July 30th, 2019, 04:45 PM  #1 
Senior Member Joined: Oct 2013 From: New York, USA Posts: 660 Thanks: 87  Tutoring Arithmetic With Negative Numbers
I'm tutoring a girl who is going into seventh grade, but her is way below that. I haven't seen what she was taught and what her grades were. I asked her what's she's doing in summer. She's said she's in school for Math and ELA (English Language Arts). When I asked if she had any notes or assignments, she said no. Her family speaks Spanish, but I have not observed her not understanding any English words. She will give answers such as 1 + 5 = 6. I drew number lines and showed that if you add two positives, the sum is greater than both numbers, and if you add a positive and a negative, the sum or difference will be in between the two original numbers. For positive numbers, I wrote fact families like: 2 + 3 = 5 3 + 2 = 5 5  2 = 3 5  3 = 2 Even with positive numbers, it could take her 10 seconds to say what 5 3 equals. I don't know how much I'm helping, and I'm looking for advice on tutoring a struggling student. 
July 30th, 2019, 05:10 PM  #2  
Member Joined: Jun 2019 From: AZ, Seattle, San Diego Posts: 30 Thanks: 21  Quote:
I've had some success tutoring arithmetic with signed numbers using multiple approaches at once (rule based, shifts on the number line, algebra tiles, relating expressions to money). I explain each by working a few examples, and then I have the student solve exercises three or four different ways. It takes extra time and effort, but it usually helps. Check out some of these videos. I hope the ideas help her. Cheers Last edited by Otis; July 30th, 2019 at 05:18 PM.  
July 30th, 2019, 05:16 PM  #3 
Member Joined: Feb 2019 From: United Kingdom Posts: 44 Thanks: 3 
She's not struggling, truth be told she has no interest in what you have to offer. She's not interested. It sounds like you're force feeding maths because you need your bills paid. We're all capable of maths, it's born in our genetics. A nice example I always like to use is, if I have a child with three toys (I use three because the brain likes the number 3) and I take away a toy the child cries, that tells me they're aware of subtraction. When a mind is ready to learn, those in the vicinity of that mind will know about it. 
July 30th, 2019, 05:24 PM  #4 
Member Joined: Jun 2019 From: AZ, Seattle, San Diego Posts: 30 Thanks: 21  
July 30th, 2019, 05:37 PM  #5 
Member Joined: Feb 2019 From: United Kingdom Posts: 44 Thanks: 3  
July 30th, 2019, 05:41 PM  #6 
Senior Member Joined: Jun 2019 From: USA Posts: 120 Thanks: 40 
Does she think in Spanish? I've seen  heck, I've experienced a phenomenon where trying to figure out a relatively simple maths problem in one language becomes difficult if one is not used to working maths problems in that language (even if one is otherwise fairly fluent in said language). It's possible this might be some part of it. You might try learning enough Spanish to give her some simple problems that way, and see if it makes any difference.

July 30th, 2019, 06:12 PM  #7  
Member Joined: Feb 2019 From: United Kingdom Posts: 44 Thanks: 3  Quote:
You send geometry.  
July 31st, 2019, 04:58 AM  #8  
Senior Member Joined: Oct 2013 From: New York, USA Posts: 660 Thanks: 87  Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
I'm going back tomorrow. If I feel like I can't help, I may stop. Last edited by EvanJ; July 31st, 2019 at 05:28 AM.  
July 31st, 2019, 06:03 AM  #9  
Senior Member Joined: Jun 2019 From: USA Posts: 120 Thanks: 40  Quote:
It's mas, menos, uno, dos, tres,…. You don't need much. And who is going to claim it's racist to acknowledge that someone speaks more than one language? I have frequently told international students struggling to figure out problems or explain concepts, "Do it in [French/Arabic/Vietnamese/whatever] if it helps."  
July 31st, 2019, 07:42 AM  #10 
Global Moderator Joined: Dec 2006 Posts: 20,921 Thanks: 2203  If this video doesn't help, you need to find out why she's having so much difficulty. 

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arithmetic, negative, numbers, tutoring 
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