While the teacher talked at the front of the room and wrote on the board, I felt dizzy. I saw numbers and symbols. I did not have the internal meaning of what the math was about at all! This gave me and math a tough relationship for years. Even as I battled again through college and into adulthood. I decided it just wasn’t my thing. I learned the “hacks” to get what I needed to do done and just move on from it. My main goal wasn’t to internalize it, but to get it over with and just put it behind me. You know what though? It never just went away. Math always comes back and still continues to be apart of my life every day. When I became a teacher, I was introduced to Eureka Math. I was now approaching math from a different perspective, and I dug right in. I want to know every way to teach my students math in a productive way. I want my students to know how to let math help them in their life. I never want my students to feel as anxious and stressed out about math the way I always did in school. I relearned math for myself this way! I learned how to make meaning of concepts. I had to break my old bad math habits and build myself a new strategy repertoire. I can honestly say today…I LOVE MATH! Using Eureka Math to teach my students has let me start all over again. I have internalized more logical ways of preforming math. I EVEN have a strong abstract math concept now! I am happy for my students now. I have the tools and knowledge that I need to make math meaningful for them and make sense! Here is why Eureka Math is so different than traditional math training. This program immerses students with a very in depth understanding of what math concepts are in a concrete and pictorial way BEFORE ever introducing math abstractly. Abstract math relies on symbols and digits as a language. Students have to be ready to relate concrete and pictorial understanding of math to be successful with this new math language. For example, when Eureka Math teaches story problems. It teaches students how to connect their models to an equation each and every time they solve. When they are solving story problems, they draw the model or number bond, then write the equation. They are making connections as to what the equation means. They are making meaning of the written language of the story problem, the pictorial model of showing what is needed to solve, and then finally the abstract portion, the equation! Eureka Math then pushes forward with the abstract thinking into more challenging concepts. Again, when students are ready. As students move into adding and subtracting with regrouping, they rely heavily on the place value chart and base ten blocks at first. Students are bundling tens and moving them to the next place value. Picture models are used until the student has internalized what the concept of regrouping is before moving to the algorithm. This is an awesome transition too! I listen to the kids verbally explain about trading in ones for a ten and tens for a hundred, while they point to their models. Then they write the equations. Students do not attempt to make blind regrouping moves in algorithms by crossing out numbers, writing new numbers on the top, and then looking up to me for approval like….did I do it right? After this concrete and pictorial immersion with regrouping, they are able to compute abstractly, they explain their thinking in a meaningful way.
Remember that fact fluency? Yes, students also build a strong sense of fact fluency. They work through the algorithm of abstract thinking using strong number sense concepts. Then they rely on their fact fluency to calculate with ease.
When my students explain their abstract solving to me. I am truly amazed. These mathematicians are abstractly solving equations, explaining their thinking, and showing the why in their work. They feel so confident and truly enjoy math. They have no idea how far ahead of their dear old teacher they are at their age. Eureka Math has ended the scary math era. The future is bright for our world! I am so thankful to provide my students a firm math foundation with true meaning. They continue to amaze me and teach me new things each day.
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