New student handbook from Bowen author revisits math fundamentals

Experienced teacher, tutor and now author Laurie Beesting answers some of the Undercurrent's questions.

The following is a question and answer with Laurie Beesting, author of Bridge the Gap Math, a new math handbook for intermediate students and their parents. 

What is Bridge the Gap Math™?

Bridge the Gap Math is a new parent and student handbook, written to equip and empower parents to tutor their child in only the often-missing-but-really-need-to-know-bits from the intermediate math curriculum.

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It targets just core essentials – the intermediate math “golden keys.” The book is designed to firm up math fundamentals, to equip students to succeed in grade seven and high school. 

Why did you decide to write Bridge the Gap Math?

As both a teacher in mainstream school (with class sizes of more than 30 students) over the course of more than 20 years in U.K., and then over seven years one-on-one in Canada, I built up a mental list of the common math sticking points students face. 

The same issues came up over and over again. 

I realized that the methods I use for one-on-one lessons to help students gain confidence in math, could be shared with thousands more students if I showed parents what I teach and how I teach it. 

I had the list of skills... and ways to get them across simply. It was time to share. 

Who did you have in mind while writing the book?

Initially I wrote it to help grades five, six and seven students preparing for high school. But I also started using it with students who were already in grades eight or nine (or further) who needed to backtrack, in a sensitive way which didn’t talk down to them. 

I had found a way to help, where students could keep their dignity. I have used it with adults too who needed to pass math tests for new jobs.

I also started using it with bright grade four students who wanted to get ahead.

Another important demographic I had in mind was concerned parents. 

Many parents asked me to make the book script-like and easy-to-deliver. They told me they didn’t really feel secure enough to teach the math concepts in the “right way,” as methods change.

How is the book different from all the other math-support resources out there?

There are two main differences:

Bridge the Gap Math is not another single-grade textbook. It does not have every single math concept you would see on a curriculum list for a particular grade, level or age group. Instead, it has only the concepts I identified in my experience as being common sticking points. 

To firm up fundamentals, it is not practical to revisit every individual grade (an overwhelming and depressing thought.) Instead, with Bridge the Gap, you can zoom right into the core issues.

It is not simply another “work-through-these-questions” text book – it teaches the learning objectives via a script of what to say and do, before you try out questions. It provides instant parent and student self-assessment: “Have we achieved this?” If yes, move on. If no, revisit.

 It provides a do-able-in-the-busy-family-home solution to nailing the vital bits.

It has 100 learning objectives and uses the words of a math teacher of 28 years’ experience. There is only one page per concept: a straight forward learning objective, a concise teaching section, eight questions to try with support, then eight questions to test to see if the student can say, “Yes! Check it off – I’ve got it!”

When will it be available? 

January 2019

Where can people find more information? 

Telephone: Laurie Beesting 604 947 0520; Website: www.bridgethegapmath.ca; Email: info@bridgethegapmath.ca

There will be a book launch Saturday, January 19 at the Bowen Island Library at 4:30 p.m. and a talk at the BICS multipurpose room March 5 at 6:30 p.m.

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