February 7, 2017

Algebraic Thinking: An Opportunity For Growth

Algebra is a common weak spot for test takers. From high school subject area testing and GED prep to ACT and Praxis Core planning, many students struggle to grasp concepts. Fortunately, algebraic thinking is introduced as early as kindergarten in settings where Common Core Math Standards guides learning. Other popular curricula that emphasize algebraic thinking early on include Saxon Math and K5 Learning.

Online, In-person, Small Group Tutoring

Whether enrolled in school, participating in a home school program, exploring the unschooling spectrum, or preparing for post-secondary testing, there are many study tools available. As with many difficult tasks - like me learning to cook - seeking independent practice opportunity positions learners for success. When educators and family members prompt students to complete homework and provide supplemental learning activities, such as games, worksheets, and books, we model success strategies.

First thoughts may sound something like this.... I hate math; I'm not good in math; Algebra is my worst subject; I just don't get it. These are normal and (it pains me to say) acceptable. Though I love math, algebraic reasoning has not been taught to some in a way that triggers excitement. Nonetheless, learners need to see you trying. They need to see you reading and practicing and failing and overcoming.

Jackson Education Support Resources

Tap into free resources. Even many of the fee-based tools offer free trials. I'm talking about truly, no-credit-card-needed free trials. One of my favorite websites for math worksheets is Math-Aids. I often use Math-Aids dynamic Algebra worksheets to help learners during tutoring as well as reinforce learning at home. I often find that educators are using Math-Aids worksheets for these same reasons.

Popular algebraic concepts covered by the Math-Aids worksheet generator include:

Worksheets guided this student-centered experience.

As I shared in last month's post on place value and operations in base ten, hands-on learning is the best learning. Whenever possible, playing games and using colorful manipulatives is ideal. Having tangible tools used to model math concepts and practice problems hooks learners in a way that immediately influences their mental state. Learning algebra becomes less gruesome when we add context and meaning to standards. Performance inevitably improves.

 Algebra Tiles for Your Classroom

An awesome tool from Assessment Services Inc. helped one high schooler transition his focus from resisting Algebra and misbehaving to having fun during tutoring sessions. Algebra Tiles for Your Classroom should be in every learning environment designed to meet the needs of math learners - not just in classrooms. Algebra Tiles comes with a booklet that introduces learners to integers and represents variables and equations using unforgettable visuals that are fun to compose and decompose. It is a tool for learners of all ages. This 9th grader began to have fun thinking, learning, talking about math. He learned to enjoy the  journey and embrace failures through play, a not-so-novel concept that we forget to include in math lessons. 

Jackson Education Support (JE) offers fun and engaging learning experiences to learners of a ages. Specialty subjects include literacy, math, and science. Each experience is personalized to meet individual and organizational need. Read feedback and learn more by visiting je411.com.