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Friday, January 8, 2016

Math will be fun for second graders in Madison workshops

Written by Madison Eagle

MADISON – Members of the Madison Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) are organizing a workshop series for second graders, “Let’s Read Math,” from 10 to 11:45 a.m. this Saturday, Jan. 9, and Saturday, Jan. 23, in the Chase Room of the Madison Public Library at 39 Keep St.

The series is designed to make math fun, and the math concepts are appropriate for second grade students.

The AAUW can accept only 15 participants for each session. Registration is required and is on a “first-come” basis. To sign up, call (973) 455-0427.

The registration fee for the workshop is $10 in advance for both sessions. Each session will feature a different story from children’s books and cover different mathematical concepts related to those stories, appropriate for second graders. Checks should be made payable to: “AAUW Madison Branch,” and mailed to P.O. Box 935, Madison, N.J. 07940-0935. For information, call (973) 455-0427 or (973) 377-5220.

“How many times have you heard the comment: ‘Everybody knows that children who are read to, become better readers.’ But when it comes to math, many parents are stumped to ‘doing math’ with their kids, especially now when math is taught differently than the way they learned it,” observed Beth Krawczuk, co-president of the Madison Branch of the AAUW and chairperson of its Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Committee.

“The fact is that we actually do math all the time, often without realizing it,” Krawczuk said. “Think about it: How do you figure out how much pizza to order, or pay for it, or even divide it among the kids? Can you do any of these things without math? So, if math is so important what can we do to make math more fun? Our approach is to have a good time reading children’s books, and then doing fun math activities related to the books.”

Claire Passantino, who holds a doctoral degree from Rutgers University in elementary education with a mathematics education specialty, developed the “Let’s Read Math” materials with the help of colleagues who are elementary mathematics educators. The math topics are drawn from national and state standards for teaching and learning mathematics. Passatino’s approach to out-of-classroom math education began as a project for the AAUW.

“We believe that children’s mathematics learning is enhanced by connecting the reading of children’s books to real-life experiences, to drawing and writing, using ‘hands-on’ manipulation and models, and sharing ideas with others through listening and speaking,” Krawczuk explained. “We work with parents, grandparents or other caretakers and children together, combining reading and math with fun ‘hands-on’ creative activities.”

The January workshops will be conducted by members of the Madison Branch of the AAUW, many of whom are retired teachers themselves.

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