Kindergarten is a time when most students are getting introduced to the idea of formal education. It sets the foundation for further learning. This includes building the students’ foundation for math. Teaching kindergarten math involves focusing on the basics while piquing their curiosity and allowing their love of learning to blossom. As such, here are some tips to consider when teaching kindergarten math.
Plan Concrete Math Lessons
For 5-year-old students, math can be an abstract concept. When you’re explaining things, they will have a hard time understanding what you’re saying if they can’t see it and hold it. So what should you do?
Bring math to life! Allow students to use manipulatives, blocks, counters, Popsicle sticks, dry beans, or whatever else you have on hand. Use these objects to help students physically practice counting, adding, subtracting, and figuring out math problems.
Take the Time
For most students, math concepts won’t be learned and understood after one lesson. It’s going to take some time and practice. Start with shorter lessons with structured activities. Then, you can slowly expand on the concept from there.
Find Real-World Applications
High school students are notorious for asking questions like “when are we going to use this in the real world?” Although your kindergartners probably won’t ask this, they want and need to make connections to the real world. Talk to them about why math is important to them. How can counting help them at the grocery store with dad or mom? How could adding help them clean their room? Give them the math vocabulary they need and show them how to use it outside of the classroom.
Group work is great when teaching math concepts. It gives students the opportunity to learn from other students. It also allows you to work one-on-one with students or with smaller groups for guided math activities. Don’t forget to change groups regularly, so students get a chance to work with and learn from different students in the classroom.
Your kindergartners are already learning to think for themselves. They’re figuring out their own strategies to solve problems. Rather than telling students the answers, ask questions and wait to see how they’ll figure it out on their own. For example, I had a friend who loved to ask her kindergarten students questions like “Why does 5+4=9?” Her students would spend time thinking this through to figure out how addition works all on their own.
Make Math Fun
Above all else, help your students learn to love math. Show them how it can be fun. Look for lessons that your students will enjoy, so they’ll be excited for math time. Whether you’re teaching about shapes, measurements, number values, or a different number concept, find lessons that will resonate with your students and get them excited to learn.
Math isn’t everybody’s favorite subject. But for your kindergartners, it can definitely be a time that they enjoy in class. Help them figure out these concepts and develop a foundation for future learning. Then, even if math isn’t their favorite subject, it can still be something they enjoy doing and feel confident in their abilities.