I am now officially a math teacher…I know…it’s scary!
One of the foreign hire special education teachers decided not to stay here in Honduras so the special ed. department is stretched a little thin. Because of my light class load, the principal asked me to help out and I now teach math to two eighth grade students, five periods per week. It’s been a week so far and is proving to be quite the task.
Both students are very nice kids, but struggle in some basic math skills. From looking online I would place them around a third or fourth grade level. Our current unit is counting money and making change in their heads. This is a little tougher here in Honduras since the Lempira is almost 20:1 with the U.S. dollar. That means the students need to know well into the hundreds and thousands. I’m finding that counting by tens and hundreds can be difficult for them which then makes this task even harder.
After the first week I have come to the realization that I’m okay at the tutoring level, but know nothing about teaching math! I am trying my best to make the activities we do interesting instead of just problems out of the book, but even then I feel like we are doing the same thing every day. I just do not have the arsenal of ideas that I’m sure most general education teachers do! It’s a good thing I’m a whiz at google! I don’t want the kids to get bored, but they also seem to need a ton of practice in order to understand a concept. So far we have photocopied money that we are working with, a menu from a restaurant, place value crossword puzzles, and some online place value games. If anyone has other ideas they could offer up I would love some help!
3 thoughts on “Math Class”
Do you remember playing the game “Buzz” in a foreign language class? You count by 3’s, 5’s, 10’s or whatever. Everyone stands up and says the number when it is your turn. The catch is you can’t say the number 7 (or whatever). When you have a number with a 7 in it, you say buzz (7, 17, 27, 70, 71, 72, etc). If you screw up, you sit down. > ~Andy
Buzz is a great game! You might also try having them role play a shopper and a store clerk. You could set out a few items with prices, then have one student select a couple of the items to buy and tell how much money they would need and figure out their own change. Then the clerk figures out the change and they compare answers. You can also recycle activities. You did the menus, now you could have them bring in a menu from their favorite place and order. A lot of times with basic skills, it really is just a lot of practice and exposure. Good luck!
I’d love to help, but right now for math I systematically go over last year’s standardized test and another sample test so the kids are ready for FCAT in about a month. 😛 Talk about poor practices. But it is what I am given/regulated into teaching. I will try to think of some other things from when I had freedom to think and make decisions in my classroom. (Can you tell I am a little frustrated, sorry about the rant.) You could try to put movement to the counting. Even like swaying back and forth or a different hand clap for different place values. It could be like a math dance!