We are really loving Singapore math. This is such a good fit for Stiggy, and within one day I could see results; he’s really absorbing the lessons.
We’re still following the Living Math approach, and Singapore fits this approach beautifully. Singapore is one of those math programmes that is best done with lots of supplementing. It’s not that it’s lacking anything (apart from a bit of extra practice), just that it’s challenging, stresses mental math, and practice is key. Also, the main reason the programme is such a success in Singapore is because math is a part of their lives; they don’t simply do their lessons and move on to other things; they’re always using math.
I’ve bought the Singapore Math Practice workbooks. We’re also using Family Math, and Math for the Very Young as supplements. We also do lots of incidental math, we still practice counting to 100 while tossing a beanbag, and we read math stories. (I’ve just picked up a Murderous Maths book from the library to have a look at.) Stiggy loves math and is always counting, creating little math problems, and weighing and measuring things.
We’re currently working on number bonds. In the photo, Stiggy’s doing a number bond activity (you can download this from my file share box to the right). He’s very quickly figured out the pattern of taking a number away from one side, and adding a number to the other side to get the next number bond.
For anyone curious about Singapore and all the books needed, each year is divided into two parts, ‘a’ and ‘b’. For each half year, you get 2 workbooks, a textbook, and the teaching guide. The teaching guide is essential. It shows how to teach each lesson, what textbook and workbook pages need to be done for each lesson, provides the answers, and has the cards you need to print out and cut up to use for the lessons. It also provides a useful schedule.
Each lesson is done by demonstrating the concept with manipulatives, letting the child try it, and then the textbook is brought out. The full-colour textbook is where the child practices the mental math; there is no writing and no manipulatives are used (usually). The child then does the workbook pages on his own. Stiggy (who is not yet a fluent reader) is able to read the instructions and do the exercises with next to no help from me. Supplemental activities are also included in the teaching guide.
There are between 1 and 4 lessons each week. On the other days, we use the practice workbook and do other math activities.
The manipulatives needed are simple ones such as lego, counters, and multilink cubes. A simple balance scale is also needed. I bought a proper metal balance scale from Argos but it was useless (I should have read the reviews, but it didn’t occur to me to look online). When I pulled it out of the box, I tipped one scale down and it stayed. Then I tipped the other scale down and it stayed. Not exactly a sensitive scale. Not exactly what you’d expect for £32.99. I’ve returned it and bought the one below (£17). It won’t be very useful in the kitchen, but Stiggy will enjoy it.
I’ve recently discovered the joy of not planning. Yup, you heard me…not planning. I’ve been quite busy lately and I’ve been spending less time on my lesson plans, and only planning the main lessons. It started out as pure laziness: ‘I can’t be bothered going through the math activity books…we’ll just choose something on the day.’ And it has turned out the be a great thing. I feel less pressure to ‘do it all’ since I’ve not written down every last little detail and we can just go with whatever we’re in the mood for. It’s more enjoyable, and I feel more learning is taking place.
If you’re curious about stats for your blog, then WordPress may be the way to go. Not only do they provide you with a hit counter (which does not log your own hits to your blog), but also provide you with some interesting information.
You can see, each day, the links people clicked in order to get to your blog, the links people clicked on your blog, top posts and pages, and the search engine terms people used in order to find your blog.
You can also password-protect individual posts.
I have, unfortunately, encountered a few limits. When creating a post, I can’t seem to space things the way I want. I sometimes want more than just one line of spacing between the text, but no matter how many times I hit the return key, it only gives me one line of space. I think this can be remedied by creating the post on Word first.
I’m also disappointed because you can’t have Amazon or Shelfari widgets. I like using those to display booklists. Shelfari, apparently, is trying to work with WordPress so that we can use their widgets.