_______________________________________________________________________________ Subject: Textbook Search Addition From: JoanI10084@aol.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org