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Monday, September 27, 2010 !@#$% 6:29 AM
Geometric Thinking and Concepts

The use of tangram pieces to form square and the activitiy on pentagon were very challenging.  We need to have spatial sense to figure out how to form square using 4,5,6 and then 7 pieces of the tangram.  At first it seem impossible to use up all 7 pieces but when I finally managed it, the sense of accomplishment is so overwhelming. 

And for the activitiy on finding the angles of the pentagon, we need to be able to visualize the shapes within the pentagon.  I find this activity very interesting and good one to develop our visualisation skills and spatial relationship. 

According to Van De Walle (2010), "rich experiences with shape and spatial relationships, when provided consistently over time, can and do develop spatial sense." 

Thus to develop chldren spatial sense and understand spatial relationship, teachers needs to rich experience with shapes with variations, consistently ove time. 

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Sunday, September 26, 2010 !@#$% 9:02 AM
Reflection about the course -Elementary Mathematics

I wondered why I had to learn about Elementary Mathematics when this is a degree course for in-service practitioners.  Haven't we had gone through the various maths module during our  certificate level and also during our diploma level.  But am I wrong!

After having gone through this module with Dr Yeap during this short 6 days module, I realized that this module is indeed an important and relevant one for early childhood teachers.  This module has made me how as a teacher I can assist and help a child learn maths concept in a fun and engaging ways through games, quizzes and looking for patterns and relationships. It made me realized that learning maths can  actually be so fun and engaging.  I will definitely bring back all the games and quizzes and the rewards with cookies back to my own classroom. 

This module on elementary mathematics has further brought home the importance what I already known about teaching with hands-on experiences using concrete materials before moving on to pictorial representation and finally in abstract form.

And I have reunited with some of my old friends such as 'polygon', 'parallelogram','trapezoid' and 'Bruner' and made some new friends such as 'Zoltan Denes' and 'Pick's Theorem'.

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Friday, September 24, 2010 !@#$% 4:33 PM
Completion of Blog

Dr Yeap, I think I can only complete my blog on Monday, 27/09/2010.  Please read it only then.  Thank you.
By the way, I have 5 cookies.

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Monday, September 20, 2010 !@#$% 10:07 AM
Reflect on Practice

In Chapter 8 of Van De Walle, Karp and Bay-William (2010), I agree with "Children come to school with many ideas about number.  These ideas should be built upon as we work with children and help them develop new relationships".  However in many preschool setting, this is not the case.  Teachers usually have to rush from one topics/concept to another topic/concept in order to fulfill curriculum requirement.  Concepts and more concepts are introduced to children without much focus and assessment of their understanding of the concepts before moving on.  Children are not given much practice to polish their skills and to develop new relationship on the concepts learned.  Concepts such as part-part-whole relationships, patternset set recognition are rarely given the due recognition or focus required.

Some of the concepts that are in place in most preschool are :
early counting, including addtion and subtraction,  numeral writing and recognition, counting forward and backward, concept of more/less and same.

Concept of anchoring numbers to 5 and 10 is not a common topic found in most preschool maths curriculum, though.

In my preschool, I have just taught my K2 children the use of Doubles.  I found that it is a good strategy to teach basic addition facts.  Although I have now move on to other maths concept, I will periodically at the beginning of my lesson conduct oral practices on doubling facts with my children.  They seemed to be enjoying these oral practices and thrives on the fact that they are getting very good at their doubling skill.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010 !@#$% 11:39 PM
Chapter 7 Using Technology to teach Mathematics

What I agree most with this chapter is the use of calculator for children's learning of maths. However, before children can start using calculator, they must first grasp the concept to be learned first.  Only after they have fully understand the concept, calcuator can aid them in their checking and further exploration.

I am also strike by the fact that the using of calculator have the positive effect of motivation and improving attitudes. The use of technology such as calculators and computers has made learning easy and so much fun that children are motivated to learn. 

I remembered that I was only allowed to used calculator only when I was in secondary school.
But in today context, every child is most of the time more technology savvy than most adults.  Thus the using of technology to teach in the most logical thing to do and technology should be the mainstay in our modern classrooms.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010 !@#$% 8:41 AM
EDU 330 Elementary Mathematics - 8th September 2010

According to Bruner's CPA approach, children need concrete representation, then pictorial representation before they are introduced to the abstract form.

We were asked to sequence the notations of  place value after the concrete reprensentations of the value 34 through concrete representation of concrete materials and base ten blocks.

In my opinion, the 5 notations should be sequenced as follow:

1)  Place Value Chart.  This would be be to help them understand the value of 3 tens and 4 ones.

2)  Number in Tens and Ones.  The representation would help children further understand what they they have learned through the concrete represenatations and place value chart.

3)  Expanded Notation.  This notation helps children understands symbolic representation of the two numerals.

4)  Numerals. After being introduced to expanded notation, children will be able to understand the meaning  and realationship of  two numerals.

5)  Number words.  Finally the most abstract of all the five notations should be introduced.   

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010 !@#$% 11:48 PM
EDU 330 Elementary Mathematics - Problem Solving

A problem-based approach to solving mathematical task has many entry points and thus is able to accomodate the diversity and range of students found in a classroom. 
With many entry points or levels, students are able to get to the answer or solved the problem through different ways or methods. 

The task that my group has created from the environment, which is the supermarket, provides for many entry levels.  The task can be solved by students using different combinations of products, found in the supermarkets, to come to a total of 5. 

For a child to be able to problem solved, he or she needs to be given opportunities and time to solve problem.  Teacher should not give in to temptation to tell the answer but to give hints or suggestions.  If all these fail, the teacher might consider giving a simpler task or regrouping the students to scaffold the children.

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