The 10 characters in Math Class are presented at the beginning of Student Book Volume 1. It is a model class in which the 8 children have specific interests that pupils will come to know in the course of the year. They have their own teacher and school principal. Teachers should introduce the characters to the pupils at the beginning of the year.
The members of Math Class and their characteristics:
- Sleiman, the sportsman: streamlined face, sports clothes and equipment
- Raja, the globe-trotter: propellers on his cap, camera, hiking boots
- Oliver, the gardener: straw hat, green hands, gardening tools, flowers, fruit and vegetables
- Twist, the scientist: glasses, white coat, laboratory equipment
- Violet, the vet: nurse’s uniform, animals, medical instruments
- Dan, the odd-job man: tools, blue overall, cap
- Cookie, the food expert: lollipop, food, kitchen
- Melody, the musician: musical instruments, music CDs
- Miss Petunia, the teacher: book
- Mr. Dimple, the principal: tie
For each lesson, the Teacher’s Guide presents a number of preparatory activities in the form of games and group work. These activities should be prepared and executed with care. They precede the lesson and the exercises in the book, which should therefore be opened only when the preparatory exercises have been completed.
The activities presented in this guide are not exhaustive: it is hoped that teachers will use their own initiative and creativity to develop others with the same educational value.
The lesson takes up 2 pages. It is introduced by a problem-solving application involving Miss Petunia and her pupils. This activity is a synthesis of the preparatory activities. In addition, it provides tools and practical advice for completing the exercises, thus familiarizing the child with the mathematical rules presented in later classes.
The exercises are varied. They are illustrated with photographs or drawings. They portray concrete situations and objects that are familiar to children or which help to enrich their vocabulary.
The story takes up 2 pages. It involves characters from Math Class. It has been written to present a new mathematical concept, or one that is still fragile for Grade 3 pupils, in a concrete, yet amusing, situation. This concept, which is the focus of the lesson that follows the story, then becomes more accessible for the pupils.
The story is also an opportunity to open up to other subjects, thus answering the need to break down barriers between school subjects, in accordance with guidelines from official educational authorities.
The teacher must take special care to prepare the story lesson. He/she must read the story several times and practise telling the story out loud, adapting the text as necessary to aid understanding. In class, the teacher should tell the story aloud, pointing to the illustrations in the book. This communication using the eyes and the voice makes it possible to create a special relationship between the teacher and pupils and the teacher is also able to judge the extent to which the pupils are following the story and adjust the rhythm and vocabulary accordingly. The teacher should not hesitate to take more time, pause, repeat words, use gestures and play with the rhymes presented in the original text. If there is enough time, the teacher could begin by presenting the story’s illustrations to the children and then trying to build up the story. Reading the pictures in this way is done through a game of questions and answers. Theories can be established and later verified, after the teacher has read the story.
The self-evaluation test covers 2 pages. It allows a synthesis of the important concepts learnt throughout the section and can even be used by the teacher as a model for formal evaluation. It is suggested that the pupil should work through this test and evaluate his/her own performance alone. However, the teacher should correct the exercises.
At the end of each book, the pupil’s results can be recorded in order to evaluate the term’s work.
The consolidation page
One page is devoted to extra practice with slightly more difficult exercises than the others, which require good assimilation of the lessons in the section. The teacher could give these exercises to the stronger, faster pupils who have finished the other exercises before their classmates.
The game takes up 1 page. In an original, amusing fashion, it presents the concept studied in the lessons of that section.