I've got a 'flash' for youAsk around. Most people, at some time in their lives or education experience, use flash cards.
By: Judy Spooner, South Washington County Bulletin
Ask around. Most people, at some time in their lives or education experience, use flash cards.
I was an early reader so I don’t remember letter or letter-sound flash cards but I do remember addition and subtraction flash cards in third and fourth grades.
I had a hard time concentrating on the cards. It might have been too repetitive. I don’t thrive on orderly learning. My mind leaps to find threads that help me make sense of larger ideas.
I might have done better if my teachers challenged me to find how many ways I could get numbers to add up to 50, for example. I love puzzles.
One of my favorite District 833 elementary school math teachers told me she uses flash cards as a teaching tool but personally doesn’t like them.
“What’s not to like about flash cards?” I asked. “They were timed,” she said.
“That would be awful!” I told her.
Niece Emily in North Carolina was bored with flash cards when we used them to hone her addition and subtraction facts. When I took one of her math worksheets and started changing the numbers around, she thought that was fun. I believe she learned more by manipulating the numbers.
District 833 School Board Member Ellen Ayers remembers having flash cards in Spanish class.
While grocery shopping, I talked to a woman, now retired, who used flash cards at her work. The cards had instructions on various office procedures. She felt confident she could do all the tasks as long as she knew the flash cards were near.
If you are interested, search “flash cards” on the Internet.
There are sites to create your own flash cards in addition to flash cards you can order on nearly any subject including Chinese herbology, agriculture and biochemistry.
Flash cards are available to help educate children from birth.
There are talking flash cards.
But if you want to help your child with math, ditch the flash cards and take some advice from Travis Barringer, School District 833 math and science coordinator, who helped me recently with a story about how teaching math is evolving.
Math flash cards can be intimidating for kids, he said. Most of the adults I talked with said flash cards helped them but few of them were enthusiastic.
Math flash cards can be intimidating for adults, too. If they believe they won’t be able to quickly do the math facts, they might find excuses to avoid the interaction with a child.
Barringer has a solution.
Use a set of ordinary playing cards to play math games with kids. Deal two cards and ask the child to add, subtract or multiply. Ask your child to invent a game for you. Most children are delighted to try and stump an adult.
You can also tell them good math skills are needed to win at “Texas Hold ‘em.”
Judy Spooner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.