Does your child have sloppy math papers? There is a reason for it, and it’s usually not because they are lazy or aren’t trying! Instead it may because they may have a visual spatial or ordering difficulty.
The area of visual spatial perception is the ability to divide space vertically (up and down), horizontally (left and right), and fore and aft (Kephart, 1971). Spatial concepts are based on height, width, and depth. Spatial ordering is a component of this: the ability to perceive how parts of things fit together.
Think about math and how many steps it takes to solve a problem. You need to be able to line up numbers both vertically and horizontally in order to do calculations accurately. You need to be able to see patterns in numbers [e.g. odd and even numbers]. You need to be able to remember the steps involved in doing a division problem. You need to be able to remember the clue words in a story problem steps, the steps in setting it up, and then the steps in doing the calculation to solve the problem.
Visual Spatial or Ordering Problems
Children with visual spatial or ordering difficulties often have problems with math. They may be:
- Confused when learning multi-step procedures
- Troubled ordering the steps used to solve a problem
- Overloaded when faced with a worksheet full of math exercises
- Not able to copy problems correctly
My students were getting really good at doing the calculations and understanding the math concepts after playing The Math Zone and using the BT Easy Math Reference Guide (which gives lots of tips for solving problems in a step-by-step manner with pneumonics). But, sometimes they still got the wrong answer.
Instead of just having my students correct their mistakes, I started keeping track of the kinds of mistakes they were making since I knew they had learned the process by using the BT Easy Math Reference Guide.
After recording the kinds of mistakes they were making, a pattern emerged. 90% of their mistakes were due to poor alignment of the numbers when they copied their problems or were working their problems. Finding this out had me try several solutions.
I had my students do their math work on notebook paper set up sideways so they’d have columns instead of lines to write on. Sometimes I even had them do their math on graph paper. This worked out pretty well, but they would not allow enough space between the problems.
Solution to Visual Spatial Problems
That’s when I decided to combine using either notebook paper sideways or using graph paper with a template on top of it that would divide their papers into 10 work areas, enough for 10 problems per page. The space for each problem was well defined. So I made a template, ‘super spacer’ for them to place on top of their notebook or graph paper.
I couldn’t get over the difference. Their papers were neat now and accurate!
This worked out so well, I had my students use it with their spelling words. I started having them write one spelling word on one side and divide the same word into syllables on the other side.
We started doing all kinds of things with the spacer, like putting a word and its antonym or synonym across from it. It was really cool, because it became like a game for them, using the spacers for many different topics. My students found that any time I wanted them to do a matching activity, they could do it with a Super Spacer! Their school papers became neat and they became proud of their work!
Then I had other teachers try out the Super Spacer and they loved it too, so I decided to make it available for everyone.
Super Spacers are a solution to the third roadblock to math success: visual spatial or ordering difficulties.
Don’t spend another evening with sloppy papers that have mistakes due to not keeping columns straight! Become your child’s math tutor, help them with their organizational skills, and let your child discover that they really can have neat & correct papers they are proud of!
As with all Bonnie Terry Learning Products, Super Spacers comes with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee.