kitchen table math, the sequel: Singapore Math at Hackley

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Singapore Math at Hackley


One question: I don't remember a lot of focus on manipulatives in Singapore Math -- ?

How do Singapore schools handle struggling students?

Hackley School


CassyT said...

Here's Dr. Ban Har Yeap from his Ask Banhar Blog. He works for Singapore's National Institute of Education:

"...there are at least two things that happens in every school. One, Learning Support Porgramme (LSM) is a differentiated instruction for primary one and two students who are not entirely ready for the regular instruction. In many schools, these pupils are pulled out from their regular classes and work with a teacher who works with fewer children (not more than 10). The regular class size is 30. The content is the same as the regular programme. However, pupils get more attention because of small class size and the teachers are in a better position to diagnose and remediate. They may also use slightly different pedagogy to enage these pupils - more concrete activities, perhaps."

The second support differentiates the content an is for Grades 5 & 6. (Foundation Maths Programme)

As to manipulatives, I saw plenty in use in the primary grades in Singapore. The materials didn't seem to be anything too unusual; base-ten blocks, unifix cubes, scales, pattern blocks, etc.

In addition to the above, I use number disks, place value charts, cuisenaire rods, connect-a-cubes, fraction bars, whatever is necessary. Nothing specific to the curriculum, however, just basic math manipulatives.

Crimson Wife said...

There is definitely manipulative use in the lower levels of Singapore. The difference between the Singapore use of manipulatives and the problematic use in "fuzzy" American programs like EDM is the emphasis in the former in getting the students beyond reliance on the hands-on materials. Singapore uses the manipulatives as tools to help explain the concepts, then moves on to pencil & paper work and eventually to mental calculation. The manipulatives don't become crutches to make up for the lack of fact recall.

Anonymous said...

I would recommend RightStart math over Singapore math for struggling learners or for those with auditory processing difficulties of any type. RightStart is a fusion of Asian mathematics and Montessori--and is, truly and honestly, the best of both. It's teacher-intensive and time-consuming, but boy, does it get results. Manipulatives aren't bad. Kids figuring out answers along carefully constructed paths isn't bad. Meaningless manipulatives and the blind leading the blind is bad. (In RightStart, the BELOW AVERAGE first grader can add four digit number at the end of the year--and add two-digit numbers quickly in their heads.)

Both Singapore and RightStart, particularly RightStart, demonstrate some of the greatest gains among the lowest-achieving students. It's the kids who would be reliant on counting techniques that really benefit from explicit instruction in the mental manipulations of numbers, more than any other group.

Anonymous said...

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