Q&A #1280

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Chicago Math

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From: Kate

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2006110200:32:57
Subject: Re: Re: Every Day Math

I read the post by a parent about "down with Everyday math."  I would
like to know what academically sound research suggests that topics are
taught too quickly, that spiral math is bad, and that alternative
+,-,x,/ algorithms are not potentially beneficial.  I am a Stanford
graduate and teacher, and I am concerned that many people bad mouth
this program without being fully informed about it.  If you are
concerned about the curriculum, you should communicate with your
child's teacher about it.  No curriculum is complete on it's own. 
Your child's teacher should be supplementing the curriculum with
additional practice to solidify basic facts and computation skills. 
There are several good resources for supplementation by Dale Seymour
available.  As a college graduate who took a number of math and
computer science courses, I feel it is essential for students to
understand that math is more than being able to learn a method and
repeat it.  As a high school/college student, I was often asked to
generate my own methods, understand multiple approaches, and spiral
through topics, revisiting some as necessary to put new ones into
context.  These are ESSENTIAL skills for later academic success.  I
encourage you to consider the fact that your child's grade 4 test
scores may be less important that how he/she learns to respond to
challenge and to situations where math is not black and white.  A
child who is not fully prepared to face these situations in later math
may experience the classic decline in math performance that often
occurs with US students in high school math and suffer in high school
and college because of a misunderstanding about all that being a
mathematician entails.  

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