Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Learning is Uncomfortable

As far as I'm concerned, Greg Tang is a math genius.  I don't know that he actually qualifies for genius status, but if he doesn't, then he should.

A few years ago I went to a Greg Tang conference.  It was fabulous and I felt so dumb.  He was playing with numbers and doing all sorts of mental math.  It's not that I'm not a math person.  I can do it, I'm not bad at it, and I love teaching it; but it's not how my brain naturally thinks.  In fact, after going to his conference, I have worked hard to re-train my brain and how I understand numbers.

The conference taught me that most of us were taught to count by ones.  In fact, we still teach students to do that.  The way he presented it, grouping numbers makes more sense and makes numbers easier to understand.  I have to consciously make myself do it.  It's hard work for me...but not for everyone.  Some people do it naturally.  Lucky ducks.

His books are fabulous, but Kakooma is one of my favorite Greg Tang games to play.  I use it for students who know their multiplication facts, but I want them faster.  Even if they are fast, I want them faster.  I challenge them to beat me (I'm quick!). 

Many try, few succeed.

Kakooma makes them faster and has levels for those students who need a real challenge.  Plus they can compete against themselves on the computer or app.  I also really like Expresso, which is similar to the Crypo Challenge game I have made {here}, except his numbers are already in order and you just add operations. 

I'm linking up with Tales from Outside the Classroom {Wednesday Website} to share his website {here} and something that totally made my day.

I finally broke down and was going to go ahead and pay for the subscription so that I could get all the printables (and Scholastic points) and sign my kids up to play during our small group time.  I went to the website with my credit card in hand and couldn't find it at all!  Panic!  The whole webpage was format, not as colorful...I wasn't sure what was going on.  Maybe this happened awhile ago, but I just discovered it.  After I snooped around, I found all the printables I was hoping to pay for are now on the website {FOR FREE}.  Score! 

Check it out if you haven't already.  And if you have, go get some free stuff before they realize it's available for free to everyone (It's on purpose, but hurry anyway!). 

I was uncomfortable for most of the conference just because I felt like I couldn't work fast enough.  However, I learned more about my teaching and my learning in that one day and I still keep it in mind a few years later.  It was a success!  If you get a chance, go see him!

It reminds me of something that one of my professors told me when I was working on my masters:
"Learning is uncomfortable.  If you aren't uncomfortable, you aren't learning."

So true.

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  1. Thanks for sharing this AWESOME website! I am going to share this post on my FB page :)

    I {Heart} Recess

  2. I will have to pass that on to our math teachers. Thanks for sharing.

    room 4 imagination

  3. I had gotten an email from him that he made it free but I really didn't have a lot of time to explore the site. I kinda forgot about it. Thanks for the reminder and thanks for linking up!

    Tales from Outside the Classroom

  4. Just discovered your blog via I (Heart) Recess. Am soooo in love with your original blog design; love those ancient tomes! I have a box full of older editions, all 50-100 years old. And am about to go and check out Greg Tang's site. I am excited! Thank you!