# Tag Archives: learning maths

## “A” is for the Academic Year

Sometimes there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day to fit in what needs to be done, and there seems to be not enough weeks in the year for the school curriculum.

There are forty academic weeks to the Australian school year.  This is little enough time to squeeze in the content of the curriculum.  The problem is the school year is not exactly forty weeks.

There are several public holidays to be removed, and then there are “student free” days also to be taken out.  If we remove the school camp that all students seem to be attending these days, sick days and time spent out of school for one reason or another (sports, museums, etc.) then we have a shortened academic year.

This all puts our teachers and students under pressure as a larger amount of acquired knowledge is squeezed into a reduced amount of attendance time.

“A” initially stood for Academic Year but now I think it should stand for “Attendance”.

So, how do you make a better student?  Don’t add to the problem by reducing your student’s school attendance by removing them from school for a week-long holiday because it is more convenient.

## “U” is for Understanding the Curriculum

There has been some talk of late about the school curriculum and the changes it is going through.  These changes, like any change, cause ripple effects of anxiety on students, teachers and parents.  But what are the learning expectations of our young students?

I have been looking at www.australiancurriculum.edu.au for some guidance just so I, as a tutor, am aware and aligned with expectations.  I would advise popping onto the website and having a look.  Meanwhile I will give a brief summary focusing on maths as this is the area parent seek the most guidance from tutors.

## Year 1

By the end of Year One a school student is expected to know the numbers to one hundred; skip count by 2, 5 and 10; and be able to locate numbers on a number line.  Simple addition is accomplished by counting on, re-arranging or performing partitioning.  Fractions are introduced as they learn to recognise “1/2″ and be able to tell the time to the half hour.

I mentioned only a small area of the curriculum as these are the areas I see most when a student is presented for tuition.  At this stage of learning any short coming in these areas may be made up by parents sitting down with their little one and turn learning into some form of game.  There are several aids available from various websites and suggestions on the Australian Curriculum site.

## Year 2

If you are a parent with a young student in Australia, then chances are you have your mind in a muddle as to education expectations.

In Year 1 students have mastered the numbers up to 100 and skip counting by 2, 5 and 10.  This year sees them progress even further on the number line as they move towards recognising and placing order to the numbers to 1,000, and investigate the number sequences of 2, 3, 5 and 10.  It is this year they explore the connection between subtraction and addition.

By the end of this year they will master reading a clock (analogue and digital) to the quarter hour using the words “to” and “past” appropriately.   They will be able to name the months of the year in the correct order as well as the seasons of the year.  They will be able to use a calendar to find the date and know the number of days to the month.

This is only a small amount that is on the curriculum and only relates to maths as this is the area, as a tutor, I see the most problems.

How can you help your child with their studies?  Do you remember this:“Thirty days has September, April, June and November,all the rest have thirty-one days clear,except February alone which has twenty-eight daysand twenty-nine each leap year.

## Year 3

“These are the best years of your life.”, self-assuring words spruiked by many a parent and teacher to seven-year old students who don’t need reassurance after remembering their potty-training years.  They have just cruised through the first two years of primary school, they know all the numbers, the alphabet and can write their name; what else is there to learn?

Year 3 is where many young students realise their world will never be the same again.  It is during this year they discover numbers do not stop at 1,000 but continue all the way to 10,000 and they must know their order, place value, and be able to recognise if they are odd or even!   Not only that but there are numbers smaller than one that no-one told them about as they are introduced to the fractions 1/2, 1/4, 1/3, and 1/5.

When learning the multiplication table by heart for 2, 3, 5 and 10 no-one warned them about having to manage multiplying a two-digit number by a single digit number, without a smart phone.  In fact, they are expected to develop strategies to perform addition and subtraction in their head (mental maths).  Counting on, regrouping and partitioning are all strategies employed to perform mental maths.

It is during this year our students are introduced to metric measurement.  I hear very few complaints from students in our tuition centre about learning measurements.  I simply remind them that learning 1,000 metres equals one kilometre is much easier than remembering there are 1,760 yards to a mile, 22 yards to a chain, or 16 ounces to a pound.

Yes, there is a lot to learn in Year 3 (and this is only maths) and yes, these may be the best years of their life because Year 5 is ahead of them, but we won’t tell them about that yet.

## “F” is for Foundations

If your child was an average student last year, chances are they will be an average student this year.  If they struggled with maths last year, they will probably be struggling with maths this year.  Nothing changes unless something changes.  What must change to improve your child’s grades?

The first thing that must change is someone’s attitude.  Children are children and they will not change unless they are given a reason to change.  Telling them to do better or to change their ways will probably not get the result you, as a parent, desire because they do not know how to change.  They are children, they are young, and have a limited frame of reference when it comes to change.  They must be taught how to change.  At this stage the biggest change must be in you as a parent.  You must make the decisions for them, and then guide them along the path.

One of the biggest problems seen in students is they have problems with weak foundations.  They simply don’t know their multiplication tables up to their year level and they don’t have in place a memory of subtraction and addition of the numbers up to twenty (20).   No matter how well a student understands the mathematical concept they are being taught at school, if they can’t perform the foundations, they will not be able to solve the maths problem.  Continually getting the wrong answer whittles away their confidence.

Every student needs to build strong foundations.  You can’t have lasting structure without strong foundations.

Filed under Building Better Students, Uncategorized

## HOW DO YOU CHOOSE A TUTOR?

The process of choosing a tutor can be daunting and confusing. Generally when a parent is told by a teacher their child is struggling it comes as sudden news to the parent but has been viewed as a gradual process by the teacher or various teachers. One wonders why measures were not taken sooner to halt this process.

For whatever reason your student now requires tuition so how do you choose? I have seen many one-on-one tutors who do very fine work helping the student with maths at their current level and at times this is successful. School results improve and grades come up, but this system has its limitations.

Learning maths is a progressive process building upon previous knowledge of various maths strands until eventually the student is able to solve complex problems by drawing on their various knowledge strands. If there is a hole in their knowledge strands this makes solving these complex problems more difficult. This hole may have appeared years before and not been repaired.

The tuition process you choose should be able to identify these knowledge holes and plug them. By doing this your student is armed with complete knowledge that allows them to move to the top percentage of their class.

Your tutor should be able to identify the time when your child started to have difficulties; set up a program to begin at the point of trouble; move progressively forward plugging up other holes as they are identified; monitor the student’s progress (we do ours daily); provide progressive reports (our parents receive monthly progress reports on students); and set goals that engage and reward students (this keeps them motivated).

This method takes time but produces the best long term results.

## Year 3

“These are the best years of your life.”, self assuring words spruiked by many a parent and teacher to seven-year old students who do not need reassurance after remembering their potty training years.  They have just cruised through the first two years of primary school, they know all the numbers, the alphabet and can write their name; what else is there to learn?

Year 3 is where many young students realise their world will never be the same again.  It is during this year they discover numbers do not stop at 1,000 but continue all the way to 10,000 and they have to know their order, place value, and be able to recognise if they are odd or even!   Not only that but there are numbers smaller than one that no-one told them about as they are introduced to the fractions 1/2, 1/4, 1/3, and 1/5.

When learning the multiplication table by heart for 2, 3, 5 and 10 no-one warned them about having to manage multiplying a two digit number by a single digit number, without a smart phone.  In fact, they are expected to develop strategies to perform addition and subtraction in their head (mental maths).  Counting on, regrouping and partitioning are all strategies employed to perform mental maths.

It is during this year our students are introduced to metric measurement.  I hear very few complaints from students in our tuition centre about learning measurements.  I simply remind them that learning 1,000 metres equals one  kilometre is much easier than remembering there are 1,760 yards to a mile, 22 yards to a chain, or 16 ounces to a pound.

Yes, there is a lot to learn in Year 3 (and this is only maths) and yes, these may be the best years of their life because Year 5 is ahead of them, but we won’t tell them about that yet.

Filed under Learning, Posts

## Christmas is over and school is back! What is next for your student?

Well, if your child was an average student last year chances are they will be an average student this year.  If they struggled with maths last year they will probably be struggling with maths this year.  Nothing changes unless something changes.  What has to change to improve your child’s grades?

The first thing that must change is someone’s attitude.  Children are children and they will not change unless they are give a reason to change.  Telling them to do better or to change their ways will probably not get the result you as a parent desires mainly because they do not know how to change.  They are children, they are young and therefore have a limited frame of reference when it comes to change.  They have to be taught how to change.  At this stage the biggest change has to be in you as a parent.  You have to make the decisions for them and then guide them along the path.

One of the biggest problems I see in the students who attend tuition is they have problems with weak foundations.  They simply do not know their multiplication tables up to their year level and they do not have in place a memory of subtraction and addition of the numbers up to twenty (20).   No matter how well a student understands the mathematical concept they are being taught at school if they cannot perform the foundations I spoke about they will not be able to solve the maths problem.  Continually getting the wrong answer whittles away at their confidence.

Every student who attends our tuition spends at least ten minutes of every hour building upon their foundation knowledge.  You cannot have lasting structure without strong foundations.

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Filed under Learning, Posts