“I do what I do because I know who they can become.” That statement hangs above my desk and is the tagline on each of my e-mails. As an educator, I want to be encouraged and reminded daily that the work I do matters . . . and I do math. Math matters.
Each of us uses math every day. We use it a lot! It matters. However, you don’t have to look very hard to find someone quick to say they don’t like math OR that they are not very good at it. Perhaps those feelings come from those very early subtraction experiences we all had — “Share your toys with your cousin, Stephanie” — or possibly they stem from an old-school “ditto page” approach to teaching and learning.
The reason doesn’t matter as much as the results. The results are sad and a bit scary. We live in a society where 58 percent of adults cannot compute a 10 percent tip, 71 percent cannot compute interest paid on a loan, and 78 percent cannot calculate miles per gallon on a trip. Oh, my! Let me be honest here; this is not how I want the children in my world to turn out!
Children naturally possess broad, complex, and sophisticated knowledge of mathematics, albeit informal. They come to school believing that they are mathematicians and mathematically powerful. Teachers are tasked with nurturing and developing that confidence and competence . . . and it matters.
“Even more than early reading ability, understanding early math concepts serves as a predictor of later school success. And kids who do well in math in high school end up doing well in the labor market” (Duncan et al, 2007). That’s what I want for “my” kids!
Taking the numb out of numbers and the kill out of skill matters. I get that. Next comes figuring out how. What is the best way to help kids realize that math matters, that they CAN do it, and do it successfully? I believe it is through instruction that is purposeful and engaging. Since “who they become” hinges on what we do every day, being a part of the Istation math team is challenging. We are in the business of making math learning not only understandable and accessible, but even— dare I say it? — fun!
Coming this fall, two new products join the Istation Math family. A developmentally appropriate new assessment, ISIP™ Early Math, measures overall math ability for pre-K through grade 1 students while they spend time in Mario’s Market. Istation Math for pre-K through grade 1 has students singing and learning math with The Math Superstars as they travel the United States on their concert tour. Both products are full of activities designed to engage and empower young learners and build future success. That’s it! That’s why I do what I do . . . it’s what I want . . . it matters. Math matters.
Learn more about Istation's Math program. Get the free e-brochure here.
By Stephanie Noland, Head of Early Math Curriculum at Istation