Singapore - Concerns about teaching

cbollin

Re: Singapore question

Unread post by cbollin »

having one of those days where I can't seem to google what I need...

One way I reviewed in Singapore with my less than strong learner was to work beside her when she did the textbook "review" pages. The day before we did a "review page" in the text, I would go back and review out loud with her the different things we had learned in the chapter and chapter before that. so, I was doing the study friend thing.

That way, I could suggest to her different approaches for different problems in the review... "oh this would be a good problem to try that trick" or do it this way....

and I have to admit out loud... she seldom did the workbook independently... gasp! yep that's right.... I was sitting there with her suggesting along the way "try this" or hmm let's think a bit.. or "ooh, I know. let's look back"

I also taught Singapore in a very concrete way. I had one person out there tell me I taught it in remedial fashion... Ok... it worked so good for me, right?

We would draw and build problems together. I would help her hand over hand to talk about the process. that way there was daily reinforcement in the thought process.

sigh... why can't I find the worksheet stuff I was thinking about? I don't know... must be a cluttered brain today.. anyway... there's a company that makes supplemental to Singapore math book.. It's not "singapore math"... but they make practice books (regular practice not super intense practice) to match... Frank Schaffer publications????? I can't believe myself today..... it's not on my singpaore shelf... what? alright though.. amazon's got my back on it...
Frank Schaffer Singapore Math Practice books.

maybe one of those would work to supplement and add practice???

-crystal
familyof3
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Re: Singapore question

Unread post by familyof3 »

Crystal - I just saw the practice books on Amazon this morning! :) I think that might be the perfect solution! I also saw that they listed 4A as being "Grade 5", so even though I have always known that the levels are not supposed to be necessarily associated with a specific grade, it did remind me that we can slow down a bit if we need to. Thanks again for your help!

Angie
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Need some help with explaining Singapore methods

Unread post by jhagberg »

hsm wrote:I recently started Singapore with my two dd. They are 8 and 11 (2nd and 5th grade). My 8 year old started at 1A and the older one started at 2b but has finished the book today. She is doing well, but she has a lot of math under her belt and I feel the first couple of books will be easy for her. After that, not so sure. We are trying to get through 5b by next year. They were public schooled up until November this past year. Okay, that's the backstory.

My problem is this. My 8 year old is struggling with the methods of Singapore. To be fair, she struggled in ps math also. She "got it' because they told her the answers (eek!) but didn't really understand it. Same goes for the older one...she can do math pretty well due to memorization but I made the switch so she can have a better understanding of math concepts. Previously I had her doing TT and was doing well but I feared she was just plugging in numbers and not "getting it".

My 8 yo is in tears and is hating math still. We took a break to do some math games and flashcard drilling (which we continue to do). But, the bigger issue I am seeing is she cannot grasp the point of subtracting and adding using the number bonds. I don't know how to explain it.

Maybe an example of what I mean will help. Page 65-66 in 1a we are stalled on. Let's take the problem 12-4. We know the answer is 8. We break the 12 into the number bonds 10 and 2. 10- the 4 is 6, then we add the extra 2 to get the answer of 8. She doesn't understand why we "add" when the problem is subtracting. I am at a loss how to make this understandable.

Does my question make sense? I am not math minded and did not learn this way. I can see the benefit of learning this way to grasp the concept more fully for future math, but boy oh boy is this hard to explain. Non mathy kids plus non mathy mama with a traditional math background equals frustration. I am worried when my oldest advances to the next levels I will have struggles with her too. Please help...encouragement and advice is much appreciated! I hope my question makes sense.
When we were on that level, we used the unifix cubes (now available from MFW). There are only ten of each color, so it helps with the number bonds. I am very mathy myself, but I was new to Singapore then, so I tried not to explain too much. I just let him think about the problem or use the cubes. If he wasn't sure, I would ask, "How would you solve it?" Pretty soon my son developed his own math lingo:

"We break the 12 into 10 and 2. 10 minus the 4 is 6. Put that 6 with the extra 2, and we have 8."

When he said it like this, he wasn't "adding", he was just putting the numbers back together. This was not something I taught him. It was the way he processed the Singapore method in his own mind.
Joyce

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hsm
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Re: Need some help with explaining Singapore methods

Unread post by hsm »

Thanks for the reply. We have been using manipulatives that we have at home (pennies, beans, etc) but maybe the cubes would be a better visual because they look like the place value blocks. I also gave her 5 pennies and a dime. Then, I told her to give me $.07. Of course she couldn't do it in pennies so she had to "borrow from the tens or dime". I think I confused her with that a little. I think what I will do is take your advice, get the cubes, and then just let her play with them and keep practicing until she gets it. I am beginning to think I talk too much when I am teaching it and I end up confusing her more. :~ If I stop and let her solve it out on her own perhaps she will figure it out like your son did.
Lori-IL
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TriciaMR
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Re: Need some help with explaining Singapore methods

Unread post by TriciaMR »

I would also encourage you to allow her to use the manipulatives while doing the workbook. My boys are toward the end of 2B, and I would have to say it wasn't until about halfway through 2A (or more), that they stopped using the manipulatives so much. I have Math-U-See blocks, which we use a lot, especially when explaining new concepts.
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Mom2theteam
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Re: Need some help with explaining Singapore methods

Unread post by Mom2theteam »

I strongly suggest you get the Home Instructors Guide. I could not teach it without it, personally. Tons of ideas on how to teach it. You can see samples on the Singapore website.

Also, PM me for some wonderful free online videos that really help getting the concepts down in 1a and b. She uses manipulatives in the "Singapore way."
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Re: Need some help with explaining Singapore methods

Unread post by hsm »

Sheesh, I am afraid I have not done so well teaching her this. :( She always wants to use her fingers and I have discouraged it trying to get her to solve problems either from her memory (from flashcard drills) or the "Singapore way" (mental math). I guess fingers and manipulatives are not bad. I have used manipulatives but only during textbook time. Would you say it is like when a child is learning to walk and you let them hold onto things at first? You don't tell them, no don't hang on or you will never learn to walk without holding on! I just had this thought and now it is making a bit more sense. So, you all let them use manipulatives as long as necessary? And, let them play with them and figure it out? Like I said before, I think I have been talking too much and probably making it more complicated than need be. (partly due to my learning this method along with her).

Another question, if she solves the problem "her way" when doing the workbook, is that okay? Or do I need to "encourage" her to do it Singapore's way so that she won't struggle with it later on?

Also, I do have the HIG's and so glad I do. I know there is some question as to whether it is necessary and in my case I believe it is. It gives additional ideas which I have used and it also breaks it down a little more clearly in the explanation (which helps me since this method is new for me). It has definitely helped me with both of the girls.
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Julie in MN
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Re: Need some help with explaining Singapore methods

Unread post by Julie in MN »

hsm wrote:So, you all let them use manipulatives as long as necessary? And, let them play with them and figure it out?
I remember once getting out the base ten cubes to try to show my son what was going on in long division (5th grade?). We also used game-type fraction manipulatives into 7th grade. I love that Singapore starts at "real stuff" and then moves to the abstract.
hsm wrote:Another question, if she solves the problem "her way" when doing the workbook, is that okay? Or do I need to "encourage" her to do it Singapore's way so that she won't struggle with it later on?
I recently read here that the Standards Edition doesn't allow that, and I wonder if that's an American method sneaking in? Real math can be solved in a variety of ways, but tried-and-true methods are presented as shortcuts and helpful ways for common problems -- so they should be learned but shouldn't be the main point. I always felt like Singapore taught real math in that way. I do think some folks skip too quickly over teaching new methods and others spend too much effort enforcing new methods. Somewhere in between there seems best?

I mean, usually the new ways of thinking are introduced before they are actually "necessary" for the child to solve the problem. Underneath the lessons I envisioned a script something like, Here, this is a problem you know how to do, but today I'm going to show you a different way you could think about it. And later... Now here's a problem where those methods we saw before are going to save you a LOT of headaches. Still later... You might not be able to solve these at all without using those methods I've been telling you about starting back on the easier problems!

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TriciaMR
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Re: Need some help with explaining Singapore methods

Unread post by TriciaMR »

{Hugs} Lori...

It will be alright. Yes, teach her the "Singapore Way" for textbook time, but if she solves it a different way (and gets the right answer) then let it be. It will keep covering it more and more. After you've demonstrated several times, ask her to "teach you" to see if she really grasps it.

Right now, you're breaking numbers into tens and ones. Eventually, you'll break numbers into hundreds, tens, and ones (to help solve even bigger problems). I have one son (they're twins) who tends to do things the "Singapore Way," and the other who writes things down and does regrouping (borrowing & carrying).

-Trish
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hsm
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Re: Need some help with explaining Singapore methods

Unread post by hsm »

It is good to hear that others use manipulatives even in later years to get the concept down. That does make me feel better. Thank you all for the advice and encouragement. I am going to hit the pause button and let her play with the manipulatives and really focus on the number bonds and math facts until I feel comfortable moving her on. Then, if a different way to solve it is easier, then so be it. As long as she knows multiple ways to get to an answer. Like a couple people said, there is more than one way to solve a math problem. Taking a deep breath and realizing I won't "ruin her". :)
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extrafor6
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Re: Need some help with explaining Singapore methods

Unread post by extrafor6 »

We are on the same pages in 1a. I have a math degree (just saying that to give you some context) and I sit and work through any difficult exercises with my dd. today I got out the cubes and this was what our lesson looked like...15-8...I had her make 15 using a line of 10 cubes and a line of 5. Then I had her observe that you can't take 8 from the line of five, so we have to take it from the ten. We then have only two of those left. But we still had five others left. That makes seven left. As she's using the manipulative I am writing in her workbook the number bond 10--5 under the 15. Then she writes the answer in. I sit and work 2/3 of the problems with her and then see if she can finish the last few. We are finishing up 4b this summer with my older dd, and I can tell you that she'll get lots more practice with the Singapore way and the number bonds over the next year. Then, once they begin doing vertical addition/subtraction, it won't be as much of an issue. I hope that makes some sense and doesn't confuse you more :)
Stephanie
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Re: Need some help with explaining Singapore methods

Unread post by hsm »

Stephanie, that was very helpful, thank you. I tried something like that with dimes and pennies but I think that went over her head. I like your idea better. I am sorting through our legos this morning trying to get several sets of 10 similarly colored blocks to use in place of the cubes. As many blocks we have, you would think this wouldn't be difficult. I guess I need to look under the couches! :-)
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asheslawson
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Re: Need some help with explaining Singapore methods

Unread post by asheslawson »

I have been overwhelmed with Singapore more times than I can count - but I agree with those who posted that the HIG's help. I don't use every single part of every guide - but they teaching ideas have helped so much. I also have begun to see the merit in teaching Singapore's method - as best as I can. Sometimes I show my child both way's - and as a matter of fact - sometimes Singapore even shows that. For instance 2B is where my dd is & today it showed the bonds to add the money mentally & to write out the problem and used good old carrying to add the amounts.

The reason I commented is this...I kind-of think I may have told my kids, who think adding is easy, that everything is adding! That may have been a terrible thing to say - but it helped me when math was tough. I was terrible at it when I was a child. My aunt (a teacher, and someone I dearly loved & admired) told me that it was all in my head. But I knew that I only liked to add - even though I kept telling myself she was probably right - I was blocking my math progress mentally, by thinking I was bad at it. Then I remember noticing that adding was really at the root of every problem, addition, subtract, multiplication, and division. I overcame my struggle and started to realize that if I looked at the WHOLE problem, or page of problems, I would be overwhelmed...so I just focused on each step as I came to it.

I guess what I mean by everything is adding is this: 8+3=11, which means 11-8=3, and I reach that by thinking if I'm stumped - just start @ 8 & count up to 11, the difference is my answer.

Multiplication is just adding sets.

Division is the same thing but breaking them down - but I still multiply to get them. For instance if I want to figure 72/9, I just draw sets of 9 till I reach 72 - then I count the sets.

This is how my children learn to find the answers before they have their addition / subtraction / multiplication / division facts memorized. To me it makes sense & it seems to fit with the way Singapore shows their problems, I guess. I may just be an awful math teacher!!! %|
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hsm
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Re: Need some help with explaining Singapore methods

Unread post by hsm »

asheslawson, I really appreciate your perspective and encouragement. I, too, like adding better. I don't know why it is so much easier to "get". My dd's are the same way and just this week I had "taught" them how to figure the answer to a subtraction fact by adding. It seemed to help them considerably. I haven't tried it with multiplication or division yet, but hearing how it works for you, I will keep that in mind.

On the plus side, we have made some progress with my younger dd (the one doing 1a). I think she is beginning to get the number bond concept. We are about to finish 1a but before moving on to 1b I am planning to practice the concept further to make sure she understands it.

I am glad to hear I am not the only (nor are my children) that struggle with this. That said, I can see the huge benefits of Singapore and do not regret switching at all. I feel after this program all of us will understand math better.
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