What does this look like in Kindergarten?

I am well versed and trained in Singapore Math, specifically bar modeling. To the point where I give PD on it. However it's usually with late primary to intermediate elementary age kids. I ALWAYS get pushback from kindergarten teachers. I'm giving a presentation this Friday and there are several kindergarten teachers set to be there. I would appreciated any information/advice for k teachers.

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Feb 16, 2017
Focus on the Basics in Kindergarten
by: Zach

For kindergarten kids, the teachers should focus teaching the basics. The cornerstone of Singapore Math is the C-P-A Approach (Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract Approach). Use a lot of concrete materials as teaching aids to help a child visualise. And when the child is ready, move on to the pictorial stage where concrete objects are replaced by 2D (2-dimensional) pictures, and subsequently by bar models to show addition and subtraction, for example. Eventually the child will be ready to move on to the abstract stage of adding or subtracting without drawing bar models.

In addition, for our Singapore kindergarten kids, we do a lot of number bonds training to get them to be able to do mental sums quickly. E.g. the numbers bonds of 10 is 0 and 10, 1 and 9, 2 and 8, 3 and 7.........and so on. Help the kids master the number bonds at kindergarten by using lots of different concrete objects for them to manipulate so that learning becomes fun and they will remember the number bonds easily.

Of course, some kindergarten teachers might argue with us elementary teachers that sometimes the questions might be so simple that it is counter-productive to use bar models. I would agree to that too (and not going to get into a debate with them) because the smarter kids are able to comprehend abstract ideas and mathematical concepts at a much earlier age that their slower peers. My response to such teachers will always be "If a kid is smart, no matter what method, what technique, what strategies you use to teach them, they will get it. The bar models will, however, be extremely useful to average and slower learners who more often than not respond better and learn better with pictorial cues such as the bar models." Bar models are but a means to an end. We use them to supplement our teaching where we think it helps the child understand better.

However, there are times where the question might be so difficult that solving them using bar models is a lot easier than our conventional math, e.g. algebra, equations, etc. In such cases, sometimes the smarter kids might also find the Model Method very useful.

Hope that helps. I wish you a fruitful presentation on Friday.

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