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...

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.


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  2. These math worksheets are very helpful for pupils to practice mathematics. Most children are very lazy with regards to studying math but with practicing it with actual worksheets, they will learn easily.