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A Liping Ma thread - So how do *I* get a profound understanding of math?


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Well, you own 4 excellent math programs. If I were you, I'd pick any two of them and do them thoroughly.

 

Since SM and MM are said to be similar, I would suggest you do MM and RS instead, and not try to synchronize them, but just do a lesson from each on alternate days. If I had RS Math, that is what I'd do.

 

I believe the lightbulb will go on eventually for your ds, as he consistently uses these programs and starts to see the connections.

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Well, you own 4 excellent math programs. If I were you, I'd pick any two of them and do them thoroughly.

 

Since SM and MM are said to be similar, I would suggest you do MM and RS instead, and not try to synchronize them, but just do a lesson from each on alternate days. If I had RS Math, that is what I'd do.

 

I believe the lightbulb will go on eventually for your ds, as he consistently uses these programs and starts to see the connections.

:iagree:

Singapore and MM both teach math the "Asian way," and either program will give your child the kind of conceptual understanding that Liping Ma describes. Since you feel you don't have that kind of understanding yourself at this point, I would go with Math Mammoth — the explanations are clearer, more explicit, and more step-by-step, plus they are written directly to the student rather than you having to read the HIG and reinterpret the explanations as you present them to your child. And if you plan to use more than one program, MM is less complicated to use since it's a single worktext format, rather than having separate textbooks, workbooks, HIGs, extra practice books, etc., just for one program, in addition to a whole second program. Then I would choose either Miquon or Right Start, depending on which one was a better fit for you as a teacher and your child as a learner.

 

Don't worry if you don't get lighbulbs flashing and bells ringing with every lesson; over time, the pieces will start to fit together and you will start to hear "Oh, now I get it!" (and maybe a few of those exclamations will even be coming from you ;) ).

 

Jackie

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I got this book at Goodwill, and started from the very beginning, pretending I was a child, and going through it all with manipulatives. I did it to be able to teach kiddo, but I was amazed at how my mind started seeing numbers everywhere. (A friend joked about the book "The Math Curse".)

 

http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Mathematics-Elementary-Middle-Schools/dp/0130116815/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1282627719&sr=1-8

 

There are newer editions, but .38 plus shipping is a good deal.

After I went through it, I started Singapore Math with kiddo, and I just keep thinking about it, nearly every day. I'd have kiddo chant out numbers and I'd add them in my head (my dad used to do this with us). When I was sitting at a table at work, waiting for a quorum for a meeting, I'd jot out a couple numbers and do long division, as fast as possible. I'd doodle math, like, if you deconstruct 3 hundreds to 1 hundred and turn the 4 tens into 24 tens instead of 14 tens, what happens (I'm giving an example of what I did today as morning report was gathering force). Or sketch out some adjoining triangles and try to figure out the minimal info you need to get angle ABC. Sometimes I write out a problem in long hand: the sum of two and four divided by the product of three and seven.

 

Math, the bane of my childhood, has become the joy of my middle age.

 

In short, grease your wheels, back cog a couple notches, apply forward force, gain momentum, and keep rolling, keep using your math muscles. Remember, without math, life would be nasty, brutish, and short.

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I was always a pencil/paper, follow the algorithm kind of gal. We are using Singapore math now, and I have learned a ton! Other than following the Teacher's guides from 2A-6B, which will take some time, I have found this book helpful: Mental Math: Computation Activities for Anytime by Richard Piccirilli.

 

This book is only a short 88 pages of text, but mentions at least 3 areas LiPing Ma describes in her book (decomposing values in subtraction, division by fractions, multi-digit multiplication).

 

It has opened my eyes to how much FUN math really is!!! I highly recommend this as a short but delightful introduction to how to become "flexible" in working with numbers.

 

The Mental Math series by Jack Hope are also great supplements to use. Again, these develop flexibility with numbers. These techniques are probably all presented throughout the Singapore primary math series, but it might be nice to have everything compiled in three volumes.

 

It would be wonderful to take an actual course that would re-teach us all...

Edited by Jean in CA
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...But, I just don't have enough of a math brain to do that with math....

 

...I think I was thinking of something along the lines of a Teaching Company math course for me, or a good math reference book, or something like that....

 

Hmm. Sorry for misunderstanding your op.

 

I can't suggest many things, but I am going to start reading the articles on Hung-Hsi Wu's web site related to teaching math. I also often search ERIC for math articles on specific topics of interest to me (such as "early algebra", which does not mean starting algebra early, but rather, 'algebrifying' arithmetic lessons for 6-10 year olds.)

 

HTH

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Some books I've liked:

Overcoming Math Anxiety by Sheila Tobias

About Teaching Mathematics by Marilyn Burns

Out of the Labyrinth by Robert and Ellen Kaplan

Games For Math by Peggy Kaye

 

And pull those games back out and play them! Seriously, one of the best ways to learn and experiment with math is to do so in a non-pressurized or non-anxious-making environment, and you can do that more easily with games than with a curriculum.

 

Since you say your kids love stories, read some of the wonderful math picture books out there too. When we read Measuring Penny, we measured our own dog in the ways shown in the book; when we read the Sir Cumference books we acted them all out (my daughter's demand). With Spaghetti and Meatballs For All, we made little paper chairs and tables and arranged them in varying positions as we read. These things don't have to occur at the exact stage your formal curricula introduce them. If you look at them as just for fun, you will feel freer to mess around -- or alternatively, to simply read and move on. Either way, they'll provide background experiences for when you reach the same topics formally.

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We just started CSMP, 1st grade this week. And I already feel like I am getting a profound understanding of counting. I actually chose the program before I read the book. And now that I have read the book, I feel like it is perfect. My dd5 started counting before she was even 2yo, but I still chose to go through the lessons on counting, because there was so much more in there than just counting (even though counting was the focus of the lesson).

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After reading Liping Ma, I switched to Singapore. Then, I got RS games and later did a bit of the AL abacus. I also did some rods (pre Spy Car, even!!) because of what I read in Geraldine Rodger's book "History of Reading Instruction." (She also recommended Webster's Speller.)

 

It took a 6 months to a year for my daughter to start thinking mathematically. Seeing the number bonds for both subtraction and addition was especially helpful, but required seeing hundreds of number bonds before she got it.

 

Anyway, the first year after the switch, she gained 25 percentile points on the ITBS from the previous scores. This year, she gained another 24 percentile points!

 

And, my mom is impressed, she saw her before and realizes that the way I did math took her from a non-mathy person to a person who gets math and is quick at it!! (And, Mom was a bit skeptical about homeschooling but is now becoming a homeschool fan.) My mom wants their old Singapore books so she can learn to do math, too!!

 

A good book for upper level math teaching thoughts is "The Teaching Gap."

 

You should also get the Singapore book that describes how to use the bars, I think it's called "The Singapore Model Method."

 

I also like Wu on fractions when you get to that point:

 

http://math.berkeley.edu/~wu/

 

Keep persevering and it will come!

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