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Topic: Parents
Replies: 118   Last Post: Oct 31, 2006 5:29 PM

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 SAS Posts: 4 From: virginia Registered: 10/20/05
Re: Parents
Posted: Nov 30, 2005 5:29 PM

Thank you, Joycer, for telling it like it is. My son's school adopted this idiotic curriculum the year he entered Kindergarten. You are absolutely right on about the problems it creates for discipline in the classroom, as there are so many things other than math that the kids want to talk about--or do-- like, run around the classroom and throw unifix cubes! I am not a math teacher, but I have witnessed the chaos of the Investigations math class firsthand as a parent while volunteering, and later as an concerned (and disgusted) viewer.
The "Pockets" exercise could have been a great lesson as an intro to multiplication or adding multiple numbers, had anything been written up for the entire class to see and comprehend. Instead, a couple of kids dominated the class and nothing was shown for the rest of the kids to get a grip on what they were doing, no explanations were given. This was followed by the "Guess my rule" game. What a total waste of time. Then there was the lesson about finding area--of lips with (non-uniform) beans! They hadn't even covered multiplication yet. One would expect the first area lesson to maybe involve a square or rectangle, something simple. I failed to see the point. And base 7?! Please! What about base 10???
I agree with you about the treatment of fractions (my son is in grade 5 now). They gloss over the meat and talk "concepts", then rapidly move on to statistics and a lengthy jumping in class exercise. How do the kids understand a concept, let alone write about it, if they don't ever work through anything with pencil and paper or see an operation worked out correctly? Fraction strips are extremely limited in their uses...I told my son to set everything to a common denominator (what's that?). He refused because it wasn't promoted as a "best strategy" of some other child in the class or perhaps his partner that day. Oh, but he nearly failed the test, because even though it wasn't taught, he was expected to have somehow intuited that "common denominators" was the approach that would give the correct answer consistently. Hmmm...no mention of common denominators.
After about grade 2 our school strictly limits the option to visit classes, and it is implied that we should not come to math class to see for ourselves how class is conducted. My suspicion is that my son must listen to a host of children talk on about some half-baked "strategy" of theirs and that he tunes out mid-class. He would miss any pertinent information, provided it were given. He also likes to let others do the work for him in class, and group learning/work is encouraged and deemed preferable to individual work.
I started supplementing his math education at home once I realised he couldn't do simple addition or subtraction without the use of manipulatives by mid-2nd grade. Remarkably, he was considered above grade level! He knows his multiplication facts because I made him learn them, not because they are required by this curriculum. Likewise, his skills in addition, subtraction, long division and fractions were learned at home, not at school, but I suppose the school district will look great for implementing Investigations because the SOL scores are good due to parents like me who work ceaselessly with our children to keep them up to grade level. Recently, the school has asked parents to work on math facts at home...excuse me, but isn't that the school's job first, and my responsibility to reinforce? What do they do all day in class? My son is angry that I make him do additional work at home, but he now knows that it is what he learns at home that will carry him through the class.
One of my main concerns about TERC is that there is way too much emphasis on writing out "strategies" when simple operation answers should suffice. My son, who isn't brilliant at writing, one time loved math because he could "do" it. He now hates it because he must explain away something that he could write out with numbers. He (as do I) hates the lengthy, convoluted and poorly written word problems that comprise sometimes nearly 30% of a test. Don't get it right, automatic failure.
All concerns I have voiced have been brushed aside. I am fed up enough that I have recently contacted a school board member in hopes of some remedy to this awful situation. Isn't there something that can be done to get this out of the schools? Do you get parents who are upset with this at your school, too? Are there other teachers out there who care about the decline in math ability and comprehension because of Investigations Math? The teachers here make me feel I am singular in my dismay, yet I know a handful of other parents who are also alarmed.
Thanks for voicing the truth.

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