Since I appear to be the only actual K-4 teacher who is currently reading and responding to the list I would like to respond to this comment. This is somewhat how the calculators 'are' used in our K-4 classrooms.
No - Eileen, you're not the only elementary teacher reading the list, but you may be the only one responding.
Perhaps I've been a bit intimidated by all the university folks out there insulting each other and arguing theory and ideals. As a 5th grade teacher, I joined list looking for reasons and ways to implement those elusive goals that are referred to in the front of our math books. My gosh, every year I have a handful of 5th graders that simply do not know addition and subtraction facts. It's awfully difficult to teach the "problem solving process" when you have kids struggling with 7 + 9. Therefore, I gladly use calculators when we're problem solving.
There have been references to the Maynard G. Krebs attitude and it's a reality in 5th grade. Many kids simply won't try it if it looks like work - not just low achievers but gifted kids, too. I've heard way too many times, " I don't get it - I just don't get it." and from their attitude you can tell that they're never going to get it because they don't want to. I've often thought about tearing the inside out of an old t.v. and putting my head in there and teaching "on t.v.". Kids have become very passive learners. They seem to want to learn by osmosis from the t.v.
Do I sound frustrated? I am. Math is so very important. I'm trying every way I can to get through - but it is frustrating. I'm considering going to a no homework policy. The practice set is just that - practice. No grade for number right or number wrong - just a check mark for yes you practiced the concept or no you didn't even attempt it. I don't know - I just don't know.
There's a lot of terrific material out there to use applying math concepts but I haven't been able to find time to use it. Maybe I need to go to the "cool" and hope the kids will catch the connection between the work and the fun of using the result of that work.
I would be interested in hearing from more classroom teachers. Is this list reserved for "discussing" the meaning of the standards - or for those of us in the classroom trying to implement those standards in the early levels. If this is for university types - is there a different list for elementary teachers who need encouragement and new ideas? Nancy