Finding my Tutoring Hat
I’m slipping back into my role as a math tutor and loving it. I found my box of books and “toys” in the attic and sorted out what might be most useful in helping young Margalen.
I am somewhat appalled at the cookbook approach the school system uses to teach math. There is a sequence of steps for writing a decimal number, for rounding. If the student deviates in the least she is hopelessly lost. And she seems to have no way of doing a reality check on the answer.
So my goal is to teach her to understand numbers. When she says “60” in response to “4 x 4”, I want her to understand just how different that is from “16”.
We’re going to have fun along the way. Monday we played store with that pile of coins. She was purchasing make-believe items. Her job was to come up with multiple ways to pay for them and to also be able to check whether the clerk (me) had given her the correct change. These are lessons for life!
We also played a guessing game with the hundred sheet. One person would pick a number between 1 and 100. The other person’s job was to figure out the number with the fewest guesses. She learned there is a better way that starting with “Is it 1? Is it 2?…”
Next week we’ll tackle toothpick puzzles with problems like this.
We will play with Tangoes and other fun things that make math more than just facts.
I love picking Margalen up from school on Mondays, giving her an after school snack, and then sitting down to work on piano and math. I’m happy to be getting to know her better and hopefully to be giving her some things to make her world just a little more interesting.