Thursday, September 27, 2012

Singapore Math Tips: Level 2



Today as a special treat, we will hear from Lisa Ann Dillon, our Singapore Math Curriculum Coordinator.  Lisa Ann will be writing a series of articles for us, sharing some tips on how we can help our kids be as successful as possible with the Singapore Math program. This week we will begin with Level 2, and in future weeks work our way up to Level 6, then come back around to Kindergarten and Level 1. This may seem confusing, but the idea is that the Level 2 parents and up are getting deeper into the Singapore way of things, so they can benefit from these tips sooner than might be needed for the younger grades. Regardless of your child’s math level, we hope the following information will be a good resource for you:

The Singapore Math program is founded on the principle that students must first build, then work with pictures before they learn the rules of math or algorithm.  We call this approach C – P – A.  This stands for Concrete, Pictorial, and Abstract.  Only in keeping this in mind will the program make sense, and only in making use of all 3 stages will the program serve your student with all of its potential.
In Level 2 students begin using mental math to solve problems up to three digits with and without renaming.  Students who have all math facts memorized to automaticity (without thinking about it) have an easy transition to this skill.  Make sure your student gets the facts memorized the Singapore Way so they are also developing visual images and kinesthetic understanding of number sense. 
The following activities can be used to get your math lesson started.  You might also consider using them another time during the day and then the student might not even realize the math lesson is continuing!
• Get some fun manipulatives like plastic insects or sea creatures.  Using the double ten frames from last year, build the most difficult facts to memorize.  After building them in the frames, have your student write the number bonds.  Then write the equations.  Spend several days working to get both subtraction and addition facts memorized then move on to another.  
click here for a blank ten frame 
click here for a blank double ten frame
• Play games with cards or dominoes.  These are two excellent tools to help kids develop an imprint on the brain of the numbers from 1 – 9.  
• Throw a ball, or better yet a bean bag to your student.  Give a math fact as you do.  As the student throws back the object, the answer should be given. 
• Remember that students at this level should still be counting objects even as the math facts are becoming solid.  Have your student sort and count how many knives, forks and spoons as the dishwasher is emptied.  Or count how many red legos or beads are in a pile.  You get the picture.
• As understanding grows, begin estimating larger quantities and have students count objects to see how close the guess was. 
Keep in mind that Level 2 is still a year for exploration.  The goal is that students will master math facts, an understaning of place value, memorize multiplication facts for 2, 3, 4, and 5 and also be exposed to other strands of measurement, time, money, fractions and geometry.  This should be a fun and exciting year for your student.  If frustration encroaches – go back to the Manipulatives!  
Thank you, Lisa Ann! We all want our kids to be successful with Singapore Math, and ideas like these are so very helpful. Print and save these tips, and have fun with math!

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