Here you will see students as young as 4 and 5 years old doing algebra and "advanced" math, without ever knowing it's supposed to be hard.
You are invited to learn how to use this method...

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Algebra with Base 10 Manipulatives

This little girl is doing some pretty big math.  Algebra doesn't have to be hard or scary. It' can be exciting easy and fun. I admonish all parents and teachers using this method to introduce algebra early. Four and five is not too young, Little kids enjoy algebra, especially when they don't know it's supposed to be hard.

In kid culture, they do know algebra is supposed to be hard. So when they see themselves doing algebra and it's easy and fun they think that they're smart. Their self talk is superior to those failing algebra, I assure you. 

The idea here is to introduce concepts gradually, but you'll find that with this method we cover a lot more ground a lot faster than the traditional symbol-based approach. Using base 10 blocks makes algebra visually obvious and so easy even very little children can do it and have fun at the same time.

Compare and contrast this to symbol based approach which often results in teenage tears. The problem I see in many mah textbooks is that they introduce too many concepts at once. This makes the "cognitive load" too high and algebra becomes frustrating. Instead, using base 10 blocks they can get their hands on it and we introduce one concept at a time. The algebra is actually used to teach addends and multiplication facts.  So a concept is introduced, we play with it, another concept is introduced and then we play with that.  While we are learning math concepts we are counting. But again don't be confused, computation is not all there is to mathematics. Mathematics is the development of logic and reasoning.

While we are learning basic math concepts, 45 addends and 400 multiplication facts can be internalized for instant recall not just memorized and forgotten again.

The fact that she still on her fingers doesn't matter either. Neither does the fact that she couldn't write all of these problems down quickly.  In fact if we took the time for her to write them down it would slow the lesson down to the point where he wouldn't get anything done. Learning math concepts can be done whether or not the child can write, in fact her ability to write is not reflective of her ability to learn math at all. Public schools seem to have this confused. Mathematics is intrinsic to the human mind. Concept based teaching of mathematics with base 10 blocks not only speed the process up but removes a lot of the pain.

In the short eight minutes we introduced some very powerful and important math concepts. The concept of the exponent, distribution; we reinforced counting by fours and nines did addends for 11 and 12 and 13. We didn't do stale worksheets. It wasn't boring, it was fun: child's play.

The deck is definitely stacked against little girls. In 2017, we still put little girls at a disadvantage. There still told math is a "guy thing." Girls are often discouraged from participating in math and science even if it's unconsciously. And mathematics is still taught to the male visual learner. Kinesthetic female learners usually have a difficult time with mathematics. But this method levels the playing field.

I charge $50 an hour or for $200.00 you get five classes. All you need is gmail vid chat and A set of blocks. This little girl could use a playmate and I have one other little girl would also like of playmate too.  If $200.00 is out of your price range, for $36 a month you can get passwords that allow you access to a plethora videos and webpages that show you how to do it yourself.  For example Raymond's page, shows you how to start off very young children. But there are many more password protected pages than that with PDFS and more.

Subraction in Action

Subtraction when done right should be easy and fun. All it takes is the proper method and a little practice. In this video you see intermediate supremely simple subtraction. Where we are not just taking away one digit...but two. With a little more practice, long strings of digits can be done quickly and easily.

Subtraction, base 10 manipulatives, homeschoolmath

I don't see why it's difficult to train your child to understand if that number is bigger than that number then this number is one less... And if the number on the bottom is bigger just add the addend. And little more practice you can go from left to right instead of right to left. The idea is to make computation fast and easy.

It is amazing to me that we have fallen down this early on in the teaching of mathematics. This is just subtraction, it shouldn't be hard. If you want to make subtraction easy and fun for your kids just click the link. Supremely Simple Subtraction.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Base Ten Blocks and Playdoh

Basically what you see here is a math rich environment in action.

Playin is learning. Play with the stuff they like to play with... In this case playdoh and manipulatives, or base 10 bucks.

This screen cast got over 150 hits in a day, I'm pretty sure people were amazed by their ability to multiply more than by the playdoh but you never know with the Internet.

If you like it, share it.

Basically we played and had fun first and learned math concepts second. this play session lasted about two hours you'll the complete lack of symbols interplay we just talked about the concepts, the symbols will come later.

Here you see us playing with addends and subtraction. A lot is going on here... You see Hero Zero wearing his five disguise at the top, first it was a 10 and we made addends for 10 below it and the four-year-old showed me ten take away one in no uncertain terms.

base ten blocks. playdoh, fun math activities,
Here we see an addend for seven and a couple cutouts.
base ten blocks. playdoh, fun math activities,
Here you can see how the boys lined up and press them in.

math manipulatives, math activities, fun preschool math activities

And here we are getting ready for addends bigger than 10.
base 10 blocks, math fun, fun 1st grade math activities,

Talk about making impressions, here we see 6+4 really is the same as 7+3, and they're both the same as 10.
fun preschool matth acttivities, homeschool math activities, base ten blocks
So what if they don't line up  perfectly? They still "get it" and that this age the emphasis is on fun not on being didactic with clay. You can't play "wrong."
preschool math acttivities, matth fun, playdoh

Cutouts for the one I don't talk about talk much about the video. And you don't see it much here either but we did all kinds of map of the cutouts, mostly adding and subtracting and smooshing together.
base ten blocks, playdoh, blocks, fun math activities
Then we started playing with fraction, under my direction... It's play but it's directed play.  "Why don't we..?" "What if we..?" "What would happen if..?""Can you make a square and cut it up?"

Looks like an American cheese single. And right there I got about 100 ideas for lessons with a pack of cheese singles... Eat your math lessons, that will get them subtracting--assuming you like eating processed American mucus forming, chemically enhanced for optimum flavored cheese-like substances. I wonder if I could get Kraft as a sponsor. Anyway I can see lots of lessons that could be done with cheese singles.

playdogh, squares,

Here we talked about one whole, then because it was yellow we cut it into a 4 x 4 square using the four block as a guide. First would cut it in half then we cut each half into it quarters and the make up the other way and we talked about equivalent fractions 1/4 equals 2/8, and they could see it. And then we got those in the house and you get what we see here:
base ten blocks, square numbers, playdoh, mah fun,

This gives a good chance to practice coming by fours and to see 4/16 is the same as one quarter.  You can also see a relationship of 1 to 3, 1:3, but we did not talk about it at all I mention it here because it's so blatantly obvious we could show it equivalent fractions the other way keep it simple and fun and don't try to stuff too much in there at a time. Older kids and adults might be ready to make the switches between the two but with the toddlers I made sure it was a coherent lesson with no jumps and perception. It's one square with a strip colored in as opposed into rectangles, one over the other to show ratio and equivalent fractions of one third that way. This one square teaches a lot of math to toddlers as it is. his could just as easily been a lesson about right angles and squares and square root.

The older boy wants in on the action since you did such a good job accounting by fours and sixes.
Child, playdoh, math, fun, play, counting, kindergarten, blocks
But the younger boy would like to know that he did all the "work."

child, play, math, fun, base ten blocks, playdoh, clay, activities, preschool
Bigger is funner. Here we put  together a 6 x 6 square and talked about fractions as we did it can you see that fractions and multiplication go hand-in-hand and that you can't teach one without the other than that you can teach multiplication with fractions.  Why not teach fractions while you teach multiplication or why not teach multiplication with fractions?
playdoh, math, fun math acivities, base ten blocks,
Since it was all cut up already or use a six to show one out of six or 1/6 and that was the same as 6/36 or six out of 36. Again they didn't see any symbols and we didn't do any writing during the lesson. But when they do see them, the symbols will make sense.
playdoh, blocks, math, fun math acivities, base ten blocks, preschool, firs grade, primary
 Just for fun, here's one of 36. 1/36.
playdoh, fracions, couning, math, fun math acivities, base ten blocks, preschool, #pk-2
 And since they had some purple Playdoh,  they made six out of 36 themselves. Again I see you ratio listing here 5 to 1 or 1:5, but we didn't do it. You could if your students are a little older. Or as a separate lesson.
playdoh math, math fun. Fun preschool math acivities, math materials,  base ten playdoh, fractions
 Them we made it smaller and talk about fives and fifths each blue-black is one of five or 1/5th. Of course conking my fives is easy and fun.
playdoh, base en blocks, math, homeschool, fun math acivities, base ten blocks,
 Which is the same as 2/10ths, and here you see them using their imagination to break it into tenths.

fun math activities, kindergarten math activities, playdoh,
 It was fun rolling out the skinny lines and making stuff with them. I missed taking pictures of them playing with the yellow flat and showing other fractions and fraction concepts. But you get the idea.
#homeschoolmath, fun math activities, base ten blocks, playdoh
 And after we played long enough with these concepts we just crunched it all together and started over again.
playdoh math, base 10 blocks, math fun. Fun preschool math acivities, math materials,
"What should we do next?" the four-year-old asked.
 "I dunno." I said, "let's just play and see what happens."

Here is a video for the boys help me tell the story. Caution: they may blow your mind with their ability to count.

At the time I made this post using YouTube and Screencast-o-Matic had outages that were commonplace. I put screencasts here for all my teacher friends who have YouTube blocked at skool but then the screencasts stopped working so now I'm going back and finding screen casts that don't work and am replacing them with  YouTube vids or links.

This screen cast is titled "Crewton Ramone play W/Clay Learn Math" on both YouTube and Screencast-o-Matic. People ask me if they can use my material on blogs and web posts, lancer is by all means just a link back to wherever you got it.

Here are couple of old posts where they play and learn math:

More fun math activities.

Math rich environment.

Four-year-old math enrichment.

Find us on Facebook... and at the house of math.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Base Ten Blocks for 2017

SO much to do.

Got fractions videos to put up on the fractions's been a couple YEARS that that page has needed work...passwords really are going to change shortly and many pages are going behind paywalls when in doubt use the sitewide password....and there's a slight chance that I have a live seminar/playshop here in Southern California...somewhere in "the valley" January meantime sometimes people figure rapidly that what's at the house of math currently is worth a whole lot more than $349.99. And I am quite serious when I say if you can find lessons that make math easy using base ten blocks post them here. 
This is what gets me out of bed in the morning.
Got in another conversation about Khan Academy. Which is great, free lessons BUT they are "traditional" symbol based lessons with no pictures. No compound lessons and lots of memorization...and I have heard more times than I can count that watching the videos over and over again does not lead to understanding although you can remember the steps long enough to take the test--sometimes. I have had high school students tell me over and over again teachers basically let Khan Academy teach their classes for them and homework can consist of watching vids there.
"if I didn't get it the firs time watching again and again isn' going to help although once in a great while watching it over and over again makes something click. I still have an "F" though." ~16 year old girl, with regard to Kahn. Same girl: "Holy crap! I watched your video one time and totally got it why didn't anybody tell me this before?"
I find the explanations clear and usually concise, but again the algorithms are symbol based and I have an ace up my sleeve because I know what the symbols mean and the pictures they represent due to my familiarity with base ten blocks. Again it's not me it's the tools and understanding of their best use.   Also you get compound lessons that teach more than one thing at a time.
High school kids who tell me they hate the site because they hate math have no pictures or blocks. You'd hate English too if all you learned was letters like c o w but never saw a cow; chair could be confusing because they both have four legs and start with "c" but you've never seen a chair either...and nobody ever explained to you that those letters mean the thing you sit in as opposed to an animal from which milk can be had assuming you get a female. I have talked to more than one teen that was confused by Khan Academy not because Sal is a bad teacher but because he lacks tools other than symbols. Many have benefited from the vids there and he has many, many more than I do.

Despite appearances I did not pay for this testimonial.
The idea is that free or not, a huge amount of videos that explain math or not--it's not fun, kids often don't "get it" and it helps but still falls short for too many students, particularly female kenesthetic learners but also males. If you go through my blog and website, Crewton Ramone's House of Math you will see why this is a problem. It's just more of the same. It will work for a certain percentage of students...but my method works for a much greater percentage. "Gifted and talented" as well as challenged or remedial. I guarantee you most autistic kids do not prosper there at Khan Academy although there are a few for whom the method is perfect.

The point is the base ten block method works for more students more often.

fun math activities, base ten blocks
Healthy Sibling Rivalry is a good thing.
Problem: most people don't know how to use base ten blocks effectively and completely. They fall off right after basic operations and usually explain division incorrectly...and no one shows you how to subtract with addends. Nobody. Most base ten block use is limited to addition & subtraction (regrouping) and that's it.
Nobody is showing you how to teach trig to 8 year olds or calc and 3rd & 4th power algebra to ten year olds...
My website needs a lot of work and I basically lost a year trying to build the Kajabi site many lessons never saw the light of day because the threads weren't the pages never got published...all you got was the teacher training but I had several other stands like trig and algebra partially built. Oh well. Pretty much all of it is at the house of math NOW, just not in such a snazzy format and some of the vids are low quality because they were uploaded when I was having net problems...well I wasn't: the cable company was, but now it's all high speed. have to replace the low quality ones but first I have to replace or re-cut the screencasts that don't work at all anymore.
base ten blocks, combo kit, math blocks
Anyhow, I will work on the house of math this year and I think will come back online this year...also there are going to be some more Crewton Ramone in the kitchen vids...lots of stuff to do in the new year. Also many have asked for more "getting started guidance." More what to do first type stuff and then what to do after that...which is more concrete than "anything you want."
Also need to revamp and add to the parent/teacher training and add more elsewhere too. Even where it's at now, if you go through all the training I have up currently you will be head and shoulders above most elementary math teachers. That's not hyperbole. Experienced teachers have been amazed. I show you how to use the tools to get more done faster without pain and tears but with joy and laughter. As I have heard more than once, it's life changing.
base ten blocks,

DO not discount this blog and old blog posts, once you get some instruction or training you can see the method/theory in action here. There is information you won't/can't get anywhere else, like thisHere is a collection of vids showing a little history.

Here is a new MATH PDFs page for people who don't want to buy a password but still want PDFs
Also working on my book,  "How to teach Math o Young Children" (trying to bang out chapter 4)...and tutoring an interesting set of students this year. Nice to get these from password purchasing people:
"Thanks so much! I love your videos and materials and look forward to using them with my kids!
Best regards,
Anne-Marie Tan, Ph.D.
Certified Reading Specialist, K-12"

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Getting Started AMA1

base ten blocks, algebra, #littlekidsHere is an email exchange that is all too typical. Before we begin let me say none of the little girls pictured are his little girl and this is exactly the time to start teaching math concepts right along with language and motor skills development. But her ability to push a crayon around is not indicative of her ability to understand basic math concepts which, when you think about it are just vocabulary.

How many is three?

What is three anyway?

Well, one and another one and one more. Or two plus one...half of six, the square root of nine...there's a lot to know about three. And at that age it's fun to learn it with blocks with your mom and dad or one or the other. And this is the right attitude. Explore and discover together and you shall see in short order, a little child shall lead them. 

I will say again consciousness rising: there was a time that they had you believing you might have bad math genes.  This dad understands that he has an opportunity to break a cycle forever. Once you learn how to do this they can teach their own children. Kinda like riding a bicycle. This is the difference between rudimentary understanding via memorization, and knowing. Anyway I share this with you because it typifies a lot of mail I get but this one is exactly the right age...I hate it when I get mail like this but instead of three and a half it's 16...

Hi Crewton,

I have a 3.5 year old daughter.

My love of math was squashed when I was in the 5th grade and they introduced long division. I hated math in high school barely squeaked by Algebra and Geometry. I never took Calc or Trig but satisfied my last math requirements by taking "computer programming" classes.

So... here I am. Wanting to give a strong foundation for my daughter to LOVE math and have FUN with math and be GREAT at math.

And I think that learning how to teach Mortensens Math to my 3-year old would actually teach ME how to LOVE and have fund and be great at math as well!

I've looked around enough to believe that Mortensen's Math is the way to go.

And I've read enough great feedback about you on a number of forums, that I feel confident you have the tools, training, resources, etc.

I see that you are extremely generous with information on your website. However, (probably due to my previous bad association with math) I feel completely overwhelmed with the amount of information and seriously have no idea where to start.

Do you have a simple 1, 2, 3, A, B, C (buy this, DO this) recommendation for a math-phobic parent with a 3.5 year old?

Thank you!

Austin, TX

J.R. If it was Dallas it would have been too perfect. But anyway my heart particularly goes out to little girls because the deck is so stacked against them. And the concept of transference is very real your show math anxiety THEY show math anxiety except they don't know why. So play and have fun and learn together--with my help.  Hundreds have now come before you. Quite a few get tutoring and then very quickly see all they have to do is play blocks. The cool thing about this is it works for the gifted and talented kids because it's accelerated learning due to multi-sensory input. Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic...base ten blocks cover all the bases.

Getting Started AMA1  + New Year's Stealth Sale.


Unfortunately the warehouse is down for the holidays and you just missed our product sale.

Get a password. Start, ANYWHERE--you've got years. But the getting started page is a great place to begin then the EZ PZ Overview, once you get a password. From there Parent teacher training...

base ten blocks, fun math activitties
 45 addends, 400 multiplication facts.

There is a lot of free stuff currently...look through it. But just like learning a new language it will take years to get comfortable...right now play and have fun and put concepts and math facts in. For everything there is a season this is an important post to understand the opportunity you have to make a change.

Get my free subtraction book and there is a Holiday bonus gift attached (I sent him the curious counter compendium). You can get my password for $349.00 if you do it before New Years, NORMALLY I say take advantage of the free stuff but I'd say get a password now because a lot of pages are about to go behind paywalls, and a combo kit combo ($135.00) or a deluxe combo kit combo and you are in for under 500 bucks and it's an investment that will last a lifetime. I can't do anything about the product price or availability but I can offer you a deal on the passwords and training. (And quite a deal considering I charge $50.00 and hour and those trainings go 4 or 5 hours at a shot.) And you'll be able to get started as soon as your blocks come.
Combo kit, m10s, base ten blocks, math manipulatives
Deluxe CKC
And I can't give you the same deal I gave people for the Christmas sale, BUT get a password and I'll throw training 2x in for free...good till new years. That's a $100.00 in real savings.

Season's Greetings.

And if three or more sign up I'll send you all my division book FREE, even the life time members paid for that.  Also I should throw this in, it's like meeting the parents.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Chrsitmas 2016

Merry Christmas, Mele Kaliki Maka you guys is nutz, 500 people came to my blog yesterday and 507 people came to the House Of Math on Christmas Day! Of that only 332 were "new" that means 675 people had been to the house of math at leaste once and some of you mathaholics 10x or more. Playing math on Christmas-- I can not think of anything better than that: giving the gift of knowledge for Christmas. And I hope some of those 675 had fun and saw how magical math can be...when you see the wonder and they begin asking "what if" on their own. (They won't ask if you don't.) I also envision a few of those being because boxes of blocks got opened under the tree. Right now it's because parents want their kids to have them but one day kids are going to ASK for them...this was a dream of a man named Jerry Mortensen. Dreams can be contagious, and those are the worst and most dangerous ones.

I am famous among some students for saying math takes no holiday.  Yesterday I took one, starting with missing my flight Christmas then I took the Red Eye and got in at 6:30 AM, got to drive on an empty freeway at 95 MPH which to a Maui boy is a Christmas Present all in itself. I was doing 80 but kept getting passed like I was standing still so I kicked up to 95 just to keep even.

Sunrise out the airplane window at 30,000 feet.
Guess which City I'm in.

Pretty sure here was math involved.
I went to not one, but two Christmas dinners. Basically ate and drank and laughed continuously for 5 hours…got to drive at 95 again and then ate and drank and laughed and played with my old friend Ziggy the cat for 4 more…still not hungry today…view from 30th story flat in downtown LA.

You do math all the time when you calculate how long it will take you to get there...making adjustments for weather and traffic if you miscalculate and then try to make it up while driving in California you could end up here:
No too smoggy.

You do it automatically...switching between bases without thinking...11:55 plus 10 minutes is is 12:05 not 11:65...people who tell me they can't do math, while speaking it in English, that can tell time make me smile. They are simply victims of clever programming. If you can do ha you can do any of it, and by the way you learned to do that. There was a time when you couldn't tell time and you didn't care.  Very few believe me when I say that the reason the masses can't do math is very much on purpose and by design. Meantime they can't each their own kids rudimentary algebra; but don't feel bad neither can the teachers in public high schools who believe a certain percentage have to fail...they are programmed, too. The better to extract wealth from you. No one wants to hear this. Fine.

And I've watched the problem steadily increase for 27 years website just turned 8 so far it's cost me $2,400.00, in that 8 years I've received a little over 50 dollars in donations. LOL. But I do have a small, but loyal cadre of customers who have paid 100 bucks or more for passwords, YOU support this effort, and for that I thank you. Soon many pages that are currently free are going behind paywalls. Those with passwords won’t be affected, freeloaders are welcome to see if they can find what’s currently at Crewton Ramone's House of Math for free some place else.....when you do, come back and post it here or on Face Book, I enjoy watching other people teach math...speaking of that.

Here is a great website, Education Unboxed for users of cuisenaire rods beware though, people seem to have a little problem with division for example this video is the still the number one hit on youtube for division with base ten blocks...although she clearly doesn't know how to model the problem.  She does know how to divide up base ten blocks into this...I show you how to use base ten blocks to mirror the notation they get in school and show you why the problems are set up the way they are.  Across and up for multiplication across and down for division--but this book will show you how to put it together and make division easy.

Should be able to get quite a bit done this week...starting with fixing webpages and making stuff work again winter maintenance then password changes. Also in January I will be having One our live Q&A's/AMA's via google chat just look for the link. And on the 21st a live 4 to 5 hour training...those of you who got passwords during the sale ought come as part of your free gifts. Anybody, that bought anything is welcome at the Q&A's/AMA's Other's mark your calendar and come on the 21st for $50.00.  

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Trigonometery For Little Kids with base ten blocks.

In this pic we see our little man looking from 60° so we can figure out the relationships and put them on the table.
Quick lesson on Trig. This was maybe 15 minutes of an hour lesson where we practiced addends, algebra, multiplication, subtraction, division and more. If it was a little kid we would have drawn a generic triangle and talked about SOH CAH TOA. And that would have been it.  See: How To Teach Trig To Eight Year Olds.

This child was 10, so we did a little more. Talked about two special triangles and made a little trig table, NOTE we did not rationalize the denominators, that will be another lesson. Baby steps. Concept 5: no fun get back to one...
One concept at a time. Keep the cognitive load LOW. Right now most important is understanding what SIN means, which is simply the relationship between the opposite side and the hippopotamus...but you need to understand the what the opposite side means and that it depends on where you are. But look at it as vocabulary. SIN COS AND TAN are words that have meaning and are the basis (along with
Pythagorean theorem) of trigonometry.
We talked about Pythagorean theorem (one or more lessons in and of itself), the fact that the angles add up o 180 another lesson in and of itself and a great way to practice some subtraction...subtract from 100, 100.00 and then subtract from 90 and 90.00.

I hope you can see how after a little bit of practice figuring out angles, where we subtract from 90 you could easily segue into subtraction or algebra lessons x + 60 = opposed to dumping it all on them all at once and then going into the unit circle...sin = y and cos = x?? What? Just memorize SIN30° = .5

We talked about that too...if all I did was memorize SIN30° = .5  and didn't even know that meant the relationship between the opposite side and the hypotenuse was one to two, trig is going to be hard and NO FUN...and no fun. And if I play on the unit circle without even having been exposed to basic concepts the cognitive load is too high, not to mention they probably aren't even trying to teach to my learning style, and I get an "F" and then I have self esteem problems...and $35 bucks a month is too much. OK.
There are a leaste SIX separate lessons here...all of which can be EASILY understood by a six year old if you keep the numbers small while explaining the concepts. Get a password. For $35 bucks a month for 10 months you can have these lessons and more FOR LIFE and AVOID the tears that typically come with math when they are teens...most people wait until their kids are 13 or 14 or even 15 and 16 and confused instead of avoiding the problem in the first place. 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Be Careful With Worksheets (Reprise)

Be Careful With Worksheets otherwise you end up with kids like this:

That's my son, save yours from a similar fate. Take Crewton Ramone's teacher training and learn how to play math and make it fun for your kids.  Here are few comments off the new Kajabi site:

This was a low stress test--should have been fun and easy making 9's and 10's, he is showing classic test anxiety and stress ticks in his hands and neck it's all in his mind and attitude but you can see the effects are very physically real.

I actually went down to his school and told his teacher to STOP giving him worksheets. He's known how to make nines and tens since he was 4 or 5...oh look! Video proof:

But he had been literally stressed out with multiplication worksheets over and over and over again...btw he's known his multiplication tables out to 12 since he was 6 or 7 again I have it on video...we were working on 13 to 20 when we were interrupted.

Be careful with homework too.

Research Shows Homework Doesn’t Improve Academic Performance, 

It Makes It Worse

Especially if that homework is a drill for time math worksheet or yet another mind numbing multiplication worksheet.

Don't believe me? Do a search on Finnish Schools

"In the past decade, Finnish students have hit it out of the park. Their PISA scores in math, science and reading have been at, or very near, the top year after year, while the US has floundered near the middle and bottom. In 2000, the Finnish surprised everyone when their students placed first on the reading portion of the test. In the latest results released in 2010, Finland scored third in reading, sixth in math and second in science. The US trailed coming in at seventeenth in reading, twenty-third in science and thirty-first in math." ~We Are Teachers.

Timed tests will cause more of this for my son, pressure tests where he isn't fully prepared will be worse than that, he is now in a private college prep school.

And you wonder why Crewton Ramone is the alter ego of a pissed off math tutor; this is what they do to kids and this kid is my son. He did not come into the world this way and he did not always behave this way especially during math. We rarely used paper and pencil just blocks or a white board and STILL look at his face in the first does he looked stressed or like he's having fun racing his brother in this video? Then look at the first video...note his hands and how long it took him as compared to the younger boys who have yet to be damaged.

Don't worry though, they eventually got to the younger boy too...

Manipulatives to drawings to symbols.

Like language, it's important that the students hear the patterns as well as see any patterns before they write down the symbols. Multiplication is a great example of this idea. Long before students see a multiplication table or worksheet young students should be singing songs, using blocks and hearing the patterns that are associated with the various multiplication tables. Then when they are exposed to the symbols, they understand what they mean. They understand that three times three is written 3 x 3 and that it really is the same as nine. The equals sign and all the symbols are understood. If your children are playing with blocks they can see that nine is a square number and what that means. Nine really is square even though the symbol for nine has curves and a circle. 9. Look at it, it doesn't look very square, little kids and even some older kids can get caught up in the symbols instead of understanding the concepts and what the symbols represent.

Parents and teachers can use worksheets to reinforce math learning but they should be used sparingly to introduce new ideas, if at all. With manipulative based teaching we always start in the concrete with base ten blocks, then move to sketching then at last to the symbols. Since most worksheets are symbol based, it's only natural that they should be used last not first. Concept based teaching techniques emphasize understanding the concepts long before students see the symbols. In fact, a lot of little kids can start getting complex math concepts well before they can write complex symbols, however understand for everything there is a season the best time to introduce large numbers of math facts is early on according to their ability to generate brainwaves in particular ranges at particular ages. In the early years they are in "download mode." So large numbers of facts can be downloaded and when I say facts I don't just mean math facts. When have finally figured out early is better when teaching languages and rather than being confused they switch between languages easily. Also as an aside if you have various base en block sets in different colors he kids will switch between blocks easily, it's he parents ha get confused and often pass it on to the kids but left to their own devices they know what a three looks like with Mortensen Blocks as compared to Cuisenaire rods...the nine is blue with one teal with the other, occasionally autistic kids or other learning challenged kids can have problems but not as often as you might think. If it is a problem, stick with one or the other but years of experience tells me the parents have a much harder time than most "normal" students. You will find this in teacher training and linked in many places, a post called house for a duck explains this a little more in depth than I need to go into it here.

Think of like an Ipod, you come in clean slate and down load for about 12 years or so and then you begin playing he songs. In other words first you "download" the info and store it, THEN you use that information. First you get the thoughts or ideas then you think about those thoughts or ideas. First you acquire those thoughts and beliefs then you create a life based on those thoughts and beliefs. First you acquire he programs then you run the programs. First you acquire the math facts and formulas then you apply the math facts and formulas. First knowledge then application. My focus is on helping you help your students with step one: making 45 addends and 400 multiplication facts available for instant recall in a FUN way, NOT drill hardship and stress that leads to what you see in the first video up there.

Here is a page of testimonials.

Using math worksheets 

to introduce math concepts is literally teaching backwards.


First Grade Math Worksheets should be introduced after quite a bit of playing has been done. That way the worksheet is just practice that allows you to see how well they understand the math concepts you are teaching. They can be used for drills but using drills at an early age has unintended consequences, you don't want to turn them off at an early age and excessive drills will do just that eventually. The worksheets should be easy to begin with and then become more challenging as the student's confidence builds. They should be thought of as practice instead of as tests or drills or something to be fretted over. Some students develop math anxiety at an young age and worse test anxiety AS YOU CAN PLAINLY SEE. Of course formally educated teachers with degrees from American universities are ever so much smarter than I am and we have the Post Traumatic Math Disorder in many, many students to prove it.

If the child firmly grasps the concepts any math worksheet should be simple or at worst “challenging.” If children don't have the writing skills required you can actually do the writing for them. Be sure THEY tell you what to write, you are not doing it for them just writing the symbols. This is more for parents or home schoolers because teachers in school will find this impossible unless the number of children is very small in their classroom and we all know they rarely are.

Often times it's a good idea to play with the concepts for several days and then give the worksheet on Thursday. If the students don't complete it they can take it home and/or they can finish it off on Friday. If you are homeschooling or just giving your child a head start, be sure you play for a couple of days at leaste before you get out a worksheet. With first graders you can often use the same or very similar worksheets every few months and it will be "new" again. This is normal it takes quite a few impressions to get information into the long term memory. Many teachers lament that after Summer Vacation or even Christmas or Spring Break their students don't remember most of what they have been taught. FEAR NOT. It's not about storage hat capacity is unlimited it about retrieval. It's still “in there” and this is a great time to bring it out with a practice sheet on material they are already familiar also can give you a gauge on what you should play next. This is education. Edu cate: "to draw forth" not "to cram in."

Worksheets are great for reinforcement, and great teaching tools when used properly. I have quite a few worksheets but I don't make them easy to find or get to on purpose because to many will go there first and use them incorrectly. Dig around my site there are lots of FREE ones and then there is a collection of them here but you need a password and some training.

These were the worksheets we were playing with in the first video...basically you make nines and tens. If done right playfully, your kids will be able to make change faster than a cash register...if done incorrectly you get what you see in video one. CHOOSE. My sons went to public school against my will BTW.

Using the Making Change Worksheets. (Be sure you have the latest JAVA update to view.)

Practice and fun will make it easy to do calculations in their head, no pencil no paper. Automatic.

Now that you have been well admonished:

at Crewton Ramone's House of Math. More free worksheets and books coming soon. Maybe get a lifetime password while you can still make 10 easy payments of $35.00 and be in for life. The trig page alone is worth tha...

PS Yes it is infuriating that this happened to my own sons, but I think their sons will not be subject to same and later in life like me they will know first hand of which they speak should they decide to pick up this torch and carry it further...or maybe they'll just be singers or play drums. Happy more important than mathy.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Problem Solving With Hero Zero.

solving equations, manipulatives,

Here is a short video that might change the way you look at equations and your understanding of the equals sign. =

This symbols never lies.  = means same. Here is what many consider a novel approach to problem solving. Hero zero makes an appearance and over time problem solving this way will be second nature. You job is to get them to understand equals means SAME and introduce the concept of hero zero and sometimes same is NOT visually obvious and we have to get help from our hero zero.

In the problem 5x + 16 = 4x +12 we are going to end up with NOTHING on one side. We have a symbol for nothing ZERO.

We start off with a low degree of difficulty like this:

3x + 2 = 2x + 6


5x + 16 = 4x +12


2x - 3 = x + 5

a few more and these kinds of problems won't be scary at all.

Find out more about the best ways to use your base ten blocks at Crewton Ramone's house of math.

Get my book on subtraction, Crewton Ramone's Supremely Simple Subtraction it also covers the basics of this kind of problem solving. These concepts can be taught to and understood by even very young students. Hopefully you begin to see how it all goes together...check out this what's under the cup video and you can see problem solving introduced in the most basic way with what's under the cup. When we bust out hero zero we have moved down the road a little. But 5 + x = 10 and 8 + x = 10 and 3 + x = 8 are great ways to start with the CONCEPT of making same and then finding same on both sides is a natural progression. Moving from whats under the cup to seeing 8 + x = 10 = 8 + 2 therefore x must be two is just another more complicated way of playing what's under the cup, but to kids who have played what's under the cup at an early age the symbols make sense because they have SEEN what the symbols represent from an early age.

"Sometimes it is useful to know how large your zero is." ~Anon

"The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings." ~Eric Hoffer, Reflections On The Human Condition