School Help

A Teacher and Tutor eGuide to Help the Older Student with Limited Math Skills/Book Excerpt

Carmen Y. Reyes

Digital Edition, License Notes This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to this seller and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Copyright 2011 by Carmen Y. Reyes

***Table of Contents*** Background Alternative Techniques for Recalling of Math Facts Alternative Techniques to Develop Procedural Knowledge Alternative Techniques for Problem Solving Reference Bibliography About the Author Connect with the Author Online Education and Teaching eBooks/Free Samples

Background Children with low math skills typically evidence skill deficits in one or more of these three main areas: recalling of math facts, computation, and/or word problems. It is important to notice that most math skills overlap and a skill deficiency in only one of the three domains has the potential of bringing down the child’s whole math performance. Sometimes, we see children struggling in one math area without realizing that the skill deficit is really in a different area. When teachers and tutors work in developing students’ overall math skills, first, we need to identify (i.e. using diagnostic assessment) in which of these areas the child is truly lacking math skills, so that we target the real skill deficits, and do not waste precious time re-teaching skills that the child already masters. In other words, first, we determine the source of error and only then, we prepare a plan to remediate. Remediation is the process of re-teaching the skill because the student did not master the skill when it was taught, or the child forgot the skill. Our remediation plan must include alternative teaching techniques and compensatory strategies that we teach the student to help him or her profit from traditional grade placement curriculum in the areas that are developing adequately while the child is still strengthening skill deficits in the areas of difficulty. Alternative and compensatory strategies are different ways of doing the task, or using an assistive device, that allow the student to complete the task, which the child otherwise would not be able to perform. Children need to understand that, in handling math problems, it is not the recalling of math facts and memorization of algorithms what is more important, but the ability to use strategies to solve the problem. For this reason, any remediation plan that we implement should put less emphasis in memorization and more emphasis in strategy using. Teachers and tutors get better results in developing math skills in

all kinds of learners when we see and teach math as a planned and strategic way of thinking, rather than as a disconnected collection of basic facts and computation skills. To develop strategic thinking, we need to provide plenty of discrimination practice in when to use a specific strategy as opposed to using a different strategy. In other words, we help the student identify when a strategy applies and when it does not apply. With our struggling learner, a compensatory technique to develop strategy using is to give the student the choice of two strategies, asking the child, “Which strategy is better here, _____ or _____?” In this book, we discuss remediation activities and alternative math techniques that we can teach children to compensate for skill deficits in any of the three main areas.

Alternative Techniques for Recalling of Math Facts Weak recalling of addition and multiplication facts is one of the most common problems for children who struggle with higher-level math skills. Because these students never memorized basic facts, they depend on inadequate compensatory strategies such as counting on fingers, drawing sticks or circles, and/or adding repeatedly to solve longer multiplication and division problems. These inadequate strategies are simply too long to be efficient, and for this reason, most of the time the child ends feeling frustrated and giving up. We need to explain to the struggling learner that the compensatory strategies that he is trying are simply inadequate, and we teach the child alternative techniques that support and facilitate (instead of frustrating) his ability in solving more sophisticated problems. Some remediation activities and alternative techniques that we can use with struggling learners are: Do not press for speed until the child demonstrates accuracy at a slower pace. Teach the student to draw a number line at the bottom of the paper, so that he uses the number line to add, subtract, or tell which number is bigger than or smaller than another number. Use timed drills in addition (e.g. 9+3), subtraction (e.g. 9-3), multiplication (e.g. 9*3), or division (e.g. 9/3) facts. Have the child compete against her best time. Initially, timed drills should include only a few facts at a time. Use the tracking technique to help the student memorize math facts. Present a few facts at a time, gradually increasing the number of facts the child must remember at a time. Rehearse the student for mastery; keeping in mind that it is better that the child performs five problems with 100% accuracy than performing 10 problems with 50% accuracy.

Continue reviewing previously learned facts, even when it appears that the child mastered the facts. Include at least two known facts in the daily practice. This helps ensure success with the new facts. Similar to the procedure for teaching spelling, verbalizing the facts and then writing them from memory increases retention. Build on what the student already knows. Teachers and tutors can often turn a student’s failure into success if we build on what the student already knows how to do it. Use distributed practice, that is, teaching fewer facts that the child practices more frequently. Or, teaching shorter tasks, but more of them throughout the day. For example, split one longer task of twenty problems into four shorter practices with five problems each. Several shorter sessions are usually more effective than an isolated, longer one. Have the student perform timed drills exercises to reinforce basic math facts. The child competes against his own best time. Teach the child to use number tricks. This mnemonic technique gives the child a visual or an auditory cue (e.g. music, rhyme, or a visualization) to remember a particular fact. For example, 6+6= a dozen eggs, and a dozen eggs equals 12. In another example, 8*7=56 and 56 is also the shirt’s number of the child’s favorite football player. There is a strong correlation between knowing addition facts and memorizing multiplication facts. If the student is having difficulty with addition, chances are that he will also have problems with multiplication. The following activities can help a struggling learner overcome addition and subtraction deficits.

To reduce the demand on memory, teach the student to recognize patterns. For example: Doubles 7+7=14 Doubles Plus One 7+8= 7+ (7+1) = 14+1=15 Doubles Minus One 6+7= 7+7= 14-1=13 At the beginning of this training, you may need to point out the patterns to the student. In other words, first, you practice the student until she learns to recognize immediately all double patterns, i.e. 2+2, 3+3, 4+4, 5+5, 6+6, 7+7, 8+8, and 9+9. Then, you teach the child to generalize her knowledge of double patterns to solve quickly other addition facts. In a problem like, 8+6, the child can use either the 8+8 double pattern (8+8=16, minus two, equals 14), or the 6+6 double pattern (6+6=12, plus two, equals 14). To master math facts, one of the first things that the child needs is to recognize automatically the numbers within numbers. For example, the child should be able to understand that five is made up of five ones, two twos and a one, or a three and a two. Encourage the student to study the number combinations. For most children,

exploring number combinations helps in mastering number facts. You can rehearse the child by giving a number, single or multi-digits, and asking the child to write down as many number combinations that she can find for that number. For example, 5= 4+1 3+2 2+2+1 3+1+1 1+1+1+1+1 Once the child recognizes numbers within numbers, you can teach her to find hidden numbers, for example, there is a six hidden in eight (8=6+2), and she will find a six, a seven, or an eight hidden in nine: 6+3=9 7+2=9 8+1=9 Make sure the student performs automatically plus ones and minus ones, or one more and one less, for example, 17+1 and 66-1. Then, practice the child until he retrieves automatically plus twos (e.g. 17+2) and minus twos (e.g. 66-2). Teach and emphasize number relationships. When the student has a good grasping of number relationships, he can combine or use these patterns to retrieve number facts faster. For example, 8+6=8+ (8-2) =16-2=14 7+9=7+ (7+2) =14+2=16

Emphasize number relationships such as hidden tens. Examples of hidden tens are:  First Example 9+3= (9+1) +2= 10+2=12  Second Example 7+5=2+ (5+5) = 2+10=12 After learning the hidden tens, teach the child to recognize that the nines are one less; the elevens are one more. Prepare Strike Ten Exercise Sheets like the one that follows, and give the child three minutes, then two minutes, and finally one minute to solve different worksheets using the hidden tens strategy.  Top 9 7 2 8 5 4  Bottom 1 3 6

8 4 2 In this example, the child circles 9 (top) and 1(bottom) and writes the first 10. Next, she circles 7 (top) and 3 (bottom) and writes the second 10. She has three additional hidden tens to find, 2 top with 8 bottom, 8 top with 2 bottom, and 4 top with 6 bottom. That gives the child 5 tens or 50 with the five at the top that was not matched, which is 55. Finally, the child adds four more (bottom, not matched) to 55, for the final answer of 59. Do Make 10s dictation. For example, you say eight, and the child writes a two, or you say four and the child writes a six. Once the child masters key addition patterns such as doubles and hidden tens, teach her to use these patterns as a reference for all the other addition facts. The number facts that add to ten are important for the student to know by automatic recall. The child can prepare a cue card that looks like the following one. The five is repeated top and bottom. 1 (space) 2 (space) 3 (space) 4 (space) 5 9 (space) 8 (space) 7 (space) 6 (space) 5 As you can see, all these combinations equal ten. For recalling number facts involving nines, the child simply uses the ten as a base. Practically, all number facts can be retrieved faster using the ten as a base, and then, adding or taking away ones, twos, or threes. In the following examples, we are using the ten as a base to find the number facts: 9+16=10+15=25 14+9=13+10=23

26+9=25+10=35 Teach the child to use number keys. The numbers that add to ten (e.g. 7+3 and 6+4) and the numbers doubled (i.e. 7+7) are the number keys. The student learns the “keys” and uses the keys to add or to subtract. Teach the child to change the order of numbers to make easy numbers. 23+14+5+6= 14+6+23+5+ 20+23+5= 43+5=48 Provide daily looking for patterns exercises, for example, What should go next? Explain why 2, 4, 6, 8, ___ Explain why __________ 20, 19, 18, 17, ___ Explain why __________ 8, 12, 6, 10, 4, ___ Explain why _____ The last example is a plus four, then minus six pattern: 8+4=12 12-6=6 6+4=10 10-6=4 4+4=8 Therefore, the number that goes in the blank space is the same as 4+4 or 8. Drawing tallies or circles is a slow, tedious, and inaccurate compensatory strategy. We can help students speed this process by teaching them how to draw tallies or

circles for only one digit (the smallest), and then, to count on from the biggest digit. For example, to add 6+8, the student says and does, “8 is in my head plus 1+1+1+1+1+1 (draws six tallies and counts each) =14.” Encourage the student to draw a number line rather than tally marks. With a number line, the child draws only once, and it is not visually confusing like the tally marks are. Teach turn around facts so that the child switches to the math fact that requires drawing fewer tallies. For example, the child turns around 6+8 and solves it as 8+6. To add nine to any number, use find the next teen technique, that is, the answer is one less than the second addend plus the teen that follows the first addend. Examples: 9+5 (Take away one from five=4). Find the next teen (10) and add to four=14 19+7 (Take away one from seven=6). Find the next teen (20) and add to six=26 59+8 (Take away one from eight=7). Find the next teen (60) and add to seven=67 We can teach subtraction facts similarly to addition facts. Tell the child to write the smaller number, and then count from there until he reaches the bigger number. The child can draw tallies or counts on his fingers to get the answer. Example: 14-6= 6+ one tally=7 7+ one tally=8 8+ one tally=9 9+ one tally=10 10+ one tally=11 11+one tally=12

12+one tally=13 13+one tally=14 Alternatively, 6+8 tallies=14. Therefore, 14-6=8 Have the child rehearse timed sheets such as, 10-6= 10-4= 6+4= 4+6= After rehearsing the timed sheets, teach the child to use partitioning. With this alternative technique, the child solves subtraction facts by recalling known addition combinations. For example: 13-7=? The child breaks down the bigger number or total (13) into two parts. He knows that 7+6=13, so, 13-7 must be six. Teach the child to say, “Part is 17, total is 29. The missing part is _____.” Show the student that he can solve all subtraction facts as addition by reading up, that is, from bottom to top, instead of reading down. Teach the child to use doubles to subtract. For example, to solve 14-6, the child doubles the six to make it twelve. 14-6= 14-(6+6) = 14-12=2

***End of this Excerpt***

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