The school year has kicked off with the much anticipated implementation of the Singapore math program. Several of my math students have asked, “What is Singapore math?” A great question! My answer? Simply put, it is a different approach to learning and teaching math than the programs we have used in the past. The program teaches students, in the earliest grades through middle school, to “see” their math through the use of manipulatives and visual representation of problems. An approach like this makes math more accessible for all levels of students as it is their natural way to think about math. It is especially important as critical thinking problems have become the new focus in math. This is just another way to say story problems, which most adults, if they are honest, hated when they were learning math in school.
One quarter into our year with Singapore, and I am happy to report that negative comments have indeed diminished! The level that 6th graders are working at is amazing. We have just finished up our algebraic unit, and the majority of students are showing a greater comprehension of math concepts. They are impressed with themselves that they are working at a 7th grade level. Students who have struggled in the past are now making great gains. They are being given the tools to attack the dreaded story problems and as their success rate builds, so does their confidence. So the days of, “I hate math. I stink at it.” have slowly begun to turn into, “My favorite class is math. I love it.” No kidding. I have heard it and so have others, and this is music to a math teacher’s ears!
6th and 7th Grade Math