Friday, September 24, 2010

Dear Dr Yeap, please do not assess my blog until the 28th of September. My laptop is currently under repair and I will only get it back on 27th of September. Thank you for your kind understanding!

Anyway, I have earned 2 cookies. :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

3rd entry: Problem-solving

Allowing the subject to be problematic means allowing students to wonder why things are, to inquire, to search for solutions, and to resolve incongruities. It means that both the curriculum and instruction should begin with problems, dilemmas, and questions for students.
Hiebert et al. (1996, p. 12)

Previously, before I embarked on this degree course, I had never thought of teaching Mathematics to preschoolers through problem solving. In my mind, I had only thought that problem solving skills in terms of Mathematics concepts are to be taught to children only when they are in primary school. Then again, this must be due to my mindset, as I myself had difficulties and struggled in Mathematics as a child.

But now I realised the importance of proper differentiated instructions to meet children's different needs in learning a certain skill. Therefore, the learning process should be taught progressively.

Teacher should understand each child's strengths and weaknesses. A child who is not yet able to master the skill of simple addition should not be expected to know addition of 3 digits, and a child who is already able to add up to 10 should be exposed to addition of bigger numerals.

For my class (K2), I had done a simple hopping game to teach the children simple concept of addition up to 14.

I lined 14 pieces of A4 sized drawing papers on the floor. The children wrote the numbers on the pieces of paper, and I got a group of them to line them up in order. The objective of this game is to get the children to learn simple addition. The children chose a partner, and they will come to the front when it is their turn. Child A will roll the dice, and Child B will have to hop according to the number shown on the dice. After hopping, Child A will roll the dice again, and Child B will again hop according to the number shown on the dice. Child A and Child B will then look what the numbers add up to.

For majority of the children, I had only asked them to add up 2 numbers together. For the children who I knew could add up 2 numbers well, I had encouraged them to hop and roll the dice 3 times, so they added up 3 numbers.

With this game, although it was fun for the children because they loved hopping, I observed that after hopping, some of them looked deep in thoughts as they tried to add up the numbers together. That is also part of the teacher's role, to provide guidance to those children who are in need of support for learning.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Entry 2: Reflection for first session

It was an interesting introduction to the module by Dr. Yeap, when he encouraged us to try and arrange the number cards and to teach the spelling of the number cards at the same time. For someone who was really bad in Mathematics in my younger days, even I found it a struggle to complete the task. However, I found satisfaction with the fact that I managed to find the sequence for the first three numbers at least. With the help of the other group members, we found the task to be not as stressful as we thought it would be.
I enjoyed watching the video on the dice game. Even as an adult, I was awed by the way Dr. Yeap taught Mathematics. I felt that if my former Maths teachers were like Dr. Yeap, I might have more interest in learning this subject.
The day after the first session, I even tried using the dice available at my centre and carried out the same activity. I was glad that I gave it a shot, as the week before, we did have some addition games being carried out. Some of the children managed to figure out how to get the total number that is hidden between the 2 dice. They figured out the 'trick' that all opposite sides of a dice add up to 7. From there, they were able to calculate the answer.

Chapter 1 and 2 reflections

In chapter 1, it was stated on page 4 that 'the Problem Solving standard clearly views problem solving as the vehicle through which children develop mathematical ideas'. I recalled that Dr. Yeap showed us the Mathematics Curriculum Framework, and it was stated that 'Maths is an excellent vehicle for the development and improvement of a person's intellectual competence in logical reasoning, spatial visualisation, analysis and abstract thought.'
I was glad to be able to see the connection between how the textbook is related to Singapore's context, one way or another.
In chapter 2, there were some great ideas on Mathematics activity that I might consider doing with the children at my centre. Although I know that some of the children are not able to carry out the activities as yet, I believe that I can lower down the level of difficulty to suit their needs, and from there, I can scaffold their learning to be at a higher level than the level that they are currently at.