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Topic: Textbook Search Addition
Replies: 1   Last Post: Jun 5, 1995 11:20 AM

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Michelle Manes

Posts: 64
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: Textbook Search Addition
Posted: Jun 5, 1995 11:20 AM
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Subject: Textbook Search Addition
From: at internet
Date: 6/4/95 8:07 AM

>Greetings again-
>I recently posted a request for information about 3 textbook series that my
>school district is considering. I left one important program out. We are
>interested in information about the following:
>***Addison Wesley- K-8
>***Silver Burdett- K-8
>***Scott Foresman- K-8
>***Prentice Hall for the Middle Grades- 6-8
>If anyone uses these and can offer comments-positive or negative-it would be
>greatly appreciated.

Of these, I've only used the Addison-Wesley (I've taught 3-5 grade math from
them). I'd love to hear what other people think, but personally, I loathed
these books. Here's what I saw:

1) Skills are introduced individually, with very little connection.
So adding with regrouping is different from adding is different from
subtracting is different from subtracting across a middle zero is
different from...

You get the idea. I had no desire to communicate to them that math was
about learning all the different rules for all the different situations.

2) Each skill is introduced with a (sometimes engaging, sometimes not)
story problem. The problem is worked out in detail for the students.
On the opposite page is between 40 and 60 drill problems, none of them
with interesting stories attached. My kids would have been bored silly.

3) There were 3 additional soft-bound books to use as companions to the
hard-cover text. They were called (if I remember correctly) "Reteaching,"
"Building Thinking Skills," and "More Practice." The "More Practice"
problems looked exactly like the ones in the book. The "Reteaching"
problems looked exactly like the ones in the book, but they had an example
worked out at the top. The "Building Thinking Skills" book was great,
and it was the only part of the series I used after the first two weeks.

4) The "geometry" chapter in each of the books consisted entirely of
naming shapes. (The increase in difficulty from 3-5 included adding
3D shapes into the mix.) No building, no drawing, no clay, ...
Nothing that should be in the geometry experience of kids.

You don't really say what you're looking for in a text series. The AW
book will provide lots of drill, lots of problems for the teacher to give
as homework, and one small soft-cover book of real gems that's all too
easy to ignore. I dug up my own materials and taught from them, because
the AW series was the only text I had. Luckily, I had computers, very
small classes (4-5 students), and lots of other materials.

I also had great kids. Unfortunately, all of their math experience had
been with the AW books, so they didn't think I was really teaching them
math. They liked it, but it wasn't math. One kid had been diagnosed
very young as learning disabled. He had never really been able to remember
the algorithms for adding, subtracting, etc. and he had done horribly
on timed multiplication tests. However, he had amazing problem solving
skills. He could read and understand problems, apply both old and new
concepts to solving them, and he was a very creative and careful thinker.
He could answer probing questions about his problem solutions; he had
clearly thought them through. But he kept insisting he was no good at
math. At the end of the year, all the kids had to take a standardized
test. For the first time, they could use calculators. This bright little
boy said to me, "but if I use a calculator, I'll get them all right."
And he did, too. No thanks to AW.

Sorry to ramble...


Michelle Manes
Education Development Center

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