The Untold Challenge of Teaching 6th Grade Math

 

It is rare to find a Primary teacher with a mathematics background. Usually, Primary teachers are far stronger in the Humanities (Liberal Arts), than Maths and Science.

It is for this reason that many opt not to teach 6th Grade math. By that stage, the concepts are too challenging for them to explain (that is if they can solve them at all). It is not uncommon for brilliant teachers to request never to be placed in a 6th Grade classroom, specifically due to the overwhelming nature of the math curriculum.

But there is a hidden challenge in being a 6th Grade maths teacher. One that doesn’t get nearly as much recognition and affects even the most confident of maths teachers.

What do you do with kids who simply don’t get concepts he or she have been taught every single year along the way, with no success?

How do you teach equivalent fractions to a child that’s already had it well explained, has already been shown it on a Fraction Wall and has already been exposed to manipulatives?

The same goes with telling time. If a child doesn’t know how to read an analogue clock by Grade 6, it isn’t because teachers haven’t practised skip counting by 5 and described the function of the minute and hour hand.

In fact, it is very unlikely that the teachers along the way have erred in their explanations. So going into the year thinking your explanation is going to be so much more effective than the previous ones is perhaps a touch conceited.

Some may just settle for explaining the concept once more in the hope that another shot maybe all the child needs to become successful. And if it doesn’t work – “Well, at least I tried.”

I believe one is compelled to find a new and fresh, sometimes even unorthodox way of teaching the material. There needs to be a completely different style of imparting the skill in order to break the gridlock. An outlandish game or activity can sometimes do the trick.

Of course, this is easier said than done.

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

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