Friday, May 28, 2010

Multiplication with color

One student could not remember to finish his multiplication problems. So I wrote them out in color.
an example of this is as follows.  Since I am learning to blog myself and use the computer better I
will try to do this one in color.  We have a wonderful library staff who are kind enough to help me
learn to use the computer and how to blog. Thanks Kathy and Mary. See yet another example of
how much we need and are willing to help each other.

                   327        When we multiply by 5 we put the answer in purple.
                     45         When we put the answer in yellow.   I put a green
                 1635           line under addition because green means go and 
               1308             you still need to go to finish the problem.  We write
             _______            the final answer in black because that is the end of
                                         the problem.

Long division, math, math with colors

     Once again I was helping someone with math.  This fourth grader was confused by long division.  He took the problem 5 divided into 25 and got 1.  His reasoning was 5 will not go into 2 so you put a 0 on top.  Then you divide 5 into 5 and it goes 1 time.  When I tried to explain, his blank look and confused ok??, told me, we needed colors for the problem.  I used 5 to start teaching this because I can make a problem that comes out evenly with any large number as long as it ends with 5 or ten.  Also many learners can count  well by 5's.
     I also made a big problem.  Remember it is always easy when you know how.  I say this several times during the problem.  Also, I ask how many times they think I have done this compared to them.  I use crayons to begin with because crayons are non threatening to most children. Sometimes color pencils are confusing to children struggling with math. I think because they represent something adults or older children use.
     I only write one problem on a piece of 8 by 11 inch paper. I wrote the problem 5 divided into 1 5 6 9 2 5.  5 is written in a green color. 15 is written in a purple color because I do not want him to toss the 1. 6 is written in orange. 9 is written in blue, 2 can be green and 5 can be red. The color of each number does not matter as long as they are different and noticeable.  Yellow and other light colors are too hard to see to use.
How many 5 or nickles are in a penny or 1 cent?  He smiled and said none. So I had him put a zero above the 1 in a black color. Then I asked him how many nickles were in 15 cents.  He knew 3. I had him put a 3 above the 3 in a green color. I asked him if he would throw a 10 dollar bill out the window of  his car. He smiled and said no.  I told him that is what he was doing if he left the 1 out of 15. Then I had him multiply 3 times 5 and put the answer in green under the 15. Next I had him bring down the 6 with an orange color.
We do this until the end of the problem.  Also, you as the teacher only get to do three problems a day with the learner.  Usually teaching math with color  like this only takes about a week.  After 2 or three days, I turn a lined paper on its side so we can keep our numbers in line easier.  This child seems to understand. The test will be next week when we do long division again. After 3 weeks, try using a pencil again and see if he can do the problem without color.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Helping others learn and learning from others

     I have a dream where people will share a time where they struggled to learn something and someone else helped them.  Also, I want to have people share times where they helped others learn.  Many times I have heard someone tell someone else that they cannot learn something.  The truth was that the person doing the teaching did not know how to teach this person.  One time I decided that I wanted to learn to crochet a shawl.  I went to the yarn shop and the people were very friendly.  They were happy to show me how to learn to crocket.  The problem was I could not learn it the way they wanted me too.  I went home discouraged and convinced I could not learn to crochet.
     A neighbor told another neighbor about my difficulties.  This neighbor came down and asked if I wanted her to show me how she crocheted.  She said she crocheted backwards but it looked the same when she was finished.  I was able to crochet her way and could learn how to make what I wanted.  How sad when we often think we cannot do something because someone else cannot teach us.