We are discussing: Making Mathematical Connections
~We need to provide opportunities that "continually build upon and refine their existing background knowledge" (85)
~When we finish a 'unit', we move onto a new topic...which usually doesn't relate to the previous topic we've taught-makes it a little hard to have a good foundation and build steady bricks upon it!
~We must explicity teach how to recognize connections and how to make them-not everyone has the same prior knowledge
(SOAPBOX: here is my reading background-Background knowledge is what they know about a topic that is always correct; Prior knowledge is anything that they know about a topic(schema) it can be incorrect. Sorry if I sound preachy, but it was drilled into my head while getting my Master's and became a pet peeve when they're confused :) (END)
~We need to create lessons that are rich in Making Connections-ways for us to model as well as guided and individual practice
~We need to provide opportunities to add files to our schema filing cabinet (Thanks Debbie Miller!) and link it with previous folders
~We need to change student's negative attitudes about Math: have a discussion about it-why do they feel this way-how could we make it easier?
~Show them all the ways that we use math-you'll be surprised how much math is around us!
~Relate new knowledge to old-enhances understanding. They need to 'hook' new learning onto old-otherwise it's hard for them to construct meaning
~Really cool charts that compare strategies with good readers and good mathematicians :)
~Different kinds of math connections:
Math to Self: when they notice connections between their life experiences and math
Math to Math: when they link present concepts and procedures to past concepts and procedures
Math to World: when you see math out in the world- it's EVERYWHERE! :) (very valuable in helping recognize big ideas and themes)
~Connections are like spider-webs- "few of us notice or appreciate the beauty of spider webs. They tend to be ignored or brushed away until someone stops and points them out" (95)--i.e. in the rush to learn new material, many students forget to appreciate the beauty of what they know already.
How can we help?
~Modeling and Think-Alouds
~Plan properly-no more winging it! (darn ;)
~Relate it to your experiences/real life
~Use precise language
~Schema Roller-Math specific
~1-Minute Schema Determiner-Create a T-Chart
-Left side: well-known concept
-Right side: unfamiliar concepts
~Math Current Events
~Use Children's Literature
~Meaningful Connections v. Distracting Connections
(My dog needs 3 lbs of food but I only have an ounce cup v. I have a dog)
So, in a summary, use how you teach reading to help you teach math. A lot of these ideas/structures are drilled into our heads on how to teach reading...but not as much with math. By helping the students make connections between math and life, they are more likely to be invested and lose the negative attitudes that are usually associated with math.
Smiles and Sunshine,
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