#5 Expanding Math
I don't really give math homework. It's always made me a bit uncomfortable. Maybe because I read this guy a little too often, but I believe that unless there is a firm consistent commitment from parents, then there is no reason to give math homework. The children either know how to do the math, in which case it's a waste of time, or they don't, in which case it's a waste of their time. This year though I started expanding my definition of math homework. I offered the following avenues for my kids to explore different ways to learn fourth grade math concepts, especially their multiplication tables, on their own. Here is what I did:
1) Multiplication Hip Hop
I am a sucker for math hip hop, perhaps because I'm a sucker for paradox. I first discovered this strange music genre with Mr. Duey in 2008. But I like Multiplication Hip Hop even more, because not only do they make hip hop songs about the multiplication tables, but they parody the likes of Michael Jackson and Justin Bieber as well. At the beginning of the year I send home a few songs a week, and ask the children to listen to them on their mp3 players.
2) Khan Academy and Common Core
It is not possible to "flip" our classes in Kathmandu. The internet is just too slow and too unreliable. However, I do like to give parents relevant Khan Academy videos whenever we start a new math unit. When Khan Academy decided to create a directory of videos with grade level Common Core standards, it really became a huge boost for grade-level teachers finding the right Khan videos for a particular unit. Instead of perusing the Khan Academy homepage for videos for each unit, I now can just go to their Common Core directory and send parents the link for the appropriate standards:
3) Manga High
Manga High has a basic free service that allows teachers to select a subset of games, but it's good enough for me that I pay for the full service.
4) Digital Flash Cards
I have the kids make ordinary flash cards too, but I like this option too, especially if one of my students has an iPad or iTouch. If not, then it wouldn't be convenient. But many of my kids do, so my thanks to Brent Coley for providing this resource.