Top 10 Elementary Math Tips
These elementary math tips are timeless, fun, and hard to beat!
Elementary math isn’t always the easiest subject to teach, but it’s tons of fun. You can discuss fractions while making cookies and counting ducks at the pond.
1. Find a curriculum and stick with it
There’s always going to be a shiny new curriculum coming onto the market. A program everyone raves about solving every math problem under the sun and even washing your dishes.
Sorry, no program will solve every math problem under the sun, and I’m still waiting for my math program to wash my dinner dishes. Jumping math programs slows kids down because each math program has a different schedule for teaching concepts. Avoid switching programs unless you have no choice.
2. Do change programs if they’re not learning or tears appear regularly
While there’s much to be said for sticking with your math curriculum, change if it’s not working! If you’re dealing with children in tears on a daily or weekly basis, it’s time to consider changing.
If you spend months or years covering the same basic topic again and again with no understanding, try a different approach.
3. Hang a calendar on the fridge
I tape this month’s and next month’s calendars to the fridge. Even my 5-year-old knows to check the calendar for upcoming events. It’s amazing how quickly the kids learn to read a calendar when they’re counting down the days until Christmas or Easter.
4. Read books on teaching math
Remember to invest in teacher training as well as a wonderful curriculum for the children. It’s important to keep your own understanding of math and teaching techniques growing.
You also demonstrate an interest in math to your children and you know kids. Monkey see monkey do!
5. Keep manipulatives around to demonstrate concepts
Young kids need manipulatives or Lego games to help them understand concepts. Talking abstractly about fractions doesn’t make much sense to a 6-year-old.
Chatting about dividing a pizza between her and her siblings does. Manipulatives bridge the divide between abstract and tangible.
6. Drill math facts through games
Don’t just sit down and drill math with flashcards, have fun, and use games. You can play Uno Card Game or Yahtzee. Use computer programs such as The Quarter Mile Math.
They make a fun change from worksheets and drills.
7. Drill math facts while dribbling or playing
Get your kids outside and moving around. For some reason, math facts stick in the mind better when kids are moving.
Hopscotch while drilling. Jump rope and chant math facts. Dribble a basketball and chant. Get moving, drill facts, and enjoy some time together.
8. Encourage puzzle books such as Usborne’s puzzles
I love puzzle books such as Usborne’s Puzzle World Books. Puzzles encourage children to think out of the box and apply what they’ve learned.
They’re an easy way to challenge children without adding on yet another math program.
9. Don’t be in a rush
Children progress at different rates. Don’t be in a rush to reach algebra before the children reach their preteen years, and don’t be in a rush to get multiplication facts memorized overnight.
Give your children and yourself time… time to learn, time to play, and time to grow.
10. Have fun with Elementary Math
Elementary math is a blast to teach to young children. You can order pizzas to discuss fractions, make cookies and teach counting or multiplication, or tell stories about teddy bears going to the park.
If you only take one tip away from these top ten tips for teaching elementary math, let it be this one. Have fun and enjoy the time with your children.
What is your best tip for teaching elementary math?
All very good ideas for teaching math. Really math is all around us. Good way to teach them.
Thanks Debbie! We enjoy using a math program, but I adore supplementing with everyday math. 🙂
I really love these tips! Thanks so much for sharing. I pinned them so I can remind myself later. I totally agree about not changing math curriculum. I had a really great one I was using in preschool–I changed because of cost, and all Kindergarten was such a waste. I am now back to a better one, but I really wish I had just stuck with the first one.
I’ve done the same thing ~ multiple times, Miranda. It was a waste of time switching our math curriculum when the program we were using worked well for my family. We keep ending up back where we started. 😉
I’m thrilled you love these tips! Thank you. 🙂
Math can so easily be incorporated into everyday living. We use 2 curriculum programs and have been doing so since my daughter started grade 1, 2 years ago.
Wonderful tips here!
Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).
Wishing you a lovely day.
Math is easily incorporated into everyday living in the early years, isn’t it! I’ve found high school algebra, geometry, and trigonometry to be a bit harder. 😉
I’ve rarely tried using 2 math programs at the same time. Which 2 programs are you using?
Visiting from Trivium Tuesdays! These ideas are great! You are inspiring me to post a calendar! It makes complete sense but just isn’t something I’ve done because I keep a personal planner.
The calendar has been wonderful for my family. The teens are so ingrained that ‘an event doesn’t exist unless it’s on the calendar’ that they habitually write their activities on it. It’s an easy way to stay up on what everyone’s doing each day. 🙂
I especially like the last point “have fun”, this is something that doesn’t always happen when our children don’t learn how we think they should. Thank you also for the encouragement to realise that our children all learn at different rates. Thanks for sharing this great post with us at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings
Thanks, Terri. While I do insist on formal schoolwork happening in my house, I’m a firm believer in a little sugar helps the medicine go down. If we can do school and have fun, I’m all for it!
Love all your tips! I heartily agree with all of them. I am very math minded, so I really like teaching math, but I know I’m not in the majority =) How about a 10 Tips for Teaching Grammar post? 😉 haha
Actually it’s in the plans! I thought I’d run a Top 10 series for a time and have a bit of fun with it. 🙂
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