfect number sense game. All kids benefit from visual number patterns of dominoes. This simple game is played and loved all around the world, all the while builds life long math sense in people of all ages.