Mathematics continues to be the topic of much debate about how best to teach our youth. Is math about automaticity and building procedural skill knowledge or is it best to teach conceptual ideas using concrete manipulatives? The answer, I believe, is both! Children need to understand the big picture concept of what they are doing in order to solve problems as well as having math “facts” at their automatic disposal. By not spending time and energy SOLVING simple equations, children are able to save room in their working memory for thinking about what the problem is asking and logically figuring out the most efficient way to tackle the operations needed in that particular math problem. Visualizing and understanding the “why” needs to be combined with the memorization of those pesky math facts.

When working with students in math, it is beneficial to tackle both the memorization of math facts that leads to math fluency AS WELL AS to spend time building understanding of the organization of our number system and the relationship between numbers. Teaching students to visualize models (a ten frame, 100 chart, and number line) and think about how they are solving a problem builds skills and confidence in math.

Foundational math skills and confidence leads to success in a child’s ability to succeed in mathematics. Call me to work with your child to build rote and procedural skills, fluency, mathematical visual imagery, and an “I am good at math!” attitude.

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