Making the songs even more powerful

A quick post on a much larger topic, that I’ve been meaning to write about for a while.  However, about to start term 5 on a PGCE, I don’t find myself with much free time at the moment…

Having immersed myself in writings from inspirational maths educators (Gattegno, Goutard, Boaler…) I want to critique the songs on this site.  My worry is that they promote the view of maths as a series of tricks and facts to learn by rote, rather than to deeply understand.  Do the songs really help children comprehend what multiplication means, or do they just help children learn a set of syllables?  I think there is a way to make these songs really powerful tools for teaching maths concepts, and that is by filming music videos containing visual images of multiplication.

The inspirational maths education professor Jo Boaler has a great website where she posts some research papers and lots of ideas for activities.  To give you an idea of what I mean, have a look at her Math Cards activity – this helps children learn their times tables using a wide variety of visual images.  If I had time I would plan some lessons, or a club, for children to come up with their own images and patterns using anything they could find (equipment around the school, shoes, toys, themselves…) and record them as a music video.  On one of my placements in a year 2 class the children drew and built their own images, and created their own matching card game – it seemed to really help them understand the idea behind multiplication.

If anyone has any thoughts, or wants to just go ahead and try something like this out, please get in contact.  I’d love to link up with like-minded people.


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