Shaping Maths (Gr. 1-6)
Shaping Maths is another good option that employs the Singapore approach, aligned to the 2013 Singapore Ministry of Education (this is the most current syllabus). Published by Marshall Cavendish, the publisher of Singapore programs in Europe, this curriculum provides plenty of practice and uses a mastery approach to learning. You’ll find the same vocabulary you’ve come to expect in other Singapore-approach math curriculum and the familiar methods of problem-solving, such as bar modeling, bonding, etc. There are 3 books at each level of this curriculum – Activity Book, Coursebook, and Teacher’s Planning Guide; the three together provide complete instruction at grade level for grades 1-6.
Coursebooks are the textbooks for each semester of Shaping Maths – A and B for each level. These are in full color and give an explanation of the approach for the course and features of the books. The themes of the coursebooks revolve around four characters – Aini, Bala, Caili, and David. The illustrations with each lesson involve everyday life and activities of the four characters. There are 3 types of questions in the coursebooks, marked with icons for easy recognition – pre-requisite skills, reinforcement of current concepts, and higher-order thinking skills. Other sections in the lessons include ‘Fun with Maths,’ ‘My Notes,’ ‘Guiding Questions,’ and additional activities that may require manipulatives. ‘Fun with Maths’ encourages discovery and active thinking of math concepts and skills. ‘My Notes’ are pages that list or show key concepts. ‘Guiding Questions’ encourage the habit of checking to understand a problem. The additional activities may be individual or group activities that provide hands-on opportunities. Chapters are divided into lessons that are very visual and provide both written presentation and illustrations for clarity and suggestions for manipulatives that might be helpful. References to activity book pages are found at the bottom of the coursebook pages, when needed. The number of lessons and pages vary from book to book. Please note that this series uses metric measurements and Singaporean money. Singaporean money is a 100-cent, dollar-based system.
Coursebooks have a bonus feature. These books come with an e-book that can be downloaded to your computer or mobile device. The coursebook comes packaged with an installation guide that allows you to connect to your e-book, which is active for 12 months from the time of activation. An internet connection is required to sign-in, but once the product is downloaded you can browse offline. This allows you to view your coursebook at any time.
The Activity Books in this series are consumable and are formatted for practice of the concepts that are presented in the corresponding coursebook. Referenced at the bottom of the appropriate coursebook pages, you will know when to complete the pages in the activity book. Activity books are black and white and provide ample practice for each concept. Activity books 1A, 1B, and 2B have cardstock manipulatives in the back of the book that will be referenced in some of the lessons of that book. There is one activity book per semester, and the number of pages varies from about 150 to over 200 pages. Activity books have minimal instruction, because it is assumed that you are using the coursebook for the explanation of concepts.
Teacher’s Planning Guides are available for every level of this curriculum. Loaded with helpful resources, these books offer suggested schedules, answer keys, teaching suggestions, key ideas, additional activities and lesson extensions, materials lists, suggestions for struggling learners, and enrichment ideas. Small format student pages are included with answers printed in red, and any reproducible pages are included in the Teacher Guide.
Schedules break the lessons down into standards met, number of periods needed, coursebook and activity book pages, manipulatives needed, and additional information. Schedules are followed by the unit information, beginning with key ideas and vocabulary for the unit. Any learning difficulty that commonly occurs for these concepts is listed, and then a warm-up exercise is suggested, followed by teaching suggestions and notes. The Teacher’s Planning Guides are written for classroom use, so you will find group suggestions that can be adapted or skipped in a homeschool setting. Units are broken into lessons and list objectives, class organization/discussion, materials needed and suggestions for teaching. Corresponding coursebook pages are shown in small format with the teacher notes in the margins. At the end of each unit are extension activities and small format images of the student activity book pages with answers filled in. In some lessons, online resources are mentioned. These digital components are now available with the purchase of the Teacher’s Planning Guide. After purchase, you will receive an access code which will provide 12 months of access to the online resources. Although they are not required for curriculum use, some parents will find the online resources helpful.