The Psychology of
"Math is fun when you know the answers."
Nothing has the power to destroy a
child's self-confidence and love of learning like arithmetic. It
demands a steady stream of answers that are either right or they are wrong.
You either know it or you don't. Failure is a constant worry for
some children. Guessing causes many mistakes and much frustration.
Strategies to figure out the answers drain away the joy because they
require so much hard work.
Grandma's Magical Math helps students develop healthy attitudes
about math, about themselves and other people.
Children are shown how to
do arithmetic problems correctly. Then they are given the
opportunity to practice getting the right answers. They practice
Students "play with" the
coat hanger and clothespins abacus and see for themselves that the addend
partners in the pictures are correct. They practice
In a relaxed kindergarten or
first grade setting, using "Beat the Clock" workbook pages, students are taught how to
do "timed" practice papers just for fun. The teacher pretends to time
them, adjusting the
"timing" to the speed of the class. This helps students improve
their speed gradually. The children practice doing math quickly.
They practice taking timed tests calmly.
The whole class moves
together through Grandma's Magical Math. If at all possible, they
stay on one picture until everyone has "got it". They practice unity
- being part of the group progressing together as a team.
cooperative. Winning is purely by chance. Competition defeats
learning for some students, who simply give up because they can never
win. But cooperation always encourages learning. Features to
eliminate friction between students are woven into the games. They
practice working together peacefully.
Students take turns holding
the pointer, and point to the numbers on the posters as the class
sings. In preparation to present "Show and Tell" pages at home,
students practice as partners, quietly singing the songs
and pointing with fingers to the pictures in the workbook. They
practice successfully performing for others.
Parents and other care
givers are included in the lessons with take home pages. Students
practice communicating new ideas to the most important people in their
There is ample opportunity,
both at home and at school,
for each student to receive the praise he or she has earned for a job well
done. This builds confidence in his or her ability to learn and a
desire to learn more.
Stages of Learning
Students look at the pictures to find the
Students look at pictures only when not
completely sure of the answers.
Students no longer look at the pictures, but
think of them as needed.
Students remember the numbers without even
thinking of the pictures.
This takes practice. Use of the workbooks is essential to
arrive at Stage 4, where memorization is permanent.