Archive for the ‘Teach/teaching your child the multiplication tables.’ Category

French edition is “born” today on Amazon!

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Born: April 11, 2014 at 10:00 p.m.

Bonjour tour le monde!

I am thrilled to report that the French edition of my workbook appeared today on Amazon! Heidi Fournier, a math and science teacher in Switzerland, is the translator. Michael Likens of www.gopixel.com is the graphic artist. Together, the three of us produced the workbook.

A workbok like mine has sooooo many details that translating and producing a new edition is a labor of love. “Enseignez a Votre Enfant les Tables de Multiplication, Methode Facile, Rapide et Divertissante!” is now available on Amazon in the US, the UK and Europe.

Tips for teaching your child ADDITION

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Yesterday I received an email from a mom asking for tips on teaching her son addition.

My reply:

For addition and subtraction, I recommend Cuisenaire Rods by Learning Resources. I found these on Amazon. These connecting rods in different colors come in sizes from 1 to 10 cells. Your son will see that to make a rod as long as the ten, he can use two 5s or a 5, a 3 and a 2. Manipulatives make math real.

It’s important to teach children early on the concept of ODD and EVEN numbers. I recommend using M&Ms, Cheerios or pennies to teach this. All EVEN numbers can be grouped in 2s but with an ODD number, one is always left over. You might take an egg carton and have your son distribute 15 M&Ms (two by two) in the carton. One will be left over. Now compare with 16. He will learn that all even numbers end with 2, 4, 6, 8 or 0.

Let your son see the pattern of EVEN numbers. These can be grouped in 2s. When you add two even numbers, you are keeping an EVEN pattern. When you add two ODD numbers, the extra one combines with the extra one of the other number and makes a pair. Do this with pennies. The only time you get an ODD total is when you add an EVEN and an ODD number.

For my son, I would take addition flash cards and go through these. I would not ask for the total but whether the total would be ODD or EVEN: 9 + 6 versus 9 + 5.

Also fun is to open an M&M bag (small) and count the M&Ms — first the grand total. Now count how many reds, blues, etc. Which colors are odd numbers? Which are even? If you have a bag and are counting yours at the same time, it makes this more interesting as the bags will vary in number of reds etc. and one bag may have that extra M&M. Make a bar graph of the different colors. This will immediately show your child how many more yellows that red. If you do this on graph paper, the graph will end up looking like the Cuisenaire rods. Then for the ODD M&Ms give your child an extra one of yours.

Again, real objects that a child manipulates make math real. It’s also good to use coins as children are always interested in money. A dime is EVEN but what about a quarter? How many different ways can your son combine coins to equal a quarter? For a quarter, he will have a minimum of 3 coins. There are no 2 coins that will equal a quarter. If you tell your son he can keep the coins after the math lesson, he will be exra motivated to do this lesson.

FRENCH edition in the works!

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

I’ve been busy, busy reviewing the French translation of my worbook.  Heidi Fournier from French-speaking Switzerland has been in Irvine a few months. Heidi has a Master’s in science and math.  On her return to Switzerland, she will pursue a teaching certificate and become a middle school teacher.  Perhaps she will have the opportunity of testing the efficacy of my method in the classroom.  I’m delighted to have met her and embarked on this project!

History of Mathematics on You Tube

Friday, June 17th, 2011

How did ancient cultures develop number systems to make sense of their world?  How did men and women in Paleolithic times the mark the passing of time and change of seasons?  What number symbols did the Babylonians, Egyptians and Romans invent to conduct commerce?   To find these answers, view: 

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cy-8lPVKLIo

This cute animated video also includes a history of the development of fractions which were necessary to divide land or share harvests.  You’ll see how development of mathematics not only made sense of the world but helped ensure our survival.

College students do not know . . . fractions?

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

                                                                                                                                                                                                     So I was shocked to hear from a friend that college students in the math class her son teaches at the University of Washington do not know  . . .   fractions

Without these how could a student score high enough on the SAT math exam to get into the university?  How could an eighteen or nineteen year old not know how to convert 2/3 to a decimal?   How could these kids who probably had some part-time job be so innumerate?  Would parents not be aware and sit their teen-ager down and teach him or her basic  math skills necessary for survival? 

Parents see the C’s, D’s and F’s in math on elementary, middle and high school report cards.  Your child is failing math?  It is your responsibility is to sit down and teach your son or daughter basic math skills.  Without these, your child is doomed to struggle in school.

You can’t be a responsible, functioning adult without basic math skills. Math skills are a requisite for any number of rewarding careers.  You can’t be an architect, engineer or a financial whiz without knowing how to compute fractions, decimals and percentages.  You can’t manage a household budget or do smart comparision shopping without basic math skills.  You can’t be a good parent without these.

Parents,  invest in your child’s early years.  A third grader who knows his/her times tables and knows how to read (and hopefully enjoys reading because YOU love to read) will most likely graduate from high school.  Competent third graders become competent high school students.   Parents, it is up to you to instill a love of learning and ensure your child’s success in school.  A parent is a child’s first and primary teacher.

Image borrowed from questgarden.com.

Tsunami

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Triggered by a massive earthquake, a tsunami unleashes its fury on Japan.  All of us saw the images on tv hardly believing a wall of water could be so powerful that it would crash through coastal cities upending homes, destroying buildings and churning down streets sweeping away everything in its path.  Minivans bobbed about in the detritus like corks. 

Friday afternoon, people would have been in their homes, offices or running a quick errand in cars as the earthquake struck. Children would be at school.  A thirty-second warning sounds that an earthquake is imminent.  People brace for the worst as the quake strikes with seismic force.  Some are buried in the rubble. 

But the earthquake wasn’t the worst of it.  Nature had a double punch. The energy of the buckling of the seismic plates on the ocean floor was displaced to the water, which came rushing to shore with all the wrath and fury of a monstrous wave depicted in Japanese woodcuts. The wave hit Sendai thirty minutes after the quake.  No doubt, the citizens were still in shock from the quake, perhaps searching for loved ones or salvaging photos and prized possessions.  How many had the presence to flee? 

Unlike the coast of California, the northeastern coast of Japan is flat.   There is no higher ground to escape to.  The only alternative to flee as far away as one can inland.  You can survive an earthquake if there are pockets of air in the building but what pockets of air remain after a wall of water rushes through?  Now, of course, there is the terrible threat of nuclear contamination since the reactors have been damaged.  A triple punch to Japan.

The tsunami . . .  how strong that imagery of total destruction wreaked by nature.  I’m also thinking of a tsunami in metaphorical terms:  the tsunami of our economy with citizens unable to find work, the tsunami of the unrest in the Middle East as rebels calling for reform are violently repressed by a despotic ruler and the tsunami facing our educational system where the establishment seems to care more for its own wellbeing than that of the children they are entrusted with.

Six Million Paper Clips

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

Have you come across an award-winning documentary, Paper Clips, which documents the Paper Clips Project begun by an eighth grade class studying the Holocaust in rural Tennessee?  To better understand the magnitude of 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust, the students decided to collect paper clips after discovering that Norwegians wore a paper clip on their lapels in silent protest to the Nazi occupation of their country.

Begun in 1998, the Paper Clip Project gained traction when German journalists covering the White House began to write about it in German newspapers.  I remember seeing mention of this project on the nightly news.  The earnestness of the students and the poignancy of a single, mundane paper clip representing one life lost brought tears to my eyes.  Jews from all over the world began to send letters with photos of family members lost in the Holocaust.  Enclosed were one or more paper clips.  One person in Germany sent a 40’s era leather suitcase with mementoes of lives lost.  Soon millions of paper clips arrived at the school. 

As the Project grew, the German journalists felt that it would be fitting to find a boxcar in Germany, one of the actual boxcars that transported Jews to the camps.  This boxcar would be a museum housing the paper clips, letters and photographs sent by millions round the world.  At the inauguration of the museum, Holocaust survivors came to the ceremony.  As you watch the film, be warned that you will cry when the survivors speak of their heartfelt gratitude to the students.

Paper Clips is a beautiful, moving, poignant documentary.  Six million is too large for our minds to grasp. When represented by millions of ordinary paper clips, we comprehend the enormity of this number.  If you have children in middle school or high school, be sure to have them see this film.

Our California Summer Came After Labor Day!

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

We’ve had such a cool summer in Southern California but last weekend a heat wave landed on our doorstep with a thud.  At 5:00 p.m., it’s 103 degrees outside and feels like a scorching Texas, fry-eggs-on-the-sidewalk summer day!

After running errands, I stepped into Barnes and Noble to cool off before coming home and turning on the AC.  My home office upstairs with plantation shutters shut tight is now tolerable.

To escape Sunday’s heat, we headed down the Pacific Coast Highway to Crystal Cove in Laguna.   Our blue Pacific was refeshingly cold.  I spent the morning riding the waves, bodysurfing.   Just two weekends ago, the days were so overcast that I was the only one in the water but yesterday O.C. residents dotted the beach with their umbrellas in hot tropical colors. After putting up ours, we rushed in the water.

After bodysurfing, I swam behind the green crystalline waves, ocassionally swimming out to a large one that was cresting.   After swimming most of the morning, we sought the shade of our umbrella and read Sunday’s LA Times, refreshed again by the sound of the pounding surf, knowing the cool water was just a quick dash from where we sat.  Here we were twenty minutes from home, enjoying a mini-vacation.  Loved it!

So our REAL taste of summer came after Labor Day!   We may yet have a furnace of an October as Santa Ana winds sweep in from the desert.  When they do, I’m heading for the beach!

Pattern Recognition and Intelligence

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

 

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My method of teaching the times tables is based on pattern recognition. Did you know there’s a relationship between pattern recognition and intelligence? 

 

I found the following on www.intelligencetest.com/questions/precognition.htm:

 

Out of all mental abilities this type of intelligence [i.e., pattern recognition] is said to have the highest correlation with the intelligence factor, g.  This is primarily because pattern recognition is the ability to see order in a chaotic environment . . .  Patterns can be found in ideas, words, symbols and images and pattern recognition is a key determinant of your potential in logical, verbal, numerical and spatial abilities.  It is essential for reasoning because your capacity to think logically is based on your perception of the logic around you.  Your pattern recognition skills are expressed verbally through your long term exposure to language and your mathematical and spatial abilities are based on your perception of numerical data and 3D objects.

 

 

 

The webpage presents five problems that can be solved through pattern recognition. 

 

Back to “pattern recognition is the ability to see order in a chaotic environment.”  Don’t we feel relieved when we recognize a pattern when confronted with a chaotic environment?  We feel panicked and stressed in a chaotic environment.  Stuck in a long line at the movie megaplex?  You notice the line on the left is comprised mainly of families with children while your line has mostly adult couples.  Your brain takes this in.  It has found a pattern.  The line with the families will move more rapidly because there will be fewer transactions at the box office. You step into the left lane behind families and smile as your line moves more quickly than the other. You’ve made order out of chaos. 

 

We are happy when we make sense out of chaos.  We are frustrated when we can’t.  This is how many children feel when confronted with mastering the multiplication tables.  All those tables, all those math facts to learn.  For many children, the tables become a blur.  How to make order out of the chaos?  I believe my method of pattern recognition does just that. 

 

Summer’s winding down. Time to put away the lemonade stand?

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

 

 

lemonade-stand3

It’s the first week of August and orders are trickling in. Either school starts early for many families or moms are taking the last weeks of summer to review the times tables with their third grader or maybe give their child a head start in math.

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Many parents remember mastering the times tables as a dread rite of passage in their childhood.  But it doesn’t have to be for their children.  My method is fun!  And not just because I, the author, think so.

 

I’ve received countless emails from moms telling me nothing worked till they tried my workbook.  Moms tell me that they never had to say, “You’re going to do 20 minutes of math every day this week.”  Their child needed no prompting after a few minutes of exposure to my workbook to become intrigued and continue working on their own.   Of course, this is what I’d hoped for.  I wanted my book to teach your child serious multiplication skills but be a fun activity book as well.   I wanted my workbook to be a real page turner!

 

If you have a story to share about your child and my workbook, please submit if.  I love hearing from you.

 

             Image from bettertheworld.com.