It took a while to decide to make a post about my tutoring session, but here it is. So I have stared working in late September, beginning of October as a consultant for a company that does private tutoring. It is a nice local Social Enterprise which does group tutoring, but also private sessions for different subjects and, obviously, I am doing mathematics (I could also do physics, but I prefer maths way more). So far I am doing a mix of age groups which is really exciting and fun for me. Before my 1st week I was incredibly stressed, but now I enjoy going to the sessions and I love preparing work and homework for the kids. Today, I wanted to talk with you about my youngest tutee (I will call her Carla, just for the purpose of this post).
When I 1st started with her I felt really bad because she is just 8 years old, and I was scared that I wouldn’t have things to do with her. But I was sooo wrong, cause now this is my favorite and fun session of all. (By the way, let we know if you agree with tutoring sessions starting from such an early age.) Her parents had some small problems with the fact Carla had problems with multiplication tables. It took me a while to find a way to make her remember it , or understand how she can use it in real life. And we, together, came with the following exercise: Shopping.
1. Carla would chose an event for which she wanted to go shopping. (Most of the time was a birthday party, or a dinner party, or a party of any other type… )
2. We would spend some time considering what things need to be bought, and how many of each type. (For example we could have 3 chocolates and 4 books; or any other thing that made sense with the theme)
3. I would put prices for the things we wanted to buy (as close to the real ones as possible, but I omitted big numbers, and I stayed with whole numbers).
4. We would also agree on a budget for the shopping (because this is how a responsible girl should do).
5. And now comes the interesting part, the questioning part: Does Carla have enough money to buy all the things? What products should she not buy (due to the fact that they are to expensive, to many, or not necessary)? As you can observe, answering these question imply all the operations: multiplication (I have put more accent on this one, so I have never let her do addition instead), addition, subtraction and division (just in really small cases). But more importantly, we also used approximation so that she could gain this number feeling. We also played with partitioning and more. Basically the sky is the limit here.
So, we would play this game from time to time, to include the multiplication time tables as Carla was learning them. Also, I tried to do as many exercises with decomposing numbers and partitioning as possible.
In the last 3 sessions I started doing another exercise: Creating a Game. Do not think of something incredible hard, we have just done board games. But the fun thing is that we need to put maths obstacles. I always let Carla do chose this ones, but I also want to put things like: ‘Ask me a question’. And now comes the wonderful thing that happened last week, but first of all I need to tell you that she knows only 2,3,4,5 and 10 times tables. Last week, she needed to ‘Ask me a question’ and because I was in front, she wanted to ask me something extremely hard and asked “What is 9×9?” I was sure she didn’t know the answer and said “83”, but she told in a second ” You are wrong because 9×10 = 90 and 90-9=81, so 9×9=81″. I was so extremely happy and I felt like I have done the most wonderful thing ever, though Carla was the genius and not me. But I felt incredibly proud of what she has done. And after this (obviously she has won the game), we started the 9 times table.
I hope you enjoyed my story, and let me know if you would like to know more. Also, I could share with you some of the other exercising I am doing with her or other students.