Volume 3 Number 1

Harry & Rosemary Wong say, "All effective schools have a culture and it is the information one gets from a culture that sends a message to the students that they will be productive and successful." This month the Wongs offer more examples of successful school and classroom management...
Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
Online Classrooms by Leslie Bowman
The Eclectic Teacher by Ginny Hoover
The Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators) by Marjan Glavac
Around the Block by Cheryl Ristow
Ask the Literacy Teacher by Leigh Hall
The Visually Impaired Child
Teaching Is...
Avoiding the 'Stares' When Intellectually Challenging Disadvantaged Students: Partnership Lessons from the HOTS Program
Why Use an Interactive Whiteboard?
A Bakerís Dozen Reasons!
The Effects Of Diet
Bully Advice For Kids
Teaching Gayle to Read (Part 2)
Both Sides Now in Gifted Education
What Are We Aiming At--What Do We Really Want To Aim At?
Teaching Graph from the Grassroots
Why Teachers Need Tenure
A Different Perspective to the Holidays
A Lesson Learned
Follow The Wonder
The Lighter Side of Teaching
Handy Teacher Recipes
Classroom Crafts
Help Wanted - Teaching Jobs
New in the Lesson Bank
Upcoming Ed Conferences
Letters to the Editor
Chatboard Poll
eIditarod 2002
Planetary Society Protests Stop to Near-Earth Object Observations
Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
7th Annual Multidisciplinary Symposium on Breast Disease
Arab American Students in Public Schools
School Bus Subsidies for Field Trip to 2002 Tour De Sol
Gazette Home Delivery:

About P R Guruuprasad...

P R was born in a bilingual parentage in 1951. Although his father was a science teacher and headmaster of government higher secondary schools in Tamilnadu, his mother taught him all subjects viz. English, Tamil, Hindi, Maths, Science up to his high school level. She did this by making use of household items as teaching aids, "I would not have known that a kitchen is the most wonderful laboratory otherwise." After completing his first class BSc Degree with Physics as major subject followed by BEd degree from the Univ. of Madras, he entered teaching. He taught English, Maths, Science, Physics and Chemistry in schools in India, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Botswana and South Africa. His spare time interests continue to be reading, watching TV, browsing the educational Net, photography, music (softrock, classical and country music), sci-fi films (some of which he has used in his teaching), dxing (he used to contribute to a British monthly Short Wave Magazine for a few years in the 80s when he had more free time. He enjoys travelling, modern art and any melodious music.

P R works as Education Officer in Macmillan India Limited. His career responsibilities include conducting teacher development workshops in Science and Maths, offering editorial assistance and developing curricular support materials. His areas of interests are: Activity Based Approach in Maths and Science in the Primary and Middle School Classroom, Problem Based Learning at the Senior School Science Classroom and Computers in Educational Administration. He has a particular interest in developing curricular materials which can take textbook concepts to the children's day to day world, thereby toning up their 'concept application' skills. He firmly believes that Activity Based Approaches help children and teachers (sometimes even the parents back home) not only pedagogically but also psychologically.

Teacher Feature...

Teaching Graph from the Grassroots

by P R Guruuprasad

Mathematics is generally felt to be a difficult school subject in South Asia. The center of gravity of the problem lies in the teaching learning interaction within the classroom.

An important objective of teaching the concept is to enable the children to acquire the skill of reading and plotting points. This article describes a method that I had devised to introduce one of the most useful middle school concepts, 'Graph' to my class nearly 15 years back. I had used the whole class approach at the introductory phase as follows:

Phase I:

I projected an A4 size transparency containing a dot as shown in fig.1 on the OHP screen. After a few seconds, the following question-answer session ensued ['Teacher' represents me]:

    Teacher: Where is the dot in the fig.?
    Pupils: Somewhere at the top left hand corner, sir.

    Teacher: Fine, you said that the dot is somewhere at the top left hand corner...is it a very accurate way of locating the dot?
    Pupils: No sir.

    Teacher: Can you think of any method in which you can locate the dot in a more accurate manner?
    [A few minutes silence]

    Teacher: Okay, let us see whether we can try some other technique.

Phase II:

Now I placed a transparency with a grid as shown in fig.2 over the earlier one and began the following question-answer session:

[Grid not drawn to scale].

    Teacher: Where is the dot now?
    [I would prefer calling my interaction with children as 'question-answer' session to 'discussion' as it is more structured].

    Many pupils seemed to be baffled immediately after this question from me; hence, to ease their discomfort, I decided to just show them a page from their Atlas, which they would have used in their Geography lessons to locate places; once I did this, pupils caught the idea [Eureka!].

    Teacher: Well, tell me, where is our dot, now?
    Pupils: In the box B3, sir.

    Teacher: Well done, children.

    The above method was repeated for several points (one point for each pupil) located in the grid; my children were thoroughly excited to discover that maths too can be fun!

Phase III:

I placed a transparency as shown in fig.3 and guided the children through similar structured questioning to plot points in the grid. In this phase I had assigned +ve and -ve signs for obvious reasons. As I did this, I had tried to enable children appreciate that this type of locating points is 'just' one step further. I think that this gave them some confidence and led to self esteem [though indirectly]. [Most often children dread maths because 'relationship' aspects are not given importance in classroom interactional processes].

(click the image to see a larger view)

[Grid not drawn to scale].

Once the children were familiar with locating points in a fun way, I was able to introduce Graph as laid down in the syllabus, with much ease, as after all, what I needed was to convince them that graphs are 'just' one step more than just the above phases, viz. using two axes [x and y] instead of numbers and alphabets for the two directions. The rest of my story is obvious.

Most important advantages of the above approach is that 'children' run the show and that the process begins from something interesting and fun.


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