Reaching the State Standards
How do you have the time to do art and music and still teach the standards?
How will my child be able to take a test if they only know the material through play?
Isn't all of this just a valuable waste of education time? Wouldn't it be eaiser to just tell them the answer and have them memorize it?
It's only natural for you to be worried about your child not getting the academics that they need. Or to worry that if a child is spending time "playing", that they won't have anytime left to learn.
Yet we believe that by teaching the concepts in fun, interesting and engaging ways, children not only are able to recall facts easier, they have a truer understanding of the concepts behind the facts and then are better able to apply this knowledge to new and different situations.
Therefore our classrooms are set up so that the children learn the standards in many different ways. Carefully designed materials are systematically introduced so that the children concretely learn the required concepts
In addition, Music, dance, drama, and movement activities are all used to generate the concepts, and to help put to memory the facts that the children need to know. Once these concepts are clear in their mind, THEN, the children are taught how to put them on paper.
Below is a series of photos, each showing a different way to learn the threes table. All of these materials, and more, are available to the teacher so that they can match each child's learning style and background knowledge to an appropriate material. Every child is not forced, or even exposed to each material, and once a child has grasped the intended concept and is comfortable with it, they are moved to abstraction (often completely on their own).
On the on the other hand, if a certain material isn't helping a child learn a concept, or if a child gets bored with the material before they have mastered the concept, the teacher introduces a new material to help the child see what they are learning in a fresh new way.
Groups of three beads are wired together and then each group is linked to another group of three beads. The child organizes little plastic arrows with the multiples of three written on them and places them so that they point to that specific bead on the chain. This is a very concrete material that helps the child count, order, and understand the true nature of multiplication as repetitive addition. It also helps them put the multiplication facts to memory. Additionally, it sets the foundation for algebra by concretely teaching the concepts of squaring and cubing.
The child uses individual beads to produce arrays of the multiplication facts. This is very concrete material is used by a child who can already count and order numbers and is now learning about multiplication being repetitive addition.
Multiplication Board with Tiles
With this material the child sifts through all of the tiles to find the multiples of 3. She then places them on the board in increasing order and in the correct spot to complete the multiplication fact. This material is obviously less concrete than the chain or the multiplication board. Therefore this material is given to a child who already understands the process of multiplication and is working on simply putting the facts to memory.
Math Facts with Music and Movement
In this photo, children are wearing shirts that they made with the multiples of three painted on front. As a song with three table math facts is played, children jump up and do specific movements for their fact. This is another way that the facts are put to memory once the child understands the concept of multiplication.
The ultimate goal of all of these ways of learning the math facts is for the child to understand the concept of multiplication, be able to recall the facts from memory, and apply their knowledge to future situations.