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Topic: Algebra Textbook Recommendation

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Subject:   RE: Algebra Textbook Recommendation
Author: db
Date: Jun 16 2007
More observations:

a.  I agree, McDougal has good textbooks and I have used them.

b.  I give "reading" assignments from the text.  Very poor response.  However,
If i paraphrase the text and print the information on paper-very similar to
what is written in the text-I get a better response from the students.  Better
response means that they have read it enough to answer questions I pose at the
end of the reading.  If I do not copy it from the text, almost all will leave
the answers blank.  They almost refuse to read the text!

Baffling to me!  Anyone have suggestions?

c.  The color and glitz does not seem to attract my students.  In fact, I think
it distracts them and "worries" them.

d.  A good teacher can use any textbook assigned because she only uses its
strengths and then supplements as required.

e.  I use worksheets.  But, because we have block scheduling, these are mere
adjuncts to any lesson.  I have never taught math NOT in block.  We run robots
and simulations, collect data, analyze, look for patterns, etc...  Lecture is
only a small portion, on average, of my lessons.

f.  I homeschooled my daughter before I became a public school teacher.  At
home, we used Saxon.  But that was merely to show her manipulation.  The real
lessons in math came from other lessons in science, engineering, social studies,
and so forth.  

On the other hand, In my classroom, I prefer Key Curriculum Press texts for the
high school math classes I teach.  The kids won't really read it unless I press
them, which I do to some degree.  After all, at some point, they will probably
HAVE to read a text.

g.  Having said all of this.  Even Key Press, McDougal, et. al., cannot say it
all.  No one can.  Even when I read them, I need to stop and reflect on what it
is the author is trying to say.  A self-directed student may find the going
too slow to be rewarding enough given the effort.  Saxon's virtue is that they
say very little and are very focused.  If some folks think the focus is narrow,
I agree.  But ask, how broad a view can self-directed students focus on?

Hey, Kenny, let's hear from you.  What is your analysis given this discussion so


On Jun 16 2007, cfriesen wrote:
> I've found the responses very interesting. Several observations:
> I like McDougal texts and have used them.
b. I sometimes wonder
> just how much students read the textbook.  Does anyone REALLY
> know??? I suspect there is much in present day texts that is never
> read by students.  
c. I wonder if all the color and glitz of the
> present day math books really improves learning and retention.
> While I have never been a zealot of Saxon, I have observed
> characteristics in the program that I like:  Students are required
> to REMAIN accountable for many topics throughout the semester, as
> opposed to narrowly focusing upon today's topic.  
e.  A great
> teacher can help students learn using McDougal texts. And a great
> teacher can help students learn using Saxon texts.  And a great
> teacher overcomes or addresses the challenges I suggested in b. and
> d.
f.  Parting shot:  I have been depressed at the number of
> worksheets I have observed math teachers use on a routine basis.
> Does this say something about the text they are using?  Some
> textbooks have a VERY VERY poor selection of exercises (both range
> of exercises and amount of practice) which the student can be
> assigned on a daily basis.  Teachers using these "problem-poor"
> texts are almost required to use the publishers supplemental
> worksheets in order to give students a meaningful and complete
> homework assignment.

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