04 January 2008

I Need to Get Around to Packing This Up.

Sigh. We're studying dinosaurs in science time and somebody is trying to be funny. I need to get the bubble wrap out before poor baby Jesus gets eaten.

3 comments:

  1. Everyday Math, eh? From my perspective it's got two main weaknesses. First of all is the lack of emphasis on basic skills. Rather than use their games to teach basic skills, you should use orderly drill and practice. Once your kids are reasonably comfortable, use the games for review.

    To get around the fact that basic skills are so poor, they recommend calculator use in the early grades. I would suggest keeping the calculators safely tucked away until much later.

    The second huge weakness (in my opinion) is that they don't teach for mastery. The program is based on the theory of "spiraling". A concept is taught. Then it's retaught a number of times after, sometimes way after, in different ways, until at some point the student learns it. The problem is that "spiraling" doesn't work. I've taught EDM from grades 2 - 5. I've seen their spiraling effect, and the frustration among teachers and students when the concepts don't stick. There is too much time for students to forget, and there is too little practice as the series leaps from concept to concept with a disregard for proper sequencing.

    Other weaknesses include: not enough chances to practice a skill (as I've already mentioned). A huge block of time is needed every day. (Homeschooling, it may not be as much of a problem). Students are shown different ways to perform each operation. Do not teach all of the ways if your children become comfortable with one way. It gets confusing. Your best bet would be to teach the standard algorithms as they are the most efficient. Ignore some of the calls for manipulatives. Beyond a certain age, students, with enough previous practice shouldn't need them. Don't waste time encouraging your children to create their own ways to do operations. They will waste tremendous amounts of time coming up with inefficient algorithms. That's based on the Constructivist Model of math education which is an ass-backward approach to math education. If it worked, math skills would not be in the toilet as they are these days.

    As for supplemental material, I throw in a lot of practice in the four operations, fractions, decimals, and anything else we've already learned. There are books that are aligned with state mandated skills. There are also drill and practice books. I also use Superkids math worksheet creator when I don't feel like doing a lot of writing. http://www.superkids.com/aweb/tools/math/ You might also want to go to your state's Dept. of Ed. website to see grade level content expectations. Here in Michigan, we have to supplement the program due to state expectations that aren't covered in EDM. This could be true of all programs though. Standardized tests have been revamped to reflect the Constructivist model, which is kind of nebulous and in some way subjective, so not all math programs or states agree anymore.

    EDM depends on students having excellent reading skills. Because reading is taught as poorly as math, this becomes another drawback. If you need help with reading, I recommend the Riggs Method -www.riggsinst.org.

    For more rants on the state of math education and more critiques of Constructivist math theory and Everyday math, go to: Mathematically Correct at http://www.mathematicallycorrect.com/ It may be kind of dated.

    I hope this helped.

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