September 25, 2016

Math Time!

The boys and girls did a terrific job on their number-sense folders. We started these back in the first week of school. They helped everyone review skills and hopefully aid in curing any cases of the ol' "summer slump"  

We're now ready to get going with our first official Math unit. The number-sense folders lead nicely into this unit because it's all about addition and subtraction. It's actually "Unit 2" of the official program.  We'll come back to Unit 1 after this one. Starting on Unit 2 just makes more sense in terms of the skills the kids need in order to tackle Unit 1.  Sounds weird, I'm sure.  

As we move through the year, you'll notice that we're slowly moving away from using the traditional Math workbook and toward problem-solving based Math. It's important for the boys and girls to have the basics down and there will be plenty of instruction and practice with respect to this, but it is essential that students can apply those skills to problem solving situations.

"Apply" is the key word there. After all, its one thing to be able to read words, but if you can't connect them to make meaning, are you really reading?

The same is true for Math. If you can solve problems such as 50+25, but can't use that to help you figure out if you have enough money to buy two items at a garage sale, your Math skills really only developing.

In Grade Three, the boys and girls do a lot of problem solving. They work in partners and on their own to apply the skills they've learned. To learn the skills (e.g. how to multiply and divide), we'll use some pages from the workbook and our slates, but it's not page after page of questions. In fact, when students or parents wish, they are welcome to complete those parts of the workbook on their own. Wait. That doesn't sound right.  The kids will complete the pages. The parents will direct them to do so. Geez Patti.   
There are five steps to problem solving and we'll take a baby-step approach. You can see the steps in the photo below. Our naughty pal, Turkey Lurkey, will be the subject of many of the problems we'll solve over the coming weeks.


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