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Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Accelerated Math program

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From: Patrick McMartin

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2003041111:28:34
Subject: Re: Parent: AM Math frustration

Frustrated Parent,

I am sorry for your difficulties dealing with this program.  Your
concenrns are real and definitely need to be address.  Thank you for
posting your issues.

I am an avid user of accmath and a strong supporter.  Like any math
book program or technology tool program, it's not the program or tool,
but the teaching approach that makes it work.  Are you familiar with
the rennaissance process?  Students set attainable goals, are assigned
objectives that they have been taught, allowed to peer tutor one
another, are provided incentives, given rewards for accomplishments,
and conferenced with to ensure understanding and success.  If a child
is frustrated, exhausted, or is not having an enriching experience the
program should be modified. 

I ensure my students understand their abilities and see their growth. 
Accelerated Math, because of the data it collects and the feedback it
generates, allow me to easier do this.  My students compare themselves
NOT to their peers, but rather to what they have accomplished.  All my
students feel that they are successful because they see their own
growth.  My expectations vary from child to child, but every child is
held accountable.  No one slips through the cracks.

Accmath also teaches my children that not every child knows all the
answers.  Every child in my class will run into a concept that is
difficult and they will need to overcome it.  It is my responsibility
to not only teach the concepts, but also to teach a child to ask
questions and search for the answer on their own.  It is a life long
gift for a child to be able to have the confidence to seek the answer
through  questioning, using various resources, and solving the problem
on their own.

As for reference material, AccMath offers learning cards, and I offer
my parents two books Math to Know and Math at Hand.

I hope this is helpful.

On 2003040219:03:13, david glenn wrote:
>I have a 12 year old who has been in AM math for 3 years. She has
>difficulty with math in general (mostly computation) and we have
>worked to overcome that (calculator, etc.), so she isn't necessarily
>working on the objectives that the majority of the class is working
>at the time (though we have worked hard and she is now ahead of most
>students). However, this means that AM math, for us, is basically
>home-schooling. So here's my beef(s):
>- AM drives a subconscious level of 'you will never do/be good
>attitude into students. When a class is working (all) together the
>is set, collectively. When a student gets a grade he can generally
>feel his level from that collective. However, with AM math, the
>student can never achieve a feeling that he/she is 'at collective
>level'. There is always more, no matter how hard you work, you don't
>reach a small plateau where you can take a breather. I am glad my
>daily software development job isn't that stressful, sometimes it's a
>big climb, but there are rest periods where work is a bit
>because of mastery of a certain kind. What kind of math torture are
>putting kids through with AM?
>- AM sets up a great deal of 'extra' work for everyone (students,
>parents, teachers). I am sure grading is a pain, but automating
>grading of multiple-choice questions is hardly the answer (or really
>math for that matter). We have a two-earner family and we certainly
>resent the sometimes large amount of homework we must see/help our
>daughter plow through (which always includes 3-8 pages of AM
>problems/reviews/tests -every- night). If I had an 8-hour per day job
>with 2-3 hours of homework, I'd be looking to move on PDQ. Why can we
>subject kids to more than we would be willing to take money for?
>- The technology tug-of-war. Here, do your AM on the computer, it's
>great. Oh, you can't use a calculator. Umm, can we not be so
>schizophrenic here? (Hey, maybe you shouldn't use a glorified
>calculator to grade my math then!?) Face it, calculators are a part
>life. We should evolve our computational teaching to admit it. And,
>all things, calculators should be at the core of AM.
>- The lag of daily objective teaching and AM work. The student hardly
>ever is at the AM level that is being taught daily, in our
>Which means the student has forgotten completely (due to lack of use)
>the new AM objective when he/she gets to it. Ah, the parents can fill
>in again...
>- And finally, I am a CS major (22 years in software dev.). I have
>learned/used my fair share of higher level math. So, when I am the
>at-home resource for math 'difficulties' every night, I can deal with
>it. What about the average parent? Since AM doesn't (necessarily)
>follow a book or available math resource, how am I expected to deal
>with concepts I haven't used in years? (Why should I be expected to
>all?) To the AM producers, where the hell is the parent's resource
>your fine product?
>-frustrated AM parent

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