Developmental Approach to Elementary Education

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by TeacherShelly, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Apr 15, 2012

    I just reread Chip Wood's Yardsticks. His recommendation to schools is, "Children are asked to do extensive memorizing only when they reach ten, the age at which their skills at this activity are normally at their zenith."

    Anyone have anecdotal evidence for or against that? I've been noticing kids in my 3rd grade class have a lot of difficulty memorizing multiplication facts. My DD is in 4th and also cannot seem to memorize facts yet.
     
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  3. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Interestingly, many of my 1st graders are already memorizing multiplication facts, and they don't really realize they are doing it! Their favorite reward is to watch the "School House Rocks" dvd I purchased a couple of years ago, and they are completely hooked! Maybe adding music would help?
     
  4. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Apr 18, 2012

    I teach at a religious school, and we start assigning memory work several times a week in 1st grade. K students begin by memorizing prayers and things throughout the year. My 3rd graders have memory work every evening (a Bible passage, hymn verse, or short section of the Catechism), and they all do just fine with it. The little kids do just fine with things like saying the Apostle's Creed in chapel long before they can actually read it!

    As for math facts, we have been using Xtramath.org. They've been practicing x facts since the beginning of March, and almost all my class is at a mastery level of at least 70% of the facts.
     
  5. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    What I mean by developmental approach is that even though it's possible to teach someone to do things before the ideal time, there is a price. Babies reading, for example, are not actually understanding; memorizing when it is difficult is more frustrating than in the ideal memorizing window of development. So what does the child get for that price? Since everyone will learn their times tables eventually (at least I think everyone can do that), why rush it? This is a sincere question :)
     
  6. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I absolutely agree that that is a good question. And, what is the opportunity cost? What appropriate skills are they missing out on while they practice inappropriate skills?
     
  7. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Upsadaisy, that's what I was trying to say. Thanks for that. Kids know when they are not performing as expected. Especially when other kids can do it but they can't. It can lead to unnecessary labels and interventions that do not go unnoticed, or uninterpreted by the kid, peers, and parents.

    Childhood is a journey, not a race.
     
  8. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Apr 19, 2012

    My point was that, from the anecdotal evidence I've seen, the younger children don't seem to be frustrated by memorizing small amounts of information. Also, it seems that their memorization skills are improved by practice.

    Aren't they already memorizing, for example, when they are learning to read? At some point, they have to remember that a says 'a' and looks like 'a'.
     
  9. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Apr 19, 2012

    Memorizing times tables is different from exploring letter sounds or memorizing small amounts of information. What this is about is research into how the brain learns. Memorizing without meaning means the brain is wiring synapses together beginning with the abstract, without the foundational understanding being firmly in place.

    Memorizing coming more naturally to a 10 year old is just one example of developmental information that could be used to plan instruction.
     
  10. stampin'teacher

    stampin'teacher Cohort

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    Apr 19, 2012

    read Brain Rules by John Medina...really interesting book on this topic. Our faculty read it as a summer read a couple years ago, and discussed when we all returned in the fall.
     
  11. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I love that saying, Teachershelly. I was very frustrated when I tutored a 6 year old home-schooled boy whose mom had him in the Classical Curriculum program at a home-school group. They spent all their time memorizing arcane pieces of information - even Latin! When I wanted to do something new with him, his mom said, "Oh, please don't. His brain is so full of information right now that I don't want him to do anything new." I was absolutely stunned. We soon recognized that my style wasn't going to work with his program. I still love that kid, though.
     
  12. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    In that case, I don't think we're necessarily talking about the same thing! My students are not just memorizing the times tables without any foundation. We have studied multiplication, and they all know what we mean by 3x5 and can find the total using a variety of strategies. Through repeated practice, they are now beginning to remember these facts. We don't just recite, "3x1=3, 3x2=6, 3x3=9."
     
  13. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Amakaye, I get what you mean now. For some reason I thought you were a first grade teacher and now I see it's 3rd. I have 2nd & 3rd (half and half) so you can imagine the wide range of abilities and maturity levels. My 3rd graders (who have been turning nine since September) are like yours with multiple strategies. Well, most of them anyway. Those who struggle the most are the ones who learned the algorithm for long division from a parent and believe pictures and blocks are for babies, but make mistakes in the algorithm.

    Usadaisy, I'll bet you were frustrated for the 6 year old. How neat that you still know and love him!

    Stampin'Teacher, I saw Medina speak at the big learning/brain conference last year. I still re-read those notes! So what did your school do with the knowledge after reading and discussing his book?
     
  14. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Ah, yes! We're working on multiplying by two digits right now, and I have a few who think they already know how to do it. I keep emphasizing that while they may know how to find an answer they need to work with these to understand what they're finding and why it works. I can sense the eye rolls from a few of them, though!
     
  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    amakaye, tell your students that mathematicians call this "modeling" and that they think it's a very smart thing to do.
     
  16. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    To learn something, it must be internalized. Internalization is not memorization. Babies soom internalize Mommy and Daddy due to environment. My step-great-grandson calls his step father Daddy, because in his internalization, step dad acts like a dad.

    If children have not internalized the meaning of numbers, they are not capable of working with numbers. Those who can memorize easily will appear to understand, but are only repeating rote learning.

    Have you read any of MMM's explanations about higher math, physics, etc? She explains them in a way we can internalize the concept and therefor understand the higher concept.

    Take the basic numbers 1 to 10. Preschool teachers teach these by using manipulatives. Looking at a "group" of one is smaller than a "group" of ten. I also like to use number donimoes and playing cards so that children can visulize the configeration of numbers.---This is internalization.

    So, when they need to add 2 + 2, they simple visulize 2 dots and 2 dots, and know the anwer is 4.
     
  17. strepsils

    strepsils Companion

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    Apr 21, 2012

    :yeahthat:
    :yeahthat:
     
  18. redshamrok

    redshamrok Rookie

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    Apr 21, 2012

    interesting!
     
  19. redshamrok

    redshamrok Rookie

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    Apr 21, 2012

    Using counters helps more for UNDERSTANDING multiplication and division, rather than memorizing!
     

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