- Educators should provide introductions to new math concepts through reading a book or playing a video. A book or video serves as an introduction to a new concept, such as number sense, as it introduces children to the concept in an easy to follow way. Discussions of a book or video can further introduce the topic. Engaging the class in a discussion will give the educator an idea of what knowledge the children currently process on the topic and in what areas their knowledge is lacking.
- The FDK states: “Rich mathematical problems involve important mathematical ideas and arise out of real-life situations, and can be approached in a variety of ways so that all children can be involved in exploring solutions” (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2011). Educators must provide concrete learning experiences for children as to support learning from real-life situations.
- Educators should include all children in activity planning. Activities should be adaptable to children who have disabilities so that they can explore the math concept as well. Research has found that children with disabilities are capable of learning the math concept of number sense.
- Educators should refrain from using worksheets and focus teaching methods on a hands-on approach to learning. When children are active participants in their learning, greater benefits and strides in their development are evident.
- Educators should provide ample learning opportunities, including those posed by playing games. Games such as dice rolling and dominos can promote an understanding of number sense. Playing games provides children with a fun approach to learning.
- Educators should incorporate aspects of the natural environment into children’s learning environment. Natural elements can be incorporated into a lesson on number sense by, for example, using rocks to count or using little tree branches to make shapes, and count the sides of the shapes.
- Educators should provide children with “high-quality investigative learning experiences that involve the use of mathematics manipulatives”(Ontario Ministry of Education, 2011). Providing a math invitation (as described in my blog) may serve as an investigative learning experience as a large variety of materials with open-ended learning opportunities are provided.
- Educators should take a constructivist approach to teaching as to provide children with opportunities to actively construct knowledge in a meaningful way. For example, instead of having children circle five items on a worksheet, have them find five items in the room. This way children can construct five in a way that is meaninful to them as they are engaging in kinetic learning and active exploration of their environment. Engaging in this type of learning makes for a more interesting, enjoyable, and memorable learning experience.
- Although it is important for educators to provide open-ended learning experiences where children are active participants in their learning, educators should still provide guided activities where they act as facilitators of children’s learning (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2011). Although a constructivist approach is found in studies to be more beneficial to children’s learning, at times taking an instructivist approach can serve children’s learning as well in such cases where more guided instruction from an educator is needed. For example, if children are learning how to write numbers down on paper, an educator will demonstrate and reinforce the proper way to hold a pencil.
- Educators should incorporate technology into the classroom as technological advances influence children’s lives on a daily basis. For example, educators may have children use a smart board for a lesson on number sense. Instead of drawing numbers on a piece of paper, children can take turns tracing the numbers with their fingers on a smart board.
- Educators should promote reflective learning among children (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2011). For example, educators can encourage children to explain to peers how they solved a specific problem. In terms of number sense, if children are counting tally marks, they may explain how they knew two groups of tallies equaled 10 without having to count each tally mark (demonstrating an understanding of 5).
Ontario Ministry of Education. (2011). The full-day early learning-kindergarten program. Toronto: Queen’s Printer. Retrieved from http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/elementary/kindergarten_english_june3.pdf