We Can All Do Math!

Mathematics was not one of my strong suits in school.  Like many of my classmates I found it challenging and at times discouraging.  In high school my parents arranged for me to see a tutor and did it save my bacon.  She changed the way that I viewed myself as a mathematician and eventually the way that I taught math to my students.  I have been fortunate to work on a number of numeracy development teams during my time in the classroom, each one created to help support teachers with their instruction.  For many teachers delivering math is a challenge.  A challenge because it was a struggle for them in school or maybe because they find it difficult to engage students in math.  From mathematics achievement today, one thing is clear - we must develop the idea that we can all do math!  It is this fundamental belief that all teachers,...
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Skip Counting More Than Rote Learning

Last week as I was visiting classrooms I came across what I thought was going to something fun to watch - an "Around the World" multiplication game  with a grade 5/6 class.  My anticipation of watching the kids having fun soon changed to shock at the struggles each student encountered with the multiplication questions presented on the flash cards.  I kept thinking back to my days of teaching grade 3 where the curriculum expectations stated that the students multiply  to 7 x 7 and divide to 49 รท 7 using a variety of mental strategies. After watching 8 or 9 rounds I had to stop the game and find out if they had some basic skip counting skills, something I used every day in my classroom.  I asked for volunteers to skip count by 2's, 5's and 10's - no problem.  OK, I thought, let's try going backwards - a little...
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