America’s Math Teacher Richard Garcia: “Just Teach Students How To Count And They Will Say ‘Math Is Easy’.”
“America’s math teacher” Richard Garcia took a special education class of 3rd graders that initially struggled with basic math skills and after five months of instruction they outscored every classroom at their level in the school district.
Not only did Mr. Garcia coach these 3rd grade kids to successfully do 4th and 5th grade work, but the kids looked forward to upcoming tests and when confronted with a new math problem they would commonly reply: “This is easy.” Mr. Garcia would say to these kids: “No, it is not easy, you just know it now.”
Richard Garcia says a problem with math teaching today is that kids might come up with the right answer but not understand how to actually do math.
The conventional approach is to teach kids to memorize all 155 addition and subtraction combinations. These are called math facts. By third grade students are expected to memorize 467 facts – 100 addition facts, 55 subtraction facts, 156 multiplication facts and 156 division facts. Many students simply have difficulty remembering all of them, it says in Mr. Garcia’s workbook.
Mr. Garcia says most students can succeed in basic math at proficiency levels once they learn how to solve math problems with basic counting skills.
Initially I had difficulty understanding what Mr. Garcia meant by teaching kids how to count. Can’t they count on their fingers?
I read the first 17 pages of his math workbook for teachers and then I understood. Kids see the number 4 and are confused by what it means. Students must learn the difference between what is concrete and what is abstract. The numeral 4 is an abstract for •••• dots, or ‡‡‡‡ objects, or $$$$ dollars.
Students are asked to write down the number 4 after Mr. Garcia writes it.
Then Mr. Garcia places four dots next to the number 4 •••• and as he does that he asks them to orally count the dots he is placing beside the number 4 and count alongto 4. Then he asks them to repeat what he did and put dots next to the numeral 4 on their paper and count them.
At each teaching point Mr. Garcia asks students in his classroom to echo what they are learning by repeating it out loud.
I began to understand. Underperforming kids simply may not know how to count.
Now the kids in Mr. Garcia’s classroom learn addition by jotting down the following:
+ 5 •••••
They are learning to count – the most basic element of math that teachers presume these kids know how to do.
As I read through the first pages of Mr. Garcia’s workbook I began to realize much of the problem in learning math has to do with the teaching, not the student.
True, a lot of other kids pick up math facts and whiz through them. But do those kids really know how to solve math problems or just memorize answers? Ask them to calculate how many miles a man walked after 2 hours walking at 4 miles an hour? That is a lot different than coming up with the answer to 2 times 4 = 8.
Another difficult concept for students is regrouping, when we have two numbers like 7 and 6 and have to carry the 1 over to the next column. This is a big step for students, says Mr. Garcia. The problem is, the teaching is incorrect. Mr. Garcia showed me why. Here is how he demonstrates this.
7 : : : .6 :::
+ 6 : : : 7 : : : .
We are asking students to “carry the one” to the next column when it is actually a “ten.”
A 14-year special education teacher, Richard Garcia’s $30 workbook chocked full of strategies to teach students who face challenges solving basic math problems is more than worth its price.
Better yet, invite Mr. Garcia into your classroom or home school and let him privately teach your student(s) by watching his one-on-one video math lessons. His first 8 lessons are now available for viewing in your home or classroom.
To learn more contact BASIC MATH SOLUTIONS by calling 000 000-0000 or on the internet at BASICMATHSOLUTIONS.com
My 9-year old son is currently being tutored by Mr. Garcia and has even begun exercises in basic algebra. Prior to that he had burned out two different math tutors who resigned in their own frustration.
I’m told America’s kids don’t do so well in math. Well, maybe now “America’s math teacher, Richard Garcia” is going to be the difference for your student and millions of others. Just wait till you see his first lesson on how to do multiplication. ####