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Master's Thesis (Action Research Report)

Mathematical Literacy: The Effects of Mathematics Journals on Student Understanding of Fractions in a Montessori Classroom

Available from: St. Catherine University

Action research, Upper elementary

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Abstract/Notes: It is a typical Monday morning. As students enter the classroom wearing brightly colored polo shirts embroidered with the school logo, their smiles are equally bright. This Title I public school in the heart of the city where 96% of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch has recently opened a Montessori option. Walking into the classroom, one 5th grade student eagerly asks, “Who’s on the bread committee this week?” Baking bread is a weekly occurrence in the upper elementary (4th – 6th grade) Montessori classroom. During the first week of school, this same student vehemently threw materials to the floor declaring, “I HATE fractions!” In an effort to positively engage students in mathematics, the weekly bread-making tradition was implemented. Through cooking, students experience the importance of fractions in everyday life. Each week, two students work together, read several recipes, select one, and submit a precise written list of needed ingredients. The next day, with the aid of a bread machine bought for $10 at the local thrift store, the students work together to follow directions, read fractions, measure ingredients, and bake bread. Once baked, students divide the bread into equal portions and serve. After several months of this routine, some recipes will need to be doubled or halved, and on it goes… The bread committee provides a “hook” for some resistant students. It is also a practical application of the role of literacy in mathematics. The choice to focus on mathematical literacy and the effect of journaling on student understanding was influenced by research around mathematical vocabulary as well as the instructional practices of noted educators and researchers. The rigor of upper elementary math as defined in the common core requires students to not only perform calculations with accuracy, but to demonstrate strong reading comprehension through the interpretation of real-world word problems, and to articulate an understanding of MATHEMATICAL LITERACY 3 mathematical reasoning through clear and concise writing. Achieving grade level proficiency has practical life implications for students because research showed mathematical knowledge during elementary school as a strong predictor of financial stability in adulthood, and understanding fractions in fifth grade as a predictor of overall achievement in mathematics (Siegler & Lortie-Forgues, 2015).

Language: English

Published: St. Paul, Minnesota, 2019

Article

A Child-Directed Music Curriculum in the Montessori Classroom: Results of a Critical Participatory Action Research Study

Available from: University of Kansas Libraries

Publication: Journal of Montessori Research, vol. 6, no. 1

Pages: 19-31

Action research, Americas, Montessori method of education, Music education, North America, United States of America

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Abstract/Notes: Maria Montessori strongly advocated for music learning to be fully integrated into the classroom; however, many Montessori classrooms are dominated by materials aimed at developing children’s visual sense. The purpose of this critical participatory action research (CPAR) study was to address this perceived learning disparity by developing and implementing a curriculum that is consistent with the Montessori approach, child directed, and focused on sound examination and music learning. We designed six shelf works and offered them, over the course of 6 CPAR cycles, to 20 3- to 6-year-old children attending a Montessori school. Findings from qualitative and quantitative data indicate that the children received the works positively, chose to engage with them, became more confident in their musical tasks over time, showed signs of deep concentration and attention, and demonstrated consistent performance across similar tasks related to perception and cognition. We conclude that the presence of these 6 curricular works began to disrupt the perceived learning disparity we identified; however, more can be done to understand and change the classroom practices that support that disparity.

Language: English

DOI: 10.17161/jomr.v6i1.10631

ISSN: 2378-3923

Article

Counting the Pinecones: Children's Addition and Subtraction Strategies

Available from: ProQuest

Publication: Montessori Life, vol. 17, no. 2

Pages: 26-28

Action research, Arithmetic, Mathematics education, Montessori method of education, ⛔ No DOI found

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Abstract/Notes: This article discusses an approach designed for mathematics educators. Maria Montessori intended this knowledge to be shared with other teachers, increasing the Montessori community's understanding of children's thinking. A group of Montessorians has even tried to formalize this process with a program called Teachers' Research Network. Similarly, the intent is to share mathematics education research and practices. Specifically, the author would like to suggest the use of word problems to help children build a more abstract understanding of addition and subtraction. In mathematics education, researchers are examining how children invent arithmetic operations in a program called Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI). The author describes the aspects of CGI that are similar to the Montessori tradition. Children use a variety of materials and strategies to solve problems. The role of the teacher is to modify the environment (using a variety of problem types and difficulties) to learn about each child's understanding. By observing how children pursue word problems, the researchers were able to assess what the children understood about operations, looking beyond whether or not they could perform the simple arithmetic calculations. Through quantitative and qualitative analyses, they discovered that children were indeed capable of solving complex word problems, including problems that involved more than one operation, in a variety of ways. The teacher's new understanding of the children's mathematical thinking is then used to vary the types of problems given in order to help children become more abstract thinkers. (Contains 1 table.)

Language: English

ISSN: 1054-0040

Book Section

Montessori Sensorial: The Montessori Early Childhood Inclusive Classroom: Creating a Cherished Experience

Available from: Rowman and Littlefield

Book Title: The Inclusive Classroom: Creating a Cherished Experience through Montessori

Pages: 29-43

Children with disabilities, Inclusive education, Sensorial materials

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Language: English

Published: Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4758-5635-4

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