Thursday, May 3, 2012

Our Math Notebook

We began working on Geometry this week with my 13 year old. I think he is beginning to enjoy the change of pace that Geometry offers from the regular practice of multiplication, division and fractions.

Today much or our math was learning the basics and writing notes in our Math Notebook.  I have been fairly consistent with encouraging him to write notes and add things to his Math Notebook and I think this is really starting to take on a greater meaning.

Math notebooks or learning journals ( whichever you wish to call it) can be an important component in your home math learning. When new concepts are introduced writing about them and adding pictures about it can really help with the processing of the new information.  You then, can go back and refer to the notes to review and make sure the understanding is there.

When we first started working on Geometry some things were getting confusing for him~ the difference between lines and lines segments. When to add those lines segments or when to subtract the segments to find the answer etc.. once I saw this, I immediately encouraged him to write these notes and new concepts down into his Math Notebook under his Geometry section.

We made a Math Notebook a while ago once math started to get more involved. I divided the composition book with tabs that you can write on and peel off and move around if you need to.  The Notebook is divided into sections of concepts, so that way, he can pick a tab/topic and flip right to it, instead of having to thumb through lots of pages.

Breakdown of our Math Lesson: ( Review, Teach Me, Lesson )
( This breakdown has changed now that he has gotten older. When he was younger it would be broken down like this: Review, New Lesson, Correct together, Teach Me Back)

While learning new concepts we almost always go and review the new concepts in his math notebook and read them over together.  I like to make sure we are on track and that he is processing the material before entering into another lesson. I have found this quick review really helps him stay on track and helps him better appreciate his abilities. ( the time might vary on this review depending on what he has learned, it can be from 5 minutes to 15 minutes) *note, if at any time I see he just didn't understand it or during the teach me time below, he did not understand we stop and stay at that point and I pull worksheets off the internet or we find things on line to use for extra practice in that area.

Teach Me
We may do this while reading over the notes in the Math Notebook or do it separately by closing up the notebook after we have gone over it and he shows me what he knows. At this point he is the teacher and I practice complete autonomy, whereby I just listen and look to see how he articulates the information back to me in helping me understand it and in turn I learn if there are any trouble spots or bumpy areas we may still need practice with. He gives practice problems and will explain steps for the concepts. After a while he has begun to enjoy this. I at times play a bit dumb and ask questions to try and slip him up and he picks right up on it and we usually have a good laugh. Its a good thing, because when a child can teach something they are showing mastery  (everyone knows you can't teach something you don't understand ) and in this case, while practicing this component your keeping a close pulse on your math learner and where he is at. This teach me time may happen once or twice a week not every day~ .

My son's lesson is from the program Teaching Textbooks, so we will sit together and go over the lecture video first and may stop it in between in case there are questions or problems with understanding. Notes are taken and after that if he feels comfortable with understanding the information he will start his lesson.
At this point with his lessons I stay close by, in time I plan on him becoming more independent, but he is just not ready yet. He works completely on his own yet will ask a question sometimes so I am sure to be close by in case he needs me.  The program grades itself so every answer he gives he knows automatically what is right and what is wrong so if one is wrong we sometimes will go over it to see just what might have went wrong.

If you have not considered using and starting a Math Notebook / Learning Log/ or Math Journal you may want to try it out for a few months to see if this helps your math learning at home. I have found it to be very helpful for my special needs child.

If and when you do I would love to hear back your experiences and how it might have helped your math learning at home.


Holly said...

I'm going to try this with my son. We use Teaching Textbooks, too. I think this will help him in the same way it helped your son. Thanks! Holly

Learners at Home said...

Great! Keep me posted we can compare notes~ :) no pun intended there~ lol


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