I just finished a session with the teachers who work as learning assistants in SD#60. We had a great morning talking about how to help make math meaningful to students who are struggling. And it really all comes down to meaning. Caine & Caine (1994) report “The brain “resists having meaninglessness imposed on it. By meaninglessness we mean isolated pieces of information unrelated to what makes sense to a particular learner.”
Oh, how sad that so many students go through days, weeks, months, and even years of mathematics in school without making meaning! There are so many great tools and ideas for building meaning and making the connections that develop understanding! If a child is not “getting it” in some area of math, we need to go back in the conceptual development of the topic to the point where there IS meaning and then build from there.
What are you doing today to build meaning in mathematics with your students (or your own children?)