memorization important?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Here2Learn, Mar 3, 2011.

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  1. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    3Sons... I know a little off topic but thanks for the good review on that game... We have DS & I love the mind games & was curious how some of those were!!!

    I think the other thing is parents think that they need to sit down to do math. I mean while driving to practices or whatever, turn down the radio & just ask questions. Hey Johnny what's 9+9. Practicing doesn't have to take a lot of time, but practicing is what needs to happen.
     
  2. TAKlinda

    TAKlinda Rookie

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    Some students struggle to memorize math facts. I teach using different strategies: count up and count down using the points on the numbers (1-4), related facts, regrouping, math ladder, etc.
    Multiplying and dividing is easier to learn once they know their doubles.
    Linda.
    TeachAllKids
     
  3. Here2Learn

    Here2Learn Companion

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    well, in the real world - there are children whose parents can't manage to send them to school with clean clothes or with socks on. there are kids who come to school starving because their parents won't get up in time to feed them. there are parents who are drunks and/or drug addicts or just plain stupid.

    do we just send them home a packet and hope they learn?
     
  4. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Use dice (visit a teacher store to get some that go up to twelve) or dominoes (again, they go up to twelve). Sometimes the visual helps children.

    I have children who counted on their fingers in fourth grade for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and addition. They struggled until we spent time with flash cards, dice, concentration games, website games, and paper/pencil practice.

    In reading, we expect children to be fluent. There is no reason children cannot be fluent in math as well.

    People must memorize things all the time; how to spell their name, the alphabet, letter sounds, phone numbers, their address, and the list could go on from their friends' names, etc.

    I always tell my kids that if they can memorize the words to the latest song, they can memorize anything.
     
  5. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Plus, we don't allow calculators, so the child must be able to divide 746 by 4 in class.

    And yes, in some upper grade classes like trig, kids may be allowed to use calculators, but should a child have to use one to find out what 14 -6?
     
  6. Here2Learn

    Here2Learn Companion

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    i did a search for age appropriate online games that would help, but i had trouble finding any. most of them either require so much clicking and dragging that it takes the "quickness" out of it. not to mention - they're random so i couldn't choose just the 2's or just the 3's. if she had trouble remembering the 2's - i definitely don't want to confuse her more by playing a game that has 6+9, etc. thrown in.

    if anyone has a good game link please let me know! thanks.
     
  7. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Sadly, in many schools this is exactly what happens. However, it takes ownness off of the teacher and places it on the student and parent. So, when the student does not have the skills, it can be said that it was the students' and parents' respsonsibility because they assigned the work as homework. It is as they say in the profession, 'the student's responsibility to learn'.
     
  8. bunches3614

    bunches3614 Rookie

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    Here is what I have found in my few years of education...Kids that don't have a good grasp on their math facts, by whatever method it took to know them, are going to struggle. I just finished tutoring a girl in the seventh grade that could not add. I couldn't figure out why she couldn't multiply until I was watching her do her homework one day and sat there for three minutes trying to figure out what 5+6 equaled. I asked her flat out if she had problems adding, she put her head down and said yes. Everything builds upon the other. She couldn't add, so she couldn't subtract. She couldn't add, so she couldn't possibly multiply, and if she couldn't multiply, she couldn't divide. In this district, they do not allow calculators until you are well into algebra, and even then frown upon them unless it is a really complex problem. No matter how you have to do it, help her to memorize those facts. It doesn't have to be flashcards; like others said it could be games, dice, dominoes, songs, or whatever works. I have seen this problem too many times, and it breaks my heart every time. If someone would have taken the time to recognize that she had a basic problem and worked with her, she would not be in the seventh grade feeling horrible about something so basic. I am happy to say that since December she can add and subtract in her head fairly quickly, she knows almost all of her multilplication facts, and her division is well on her way.
     
  9. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    My math homework as we work on learning our facts is for the kids to complete a "FACTO" page. It gives them a large number of choices (some not as great, it's hard to come up with 24 different strategies on the spot! lol) I encourage my kids to figure out now how it works best for them to study. Some will need to write those facts over and over (in pencil, crayon, whipped cream, it doesn't matter, it's the movement that gets them), some will need to see them over and over (one student finally learned her facts after her mom made 20 or so copies of the facts charts and hung them everywhere in the house.), and some will need to hear them over and over (saying them to family, stuffed animals, pets, etc). Of course, some will need a combination of these. If they can figure studying out now, one something as "simple" as math facts, it will put them in much better shape later on. I'm attaching one of my Facto sheets as an example.
     
  10. Here2Learn

    Here2Learn Companion

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    thanks for the response. that's what i was saying before - if this girl had trouble reading, someone would have intervened years ago. so many SMART kids just skim through math and there is no help it seems.

    i don't know why people keep mentioning flashcards won't work. i said we used puppets, songs, coins, and flashcards. we've used songs for most everything including phone numbers and address, but for some reason it doesn't work so well with math facts.
     
  11. Here2Learn

    Here2Learn Companion

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    thanks for the example - i'm going to use some of those ideas. she usually knows her spelling words, but when she doesn't i have her write them 3 times so she can see them. i think writing them out as numbers and words may help.
     
  12. time out

    time out Comrade

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    Sorry, I didn't read every post but here's my 2 cents. I don't recommend reciting facts to memorize. There's no meaning attached to it. I do recommend solving problems repeatedly until they get stored into long-term memory.

    For instance, instead of saying, "2 +3 =5" repeatedly, actually have your daughter solve this fact every day. Whether she's drawing pictures or counting on her fingers, she's associating an answer with the problem. Eventually, she would be able to solve 2+3 = 5 without having to use one of the above strategies.
     
  13. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Honestly, I think it depends on the kid. Yes, memorization is important. As everyone else as said everything builds on earlier skills in math. If someone is looking at a long division problem and as to do the subtraction on their fingers, they're probably going to have problems. However, some kids simply won't be able to do this. I'm coming from a different perspective in sped. For some of my really low kids especially, I'm not going to spend the entire year trying to get them to memorize facts. It just won't happen. I have a 4th grader who still very much struggles with one-digit addition and subtraction. She can do multiplication if she uses this little rhyme that I taught her. She may never be at the point where she doesn't need the rhyme anymore, but in my opinion, if she can do the problems on her own thats not important. We have bigger issues to worry about than memorizing facts. She's very good at sticking to a specific strategy and using it independently- it is more important for me to build on these skills then work on memorization of numbers with her. From your post, it sounds like your daughter is not someone that has a learning disability or other learning issues- so I would say for her it is important to memorize the facts.
     
  14. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    Mar 5, 2011

    I see many kids who don't know their times tables well enough when they come to me at 8th grade level. Some that know them cannot apply them in word problems. In my opinion, there is no good in memorizing if they have no clue what it means. I much rather have a student who takes a little bit longer at getting 6X7but understands the process and the meaning than someone who is speedy gonzalez at times tables but cannot apply it in word problems. By the time students get to me they are told to study study and memorize and memorize that some loose the meaning and memorizing without meaning is bad. First make sure there is meaning.

    I'm horrible at mental math and for the love of God I can't still recite without hesitation the time tables of the 3's. But I remember that times tables of 3's is counting in groups of 3's so when I get stuck I start adding 3's. My strength in math has been problem solving. I can solve a difficult problem but I may not be able to ad mentally quickly and I have had a very successful experience in math through my life.

    See, I have the worst memorization ability that I've ever seen maybe because of my ADD. When I was young I hated history or social studies because of the large amount of dates and facts we were forced to memorize. I would spend 4 hours studying for a test and I would force myself to memorize without any meaning pages of notes. I would ace a test and remember nothing two days later.

    I hated history with a passion and I didn't see the reason why we had to be tortured to learn it through high school. It was until College where a great professor started connecting history to our lives and it all pf the sudden clicked and made sense. Memorization was not an issue any more.
     
  15. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Waterfall, this is a great perspective you add coming from the sped arena. I would challenge people's thoughts, though, in this area - there are kids who struggle in regular education settings too, sometimes as much or more than in sped settings due to restrictions on sped placement, etc. If we agree that foregoing memorization can work, and is important, with children who really struggle, should we not consider that for other children who struggle in non-sped settings? At one point does someone deserve/require an accommodation? At what point does a teacher move on, and focus on other things that are also important.

    Also, I posted this point about 5 pages ago, but it's come up several other times - math calculation IS a building block for more advanced math calculation, but not necessarily for math application. True, because calculators aren't allowed, math calculation ends up being a prerequisite for geometry, etc. However, from a theoretical perspective, calculation is not often required for application.

    Refocusing the issue, I don't think anyone is arguing against calculation - it's important. However, at what cost - is it worth a teacher giving less time to math application for the purpose of ensuring mastery & fluency with calculation? How much time can be lost with application - all of it? 80%? And at what level of difficulty can a child be considered to be "struggling," and be deserving of accommodations to promote mastery/fluency of the rest of the curriculum?
     
  16. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Probably because there's no meaning attached to it. I get kids who can sing the song to count by two's up to 20, but can't tell me what comes next? Unless you are attaching a separate meaning to each math fact, it probably wouldn't work.

    As to teachers sending things like this home. I do the same thing with our high frequency words that need to be memorized. I just don't have enough time in the day to really do something like that with 1/2 the class. We hope that parents may have more time to do that. Now, I will limit the homework for those kiddos because I'm expecting that to be part of their homework. I haven't done that with math facts, because like I said before I want them to be able to take the numbers apart and put them together mentally-we do activities to accomplish this in class.
     
  17. Here2Learn

    Here2Learn Companion

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    late response - but yes i DID struggle with doing math in the later grades. maybe it was because i couldn't memorize math facts, but maybe if i had been able to use a pencil and paper to calculate instead of being forced to memorize them then it would've played out differently.

    but i was referring more to my child who is in FIRST grade - and hasn't yet been set behind aka failed tests due to her lack of ability to MEMORIZE (not DO math). you do at least see a difference?

    i don't know where all this crap from you about not teaching her ways to memorize and "why not help her learn" is coming from. i've clearly said that we used every method known to man to help her memorize, that i don't want her to fall behind (like i did), but i ALSO question if it's really THAT necessary even for the kids who can't do it after great effort?

    like someone else mentioned, people would think it was cruel not to make exceptions for a child who had special needs or even simply had trouble reading - but there are no exceptions or interventions when it comes to math. i took a test just this week with a 40+ year old woman had to use a tape recorder/headphones to listen to someone read the questions on tape simply bc she "has trouble understanding." but ask for a piece of paper to multiply or god forbid give someone a calculator and all hell breaks loose.
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Got it. Next time I'll be sure to withhold my crap ideas and advice. I certainly wouldn't want to continue offering crap help in response to someone's public request for assistance.
     
  19. Here2Learn

    Here2Learn Companion

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    that - along with your previous posts reassures me that you completely take things out of context (and even quote out of context).
     
  20. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    No context. You called my comments "crap". I find that incredibly rude, especially given that I was trying to offer you legitimate advice, per your request. You're certainly not obligated to take it. If you don't agree with or appreciate it, ignore it. No big deal.

    In any case, I'm over this thread. Good luck to your kid.
     
  21. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Somethings absolutely, positively need to be memorized. You can't dive down into the deeper levels of learning unless you have the basics memorized. It is going to be incredibly hard for my AP US History Students to answer an essay question on the English Reformation if they have not memorized they Key Players and legislation. Memorization sucks, but if students don't learn how to memorize at a young age, it's going to be a long trek in High School and College.
     
  22. heymiss

    heymiss Comrade

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    Mar 5, 2011

    I teach sixth grade math, and my students who really struggle are doing so for one reason: they don't have their facts memorized. It's really hard to simplify fractions if you have to count on your fingers every time. They never get to the point where they can just look at 3/4 and realize that it's the same as 9/12 if they don't know their facts. This makes working with proportions, ratios, etc., extremely difficult.

    When we learned how to add and subtract fractions, the kids who knew their facts were able to concentrate on the order of the steps needed to work with the fractions (get a common denominator, change the numerators to make equivalent fractions, then perform the operation), while the kids who didn't know their facts were focusing on, "how did she know to change the denominator to 24 when the original ones were 8 and 3?" and completely missed learning the PROCESS, which was the whole point of the lesson.

    I know that not all parents have the time/money/aptitude/attitude/whatever to help their kids memorize the facts, but it has GOT to be stressed at the lower levels. The kids who don't know their facts are struggling with something they should know cold. If they can (and they do) sing me Justin Bieber's latest song, they should be able to know their facts.

    There are ways to make facts practice fun. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of time in my sixth grade classroom to cover something that should have been memorized three years ago. I can do a little, and I do, but I can't fix the whole problem.

    I think that parents who can't spare a dollar to buy a set of flash cards, at the very least, are doing their kids a disservice. Facts are non-negotiable. You can't function in the higher levels of math without knowing them. In long division alone, you have to know your division, multiplication, AND subtraction facts! That's a lot of finger-counting when you could just take the time to KNOW them instead.

    Getting off my soapbox now.
     
  23. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Here2Learn, you mention in your first post having worked with her for six days. Is that accurate?

    If so, I don't think you can really come to the conclusion that she can't memorize her facts yet, or even that memorization isn't optimal for her.

    My youngest has been working on ones and twos for several months. Not every day (probably 3 to 4 days per week), and for only a half-hour each time. But still, months. Within just the past week, he made a breakthrough and can now add numbers under ten fairly well (not perfectly yet, but it's coming). My point is that you can work a long time and see no effect, and then there could be a sudden dramatic rise in ability.
     
  24. bunches3614

    bunches3614 Rookie

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    Here is where I have a problem with some parents. They ask for advise, and when they don't like what the person has to say they blow it out of proportion and overreact. I don't think that anything that Ceasar said was crap or even negated the fact that you were doing things to help your child. I think that they were just stating their opinion that you may be projecting your bad math experience on your child and giving up a little too easily. I got that same impression. Not every child is going to learn the same way, not every child is going to like what is assigned, heck, not every parent is going to like it; however, there comes a time when we have to do what our child's teacher asks. If you are having such a hard time schedule a conference with the teacher. Do you know for sure they aren't working on it in class? Have you talked to the teacher directly and expressed your concerns? There have been plenty of times I have gotten one answer from my children and then talked to their teacher and found out the real truth. Not that they lied, but maybe they didn't understand what I was asking. Find a way to work with the teacher, find out what they are doing in class so that you can tie in your home instruction with class instruction. As many has said, myself included, it can only help your child down the road. Good luck, and I hope that you find something that works.
     
  25. Here2Learn

    Here2Learn Companion

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    yes, six days at the time - more like 9 or 10 now?

    when the packet was sent home, it had one page with the 2s, one with the 3s, etc, etc. along with a note saying they would be tested weekly starting with the 2s. she had her test on tuesday and didn't pass. had she passed (which is the expectation since they're supposed to make it through the packet by the end of the year and it's march) we'd be working on the 3's for her test this upcoming tuesday. we haven't even looked at the 3's because she hasn't passed the 2's yet - she'll retest for those this upcoming tuesday.

    i don't doubt that she could memorize all the facts if there weren't any time constraints especially since they aren't working on them at school.

    what makes me think they aren't working on them at school? it's MARCH and she's having problems with the TWO's. i'm pretty sure if this is somthing they'd been working on at school, she wouldn't act like it was foreign to her. when we read her stories or do her spelling words, i can see a lightbulb. she couldn't understand for the life of her why she couldn't use her fingers when we practiced. not to mention i asked her if she'd been doing it at school and she said no.
     
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