Thursday, September 30, 2010

.:: Blog is READY ::.

My blog is now READY to be assessed!

.:: Final Reflection??!! ::.

- Learning through PLAY-
Before I embarked on this (EDU 330 Elementary Mathematics) journey, I wondered what are we going to learn and bring back once its done. To my amazement and others (I'm sure of this), the learning and teaching that happened throughout was an unforgettable experience! Personally I was further motivated with the teaching approach 'Learning through PLAY'. Using concrete materials (I'm truly jealous with Dr Yeap's collection) to play during class enable us to explore, experiment and examine our own understanding. The hands-on experiences enlightened me on the importance of such learning opportunities for young children. It is also essential as educators to reflect upon our strategies in teaching children and integrate some joyful elements. To sustain their interest and participation, I believe that young children need to be intrinsically motivated to learn and one such way is to challenge their thinking through problem solving activities.
Although the journey has come to an end for me in school, the journey is only starting for the children under my care. Now that I have learned and understand some effective instructional strategies, I feel that it is vital for me to apply that knowledge (just like the Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract Approach). Last but not least, many thanks to Dr Yeap Ban Har for imparting your Mathematical knowledge and making the journey so wonderfully unforgettable! Not forgetting my fellow comrades from BSc04, thanks for all the sharing sessions :)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

.:: Almost ready for assessment ::.

Blog is almost ready for assessment.
Preparing the final reflection blog. 
Please check in again later :)
Gee thanks Dr Yeap!

.:: The Geometry Story ::.

- My Cookie Night!-
Received one.
And only one ;)

I have always thought that young children are able to explore playing with tangrams by themselves without much guidance from us educators. Attending and being an active participant during this lesson had changed my perception that children do need some guidance from adults in playing tangrams. With some support, they might be challenged to create intriguing puzzles and shapes which can further extend their thinking abilities and problem solving skills.  
The other part of the lesson of exploring the angles in a pentagon is a very challenging yet interesting experience for me. I feel that children do need such motivating and creative experiences in order to maintain their interests and participation.  

.:: Whole Numbers & more ::.

Personally I feel that number sense is a crucial learning process for children. And that more should be done to support the development. Planning meaningful learning experiences in relation to number sense will further support children's problem solving and thinking skills. I do feel that preschool educators are always pressed for time thus they are not able to deepen children's understanding of each concept. Generally we tend to "touch and go" on each concept. As the authors mentioned, "it takes time and lots of experiences for children to develop a full understanding of number that will grow and develop into more advanced number-related concepts in higher grades".

Commonly practised:
- "More, Less, and Same"
- Early Counting
- Attaching meaning to counting (one-to-one correspondence)
- Numeral writing and recognition
- Counting on and Counting back
- Patterned set
- One more/ two more/ one less/ two less
- Estimation and measurement
- Data collection and analysis

Not commonly practised:
- Anchors to 5 and 10
- Part-part-whole

.:: Math, ICT and me ::.

"Technology is an essential tool for learning mathematics in the 21st century"

Having a diploma in computer studies is definitely a privilege for me. Personally I have always enjoyed exploring computer softwares and my curiosity has led me to many learning experiences in the past. Naturally I am able to relate to children's interest in experimenting how a digital tool works especially a computer. Integrating current technology such as educational online games, interactive applets, and other programs of learning values to teach children is beneficial. I strongly believe that computers can be a great supplementary teaching and learning tool for young children. It doesn't matter which aspects of learning, be it language and literacy, mathematics or personal and social education, there are abundance of internet-related resources that educators can effectively utilize.

Interactive white boards or Smart boards are examples of technology most schools in Singapore are moving towards. Such advancement is encouraged to further support children in their holistic learning and development. At the current preschool where I am working, the interactive white boards are widely used for teaching, games, discussion and other sharing purposes with the children. The management encouraged the teachers in school to keep up with the current updates using the online courses conducted. I recognized the importance of support from the management in providing educators with professional development opportunities. In order to teach and work efficiently, staff do need such conducive and motivating environment. Other than that, I also believe that educators should be open-minded in embracing the fast-moving changes in the technology world and its significance of keeping up with that pace. We, educators, should realise by now that the children we are imparting knowledge to are the children of the 21st century in which external hardwares are considered part of their brain (memory).

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

.:: Reflective Mode Part 2 - Place Value Sequence ::.

~ Missing all the fun in class ~
I am positive that Lesson 4 was amazingly FUN! Sad to say I wasn't able to attend due to work commitments. As if missing all the magic math tricks wasn't enough for me, my fellow comrades added more salt to my open wound. By tagging me with their lovely having so-much-fun-pictures. Boohoo!
Thanks anyway for the updates :)

Listening to the tasks which they had to do, I went on to explore the Chapters assigned (Chap 8-13). Phew! That's a lot of reading and reflecting.. Here's my two cents worth of thoughts on number sense:

I believe most children start with rote counting whereby they have the knowledge of numbers through memorization. Recognizing one and two digits in numerals is the next sequence. From then children generally move on to one-to-one correspondence counting. Recognition of number names in relation to their number value is next in line. At this stage children are capable of counting in sequence and beginning to recognize the number names that come with each value. Counting and groupings (tens and ones) would come subsequently as children develop the understanding of counting in tens and ones. I regard expanded notation as the "advanced" learning concept whereby they would be able to process and develop that understanding after they have a deep insight of basis numeracy knowledge.