<![CDATA[Creating Passionate Learners with Love and Fun - Blog]]>Fri, 17 Nov 2017 22:27:02 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Critical Thinking Exercises]]>Thu, 09 Nov 2017 03:22:19 GMThttp://teachkidlearn.com/1/post/2017/11/critical-thinking-exercises.htmlUsing Critical Thinking Exercises to Develop Higher Order Thinking in Preschoolers and Kindergarteners
Critical thinking exercises and activities are key to getting children to learn how to analyze problems from different angles. While memorization is a great way for children to learn the basics, developing their ability to think and analyze is vital to teaching them how to make good decisions. The younger children are when parents and teachers start to develop these skills, the more natural decision making will become.
As we want to avoid constant repetition and memorization, there are a number of different activities that parents and teachers can use to ensure that the child’s thinking is challenged. Of course, it is also important to revisit similar problems from time to time to see if the child can come up with a new way to solve the problem. Remember that critical thinking exercises should be just that, exercises. They should stretch a child’s current knowledge, pushing it just a little further without making them too frustrating for the child.

The following critical thinking exercises can be done on worksheets, online, or even created by you. Each category includes a few examples of games and activities for young children.

Critical Thinking Exercises and Activities

Puzzle for Critical Thinking exercises
Puzzles are one of the easiest and most entertaining activities for critical thinking skills. There is a wide variety of different types of puzzle types, from the traditional jigsaw puzzles to more advanced types of picture Sudoku. This makes it easy to work puzzles into a regular routine without making it feel like work for the child. You can even provide a different set of puzzle types and let the child choose which one he or she wants to do that day. If they are really interested, children can even choose to do a couple of puzzles each day to engage different parts of their brains.

The following are a few puzzle types for young children that offer a range of skill levels.

  • The jigsaw puzzle is a great way to help train the brain to take information and process pieces into a whole. They can also be used to teach other lessons as well. For example, a map of the US can be used as a jigsaw puzzle for Kindergarteners to teach them about the different states, as well as the puzzle.

  • Crosswords are an interesting option, but it is important to remember to keep them simple. These types of puzzles help children to learn to work with clues and hints while working out how to stay within set parameters.

  • Picture Sudoku is one of the new and more interesting types of puzzles because it can be more difficult to explain to a child. Sudoku accesses some of the highest levels of cognitive ability, so it should not be pushed every day, particularly if a child becomes frustrated while working with the puzzle.
Patterns and Pairing
This is one of the very basic but extremely important type of critical thinking exercises. Learning to recognize patterns is something that most people have trouble with because it requires the ability to think ahead based on available information.

While not quite as challenging, pairing helps children to understand the relationships between what is in front of them. This can be pictures of mother animals and their babies, words, or even pictures of objects and their uses. There are a number of possibilities for pairings, making it an interesting exercise for adults as well as children.
Mazes are a staple for critical thinking exercises. It teaches children how to think about getting from one place to another. While technology has made it easier to go from one place to another without thinking as an adult, mazes also teach children to plan ahead. They learn that blindly moving ahead will result in more dead ends, so they have to trace ahead with their eyes or fingers before moving forward with the writing utensil.
Like puzzles, comparisons can be really fun for children. They usually involve both difficult and easy aspects. One example of a comparison is the set of two pictures with a specific number of differences. There are almost always a few differences that are easy to spot, and then the child must focus harder on the details to find the remaining differences. Comparisons can also be combined with patterns and pairings to offer a real challenge.
Do check out these Educational Kids' Printables to entertain children and help them to develop their mental skills.
<![CDATA[Higher Order Thinking Skills]]>Thu, 19 Oct 2017 01:26:45 GMThttp://teachkidlearn.com/1/post/2017/10/higher-order-thinking-skills.htmlSix Learning Strategies to Develop Children Higher Order Thinking Skills
Higher order thinking skills, also called HOTS or critical thinking skills can be taught.

Some traditional schools taught children basic thinking skills such as acquisition of knowledge, comprehension and rote learning (memorization) from young. As parents and educators, we can start our kids off by steering them away from memorization and regurgitation of information. Instead, assist them in organization and guide their paths to more complex reasoning with learning strategies.

Firstly, let’s understand what are HOTS…

Bloom’s Taxonomy Cognitive Learning Skills

Professor Benjamin Bloom, from University of Chicago, identified 6 levels of cognitive learning skills set which was later known as “Blooms Taxonomy”. He taught that these skills are actually a progressive complex mix from the lower order thinking skills. Blooms Taxonomy ranks knowledge at the bottom because it involves simple recall of information like memorizing facts of a butterfly’s life cycle while listing evaluation as the highest/most difficult as it requires judgment, comparison and problem solving skills.

Higher Order Thinking Skills
In summary,

Blooms Taxonomy:
  • Evaluation - Recommending or Judging Outcome
  • Synthesis - Creating and Inventing New Ideas based on Old Concept
  • Analysis - Identifying Patterns and Trends
  • Application - Using Knowledge for Problem Solving
  • Comprehension - Understanding, Discussing and Summarizing
  • Knowledge - Gathering and Recalling Information

Learning Strategies to Adopt

Key Concepts Identification
Concepts can be verbal/non verbal, concrete/abstract or process. Suppose you want to identify a process concept. You would explain how things work in sequential steps.  An explanation of how iron would rust under different conditions is a good science process concept.
Concepts Connection
New concepts can be connected to old ones learned and to expand knowledge base. Take water for example. Most of them know what is water but how do you turn them into ice for food preservation or steam as a form of energy?
Mind Mapping
It is essentially a visual aid to help our children grasp important concepts at a glance to understand the different relationships mapped out in the topic of interest. It is also an excellent way to record our thoughts. Short, sharp and to the point.
Inculcate Inference
Teach your children how to interpret or come to a conclusion, given certain circumstances. For example, in Japan, children of early childhood education get earthquakes drill regularly. “What does it mean when you have to hide under the table?”
Re-Write Your Own Story
This method helps your children to think about what they already know but at the same time be involved like they are the characters themselves. “If you are the wolf, where would you wait for Little Red Riding Hood and why?” Reward them for their creativity and novelty.
Family Support
Practice what you preach is a good way forward. Encourage discussions that do not have straight answers of right or wrong to it. Choose issues that may affect them that they read in the news. You could try questions like “Do you think banning gum in school is a good idea?”
Importance of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS)
Gone are the days when our forefathers earned their bread and butter in the traditional way before the invention of computers. HOTS prepare our children for a future that could potentially be far more complex than ours. HOTS sharpen our children’s independent/critical thinking skills and promote understanding which is useful in tackling unexpected scenarios and to solve multifarious issues.

Let’s teach our children how to think.
<![CDATA[Visual Learners]]>Fri, 06 Oct 2017 08:24:07 GMThttp://teachkidlearn.com/1/post/2017/10/visual-learners.htmlVisual Learners Traits and Teaching Strategies
Does your child show common visual learners’ traits?

The ability to identify the learning style of each child helps tremendously for us, the parents, to teach them effectively. Though 65% of population learns visually but our children may not be one of them.

Close observation and tune our teaching method according to our children learning preference helps minimize frustration for both parent and child. It was only after many observations then I realized my son's visual learning preference.

Characteristics of Visual Learners

visual learner drawing
For visual learning preference child, he learns best from seeing information. Some of the common traits I have observed are:

  • Learn by Watching Others
  • Use Images to Remember
  • Prefer Face-to-Face Conversation
  • Distracted by Noise Easily
  • Enjoy Pictures, Drawings and Color-Oriented

Teaching Strategies

Based on the characteristics, we can deliver information in the most preferred method accordingly. Here are my personal experiences with my son.
Always Give Visual Cue in addition to Verbal Instruction
My son’s music teacher wanted the children to sing with accompanied simple action; nodding head, swinging arms and clapping hands. He cannot take his eyes off his teacher's action as he follows through. Even after many attempts, he was unable to follow through if the teacher was not there to show the actions.

Write It Down
Never do oral spelling with visual learners!

My son was playing with a compass. He asked me what does the S stands for. I told him S-O-U-T-H as I spell it out to him verbally. He just could not get it even after my several repetitions. He felt frustrated and requested me to spell it out on a piece of paper. Then he was satisfied after looking at the word.

As such, my teaching strategies for him when learning words:

-    Learn to Spell Words
He learns how to spell words by writing them down. I read the word from his spelling list and he writes it down instead of spelling it out verbally. There is a great improvement on his spelling skills after adopting this method.

-    Learn Synonym and Antonym
He learns synonym and antonym based on sight. He will write down each word on a small piece of paper. Mix them all up, then match the set of words. Challenge him to have a perfect score or involve the sister to play a round of word matching game.

Use Illustration and Drawings
In addition to write it down what they learned, visual learners can also benefit from drawing it out. Drawing is another form of expression by kids. It reinforces their understanding of concept.

-    Teach Math with Visual Model
math worksheet with drawings
Look what my son has done to the worksheet. It is great he found a method works well for him.
Mathematics concept may be abstract for kids to understand. An effective method to help my son solve math word problems is to draw it out.

MySingapore Math Worksheets are visually appealing. It comes with colorful visual model to assist kids to understand concept before moving into numeric terms without visual aids.

-    Educational Tools and Mathematics Manipulative
Educational toys such as jigsaw puzzles, mazes and board games are great learning tools for them. You will be surprised when the child starts telling you some details of the pictures on the puzzles, board games or books. Visual kids tend to notice details too.

Provide Attentive and Conducive Learning Environment
For several times, my son pulled my face towards him and make eye contact with me as he speaks. Having eye-contact and engaging face-to-face communication help him to listen and understand better. This is his preferred mode of communication.

Gives full attention and patience when teaching. Allow adequate waiting time for oral questions and answers as visual learners need to process image information into oral form.

No one is allowed into the study room when we teach him. This is to minimize distraction during our lesson time.

Have you noticed any of these traits in your child? Take your time to observe your kid during your daily interaction with him. Adopt the right teaching strategies and let your child learn effectively.
<![CDATA[Auditory Learners]]>Fri, 29 Sep 2017 06:11:01 GMThttp://teachkidlearn.com/1/post/2017/09/auditory-learners.htmlStrategies for Auditory Learners to Succeed in School
Auditory learners benefit most from traditional teaching methods whereby teacher gives instruction verbally or delivers information via lecture. There are more we can do to enhance their learning experiences based on auditory learning preferences.
auditory learners
If you were to observe the children in a class, these are the ones who can follow instruction after being told once or twice.

You will also notice some kids like to talk it out as they process new information. Or, have you heard them humming to themselves when there is no music playing around?

Ways to Leverage the Strength of these Auditory Learners:

Read to the Child

They prefer listening to stories rather than reading stories. Read to the child will definitely arouse his interest.
This is also an opportunity to play some fun reading activities as they enjoy sound.
  • play rhyming word games with nursery rhymes or make up some silly rhymes together.
  • ask child to predict how story end.
  • revisit an old favorite by reading aloud after you. Pause to let him fill in the words or phases.
For older kids, let them read out comprehension stories. Use oral question and answer method can be more effective versus written.
Instead of stocking up physical books, you may want to consider audio books.

Oral Repetition

Reciting information to himself as he learns to internalize new information is helpful to the child.

Let the child uses oral repetition in learning how to spell and memorizing multiplication tables. Constant reciting loud information makes it easier for him to remember.

_Learn Math with Math Songs

If need be, use math songs to enhance his learning experience. It will be so much fun for the kid to learn times tables using songs. This is applicable for young kids to learn how to count.

Group Discussion

It will be helpful if they study in a group, as they will learn best through discussion or explaining things to others.

Tips to Overcome Auditory Learning Weaknesses:

Though it is important to support your child learning preference, as parents, we need to help them to overcome or coup with some of their weaknesses.

Some kids may not be good at reading written instructions. Advise him to read out written instructions several times so that he can understand better. If a science topic on dinosaur is taught by touching clay figures in school, revise the subject through question and discuss with your child orally.

With technology, many audio materials are currently available for one to learn. You can get books-on-tape or music and made these readily available at home.
Simply talk to your child more often or enjoy listening to stories together as you bring up an auditory learning child.
<![CDATA[Kinesthetic Learners]]>Mon, 11 Sep 2017 04:50:56 GMThttp://teachkidlearn.com/1/post/2017/09/kinesthetic-learners.htmlEffective Tactile Learning Activities to Help Kinesthetic Learners Reduce Learning Frustration
Tactile learning activities can minimize kinesthetic learners stress in a typical learning environment.

Tactile learning preferences children find it stressful when they are made to sit still read and listen in a classroom environment. To relieve the stress, they may resort to action such as frequenting the rest room or get up to sharpen their pencils in the class. While in their seat, they start wriggling their legs, rocking or leaning in their chair. They are frequently mislabeled with attention deficit disorder when such behaviors are deemed unacceptable to parents, teachers or caretakers.
Basically, kinesthetic learners

  • like to feel and handle things
  • have short attention span
  • like activities to keep them moving and doing
  • prefer to show rather than describe things
  • learn best with hands-on; prefer to try things out themselves
They need to engage in activities to learn best.

Math Activities for Kinesthetic Learners

Many daily activities involve math. Take opportunities to turn them into math lessons for kids. Play store, card games and make crafts are just some examples.

Math manipulatives are useful teaching tool.  Tactile learning child touches and builds abstract mathematical concept using concrete material. It makes learning math interesting and enjoyable.

Learn Science with Hands-on Approach

Nothing beat learning science with experiments and activities…kids explore, discover and have lots of fun along the learning process.

No need expensive equipment or science kit if we inject some creativity in designing science experiments and activities. Safe and easy experiments can be carried out with materials we found in kitchen and at home.

Learn to Read for tactile learners

Get active kids to sit down quietly for a reading session can be a challenge, sometimes. Use guided reading activities to encourage reading and help them to form reading habits.

More Tactile Learning Activities

Build Model
lego block for tactile learners
Blocks or LEGO are open-ended toys children of all ages like to play. For older kids, there are airplane, dinosaur, animals and car models. They are versatile and seldom outgrown in a short time.

I am constantly in search for such educational toys. It is worth the investment for our children learning.

Drama and Play
Participate in drama and play provides the chance to use body and movement for expression. This is a wonderful outlet for a kinesthetic child.
Get Outdoor and Explore Nature
Hold lesson in a different setting gives everyone a refreshing learning experience.

Take a stroll around botanic garden. Observe shapes and fruits of trees, collect seeds, touch the leaves, and smell the flowers. Children no longer struggle to recognize trees and flowers from textbook but through actual plants.
shells painting as kinesthetic activities
Go to the beach and play with sand. Learn to write on sand is really fun.

Build sand castle, pick and observe the different shapes and colors of seashells. Children can turn these shells into beautiful art mementoes.

Cooking provides children the knowledge on

  • Volume measurement, sizes, shapes, three-dimensional objects
  • Temperature and time setting, chemical reaction
  • Reading
  • Hand-eye coordination

Kids also pick up life skills by learning how to cook.

<![CDATA[Learning Styles]]>Thu, 24 Aug 2017 06:47:44 GMThttp://teachkidlearn.com/1/post/2017/08/learning-styles.htmlUnderstand Children Learning Styles and Help Your Child Learn Effectively
Children learning styles and preferences vary. Children learn best when information is presented to them according to their preferences.

As parents, we can help our children to learn effectively if we can discover their learning preferences. Understand each child learning strength and weakness allows us to adopt the appropriate teaching tactics.

Children Learning Styles:

Learning styles are broadly categorized into:
  • Visual learners - learn best from seeing information
  • Auditory learners - learn best from hearing
  • Kinesthetic learners - learn best from doing things i.e. "hands on"
Though most children fit into either one of the category but there are some who is a combination of two styles. Children may shift from one style to another through time as they grow and develop. In general, visual and/or kinesthetic learning preferences are more common.

Discover Child Learning Preferences

You can do a daily observation. Note down some of the signs and reaction when information is presented to your child. Be patient. It may take a while for us to be familiar to the consistent signs from our children. It took me a long time and after many observations to discover my boy learning preferences. I adopt teaching methods and tune in to his styles. It makes teaching and learning more effective for both of us.

What can parents do?

Once we discover our children learning preferences, we can:
  • Set the right expectation with the child.
  • Teach child coping skills.
  • Help child gain confidence using appropriate styles and environment to improve child accomplishment. Helping the child to gain confidence is very important. It sets the fundamental interest in learning.
  • Select school which has staffs who understand learning styles. Adopt such practice can affect child's behavior positively.
  • Schedule appropriate curriculum and learning activities accordingly.

Overcoming Learning Weaknesses

Discover the preferred way our children learn helps to tailor teaching method accordingly. Understanding the weakness of learning style is equally important.

Children with auditory weakness tend to have difficulty following verbal instruction.

My boy was slow in understanding instruction. It was a struggle reading to him. Instead of listening attentively to the story, he would interrupt me with questions on the pictures in the book.

As I begin to understand his weakness, I show him the steps taken to do a task instead of simply giving instruction. Story is told by focusing on the pictures rather than reading from the word.Child with this weakness prefers visual schedule such as pictures or cues instead of verbal instruction.

For children with visual weakness, signs include appearing to be disorganized or disoriented. Such children can be guided using charts, diagrams or graphs.

Kids who either feel bothered by certain texture of things or try their best to touch everything they can get hold may have kinesthetic weakness. Very often such kids are likely to benefit from language-based instruction.

A parent knows her child best. Understand a child learning strengths and weaknesses can make all the difference to help our children learn.
<![CDATA[Math Phobia and Anxiety]]>Mon, 31 Jul 2017 04:11:05 GMThttp://teachkidlearn.com/1/post/2017/07/math-phobia-and-anxiety.htmlOvercome Kids' Math Phobia and Anxiety to Eliminate Frustration in Learning Math
Math phobia and anxiety may be the underlying cause for kids having difficulty learning math.

Children may find many challenges in the process of learning and understanding mathematical concepts. Every individual child learns at her own pace. Some kids take time to totally acquire the concepts. However, some kids may develop a fear of math.

In order to help children overcome the frustration of learning math, we need to deepen the understanding of HOW a math phobia kid feels. I can fully comprehend this fearful feeling – I had a fear for math during my school days.
math phobia - child fearful of math

How Does a Child Feel Fearful about Math?

  • Feel anxious and nervous about math tests and exams. The mind will turn blank and unable to concentrate to work on math tests.
  • There is a mindset that "I cannot do it". Always feel lack of self-confidence when tackling math questions and problems.
  • Frustrated over how to score or at least get a pass for math. Is the teacher looking for the process of how to derive the answer? Do I get marks for the right process but wrong answers and vice versa?
  • Blindly follows the process or formula of mathematical concepts. Does not understand why sometimes the formula does not work.
  • Have a misconception that girls are not good in math versus boys.
Such feeling can prolong into adulthood. It hinders the learning and progress in mathematics. The child may have to struggle to cope with this weakness throughout her education path if there is no support given or help rendered.

Is Math Phobia a Learning Disability?

In retrospective, I do not believe it is a learning disability. The fear of math is due to lack of understanding of SOME mathematics fundamental concepts. It does not affect the learning of ALL mathematical concepts and facts. There are some math topics the child can still excel. Each individual is different so the topics which post a challenge may differ too.

Can the Fear of Math Affects Learning of other Subjects?

To a certain extent, math anxiety and phobia can affect the learning of other subjects. Many subjects in higher learning such as statistic, finance and physic require mathematics analysis. A math phobia child may get turn off once she knows the study of these subjects involve math.

Is it hereditary?

This is not a hereditary learning disability. It is an acquired perception of fear...probably the child picks up the attitude from parents or teachers. It can be due to unpleasant learning experience.

Suggestions for Parents

If your child is feeling frustrated or dislike math, do find out the fundamental reason why the kid is feeling this way. Look out for sign of anxiety in math tests - your kid has consistently failed badly (such as obtaining 2 out of 100 marks type of failure)

Identify the math topics the child is weak. Work with teachers to ensure the kid understand the “why” and the “how” of mathematical facts and concepts. It is important to build a strong foundation on the basic concept before moving to the next math level.

Have a positive attitude towards math and gives encouragement. This is to help boost the self-confidence of your kid. Dispel the myth that girls are weak in math.

Allow kid to make mistake. Practice on weak topics. Show kid there are many ways to solve math problems.

It is important for parents and teachers to identify if a child has math phobia and anxiety. It is helpful to know there are many researches conducted. Professional help is available if needed.

It is not a doom situation if your child has fear of math. You can help your child to build on other personal strengths and skills instead. Building up one's personal strengths and skills can still get a person to progress well in career and life. But.....never impart this fear of math to your child.

If you do ever have a fear for math, do hold a strong positive attitude towards math with your kid now. Overcome this anxiety and take learning math as a challenge. Work together with your child to solve difficult math word problems. Both of you will feel a sense of satisfaction in overcoming this challenging task.

I no longer fear math anymore. Instead, I enjoy learning math together with my children now. The Singapore Math approach of making math abstract concept concrete has helped many children to set a strong math foundation. It makes teaching and learning math easier for my children and me.
<![CDATA[Teaching Mathematics]]>Tue, 04 Jul 2017 04:34:09 GMThttp://teachkidlearn.com/1/post/2017/07/teaching-mathematics.htmlHow to Help Children Overcome Difficulty in Learning Math
There are several teaching mathematics strategies to help kids understand and interested in math. Teaching math to kids is more than helping them to comprehend mathematical concepts, develop number sense and master math facts.

Why It is Difficult for Kid to Understand and Like Math

There are many challenges a child can face when learning math. Some of the common hurdles are :
board for teaching mathematics to children
  • Children learn “HOW” instead of “WHY” in math. Though practice makes perfect but constant drilling makes it boring for kids.
  • Mathematical concepts can be abstract.
  • Each child has individual learning pace and style. The learning or teaching of math is not child-centered.
  • Children do not know how to approach math problems. They are not taught or encourage using the appropriate thinking and problem solving skills.
  • Learning math disability such as dyscalculia and math anxiety

What Parents Can Do

Begins Math Education at Home
Home and providing the right environment is where learning takes place for children. Jump-start children learning math early by engaging them in informal settings. Begins math education at home makes kids feel that math is an everyday subject.
Parents Involvement
Studies have shown that children can increase achievement when there is parents’ participation in their school or homework. Work with the teacher to achieve common goals for your child. When children see that math is important to you, they will feel it is important to them too.
Most parents who are concern about their kids having difficulty in learning math may already be involved and teaching math at home. In addition to the right home environment and parental involvement, there are other considerations when teaching mathematics to kids.
Attitude towards Math
We need to form a positive attitude, set high standard and strong beliefs towards math. Children will develop similar enthusiasm and attitude thus boosting their self-confidence on learning math.
Child Learning Pace and Style
Each kid learns at his own pace. Ensure the child has a strong foundation on acquisition and application of mathematics concepts and skills at each level. It helps child to be ready to move on to the next level. If the child is slow, spend more time learning math. Never skip on any level thinking child can play catch up in the next level.

Every child has his preferred learning style. Tune in to his learning preference. Different learning style learn abstract subject differently. Explore different ways when teaching math to kids. Include songs and jingles, math games and activities, use teaching aids and tools. Encourage discussion or work in groups to solve mathematical problems. Make learning fun and practical.
Children may already grasp the basic mathematical concepts but doing problem solving involves more skills. The purpose of learning math is to train kids on analytical, thinking and problem solving skills.

Teaching Mathematics Strategies to Apply:

Understand the “why” in addition to “how”
Avoid emphasizing procedural skills without understanding the underlying concepts. Help children to make connections among mathematical ideas. Be able to reason by analyzing mathematical situations and construct logical arguments. Then communicate using mathematical language to express the ideas and arguments logically, precisely and concisely.
Train Kids on Thinking Skills and Heuristics on Problem Solving
Encourage the usage of thinking skills such as classifying, comparing, analyzing parts; identify patterns in the thinking process. Use heuristics approach on difficult problem solving. Some heuristics include present problems in a diagram, make estimation, work backwards, before-after, restate or simplify the problem.
Approach to Problem Solving
Expose children to many types of mathematical problems. Include open-ended and real-world problems provide opportunities for children to apply their problem solving and reasoning skills.

Show them to solve problems in different ways. Train them to be a problem solver, one who finds, investigates and explores solution to problems.

Suggest children to adopt the following steps for math problem solving
  • Read and understand the problem
  • Underline/Highlight the important information
  • Decide on mathematical operation to apply
  • Estimate
  • Do calculation
  • Inverse calculation to check
  • Write the answer in sentences
If a child is suspect of having learning math disability, math phobia and anxiety, then you may want to get a specialist to evaluate.

You may also be interested -

Kids Math Worksheets - math worksheets for preschool, kindergarten and elementary level
Printable kids math worksheets based on World's number 1 Singapore math. Include teaching instruction, colorful pictures and math word problems.

<![CDATA[Mathematics Manipulatives]]>Fri, 16 Jun 2017 02:36:31 GMThttp://teachkidlearn.com/1/post/2017/06/mathematics-manipulatives.htmlMathematics Manipulatives
- Teaching Aids or Toys?
Mathematics manipulatives or math teaching aids is one of those "must have" teaching tools, which help kids in learning math. Parents buying math manipulatives may want to understand the differences between educational aids versus toy. This is to ensure it is the right math learning aids for their kids.

Teaching Tool or Toy

Math manipulatives may be viewed as educational toys or games. However, there are some key differences.
  • Toys or games can be battery operated. Mathematics manipulatives are usually very simple apparatus.
  • Games may be governed by rules but math manipulatives are usually guided by the teaching of teachers or parents. Regardless, kids view such math teaching aids as toys to them.

Review of Math Teaching Aids

Here are the reviews of some math manipulatives I personally used to teach my children math. This review provides an insight of how we use these simple apparatus to teach math. You may want to consider getting them to enhance your child math learning experience.

Abacus Beads

wooden abacus math manipulatives to teach counting
This is the most fundamental learning tool for most toddlers and preschoolers to have. It provides the child a simple way to count from one to a hundred. We may be able to use other items to teach basic counting. With a wooden abacus beads, you will not have to hunt for a hundred lose beads or items. Then risk losing them or have difficulty packing and unpacking them.

Pattern Blocks

pattern block math manipulatives to train spatial concept
A great tool to train spatial concept and is very versatile. There are many different levels of pattern blocks and boards. One should get the appropriate level depending on the age of the kids. One can use it to build many different patterns or learn about shapes. Children will start unleashing their creativity and find many functions of these blocks if you leave it with them to explore. Even adults may find it interesting to use it for themselves.

Linking Cubes

linking cubes math teaching tool
This elementary mathematic manipulatives is more appropriate for kids at elementary level. Singapore Math advocates using these connecting cubes when teaching addition and subtraction concept. The linking cubes provide a visual and physical cue for children to solve simple addition and subtraction equation.  Similarly, you can also let your kids explore his creativity by leaving these cubes with him. My son has turned it into his Lego set.

Number Balance

number balance math learning aids tool
One may also consider this number balance equalizer to enhance the teaching of math equation concept. In addition to teaching addition and subtraction equation, the key benefit is that one can teach multiplication using this tool too.

Fraction Circles and Blocks

fraction tray teaching aids
Fraction Circles and Blocks provide a simple visual concept of fraction. Kids can explore the different sizes of each piece. They will find out two pieces of a quarter become half and two halves become whole.

If one is constraint on budget, cards is an inexpensive mathematics manipulatives to liven up math lesson. We have turn playing cards into one of our math learning lesson at home.

You can also create your own math teaching aids get the children to make them. Here is how children learn about 3D shapes with paper craft.

Importance of Mathematics Manipulatives

Mathematics manipulatives are essential in teaching math because:
  • It helps to make abstract ideas concrete. Math manipulatives provide children ways to construct physical models of abstract mathematical ideas.
  • According to Piaget’s theory, a child is an active learner who masters concepts through the progress of three level of knowledge - concrete, pictorial and abstract. Concrete manipulative is the first step for our children to explore and understand about math concept.
  • It is a useful tool for problem solving. It also allows kids to experience solving problems in different ways.
  • It builds kids' confidence. Children understandings become more robust when they put their thoughts into physical concrete evidence for testing.
  • It makes learning math interesting and fun.
In addition to math manipulatives, some parents use other effective methods to teach math. These fun math activities keep the children learning and have fun.
<![CDATA[Summer Camp]]>Mon, 05 Jun 2017 03:36:01 GMThttp://teachkidlearn.com/1/post/2017/06/summer-camp.htmlHow To Determine If A Summer Camp Is Right For Your Special Needs Child
Summer Camp
Photo via Pixabay by JPlumb
Being a parent is a job loaded with worries, but if your child has special needs, those worries are likely multiplied every time they leave the house. There are often so many things to think about, including their safety, whether they will have access to medicine or a means of getting around, and how to get them to communicate their needs if you’re not there. It can be overwhelming, and with the end of the school year near, you might be thinking of ways to help them thrive in a safe environment during summer months.
Many states offer summer camp programs, and some of them are special needs-specific, meaning they offer services for children who need a little extra care and attention. For some parents, the thought of leaving their child in the hands of strangers is scary, especially if they have medical needs or have never been away from home before. However, it might be just the thing you and your child need to get a boost of confidence and take a little break. Talk to your child’s doctor about the possibility of summer camp and how it might help his development.

No matter where you decide to go, it’s important to do some research beforehand. If your child doesn’t require a special needs camp but is nervous about being away from home, you’ll want to make sure the counselors are sympathetic and helpful. If the camp is special needs-specific, of course you’ll need to find out everything you can about the camp and their policies, and, if possible, take a tour.

One of the most important factors to look at when you’re checking out summer camps is the staff. If possible, set up a tour so you can meet the counselors and camp owners in person. Most summer camps hire teens, and often they may only spend one summer there before moving on to college or another job. However, special needs camps are a little different; if you speak to the counselors and most of them are new or have only worked there a short time, it’s probably not a good sign. High turnover rates are a sure sign of inexperience, especially in a job involving working with children.

A good summer camp that focuses on special needs will offer a variety of programs designed to help children with various needs learn and thrive. Sometimes, these camps will be held during the day only, so you’ll want to check and see what times they offer certain classes or activities. Ask about how many children are assigned to one counselor to ensure your child will receive the best care.

Medical issues
Special needs camps should be equipped with at least one staff member who is trained in medical issues, but ideally all counselors at such a camp would be trained to handle medical emergencies in special needs kids. Ask the staff about their training and listen for specific medical terms; if they can’t give a firm answer using the correct terminology, chances are you need to move on.
“A bigger question might be, ‘How can parents know when they are ready to send their child to camp.’ If parents feel they can use a break to recharge their batteries or allow for some extra time to focus on the needs of their other children or each other, and the camp agrees that the child would fit in well to their program, then I think it’s worth giving camp a try,” says Stephen Glicksman, a developmental psychologist.

Of course, any child can be exposed to new experiences attending summer camp, so it’s important to talk to yours about making good, healthy choices, especially in the event that they encounter drugs or alcohol.

It can be difficult to think about sending your child to a new, unfamiliar place, but it could be the best thing for them. With a little bit of research and preparation, you’ll find that both of you can use this opportunity to learn and grow.

This article is contributed by Alex Robbins
Mr. Robbins is part of the Safety Today team, and loves having the opportunity to promote home and community safety through his writing.