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Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Accelerated Math program

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From: Duane Habecker

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2004082817:30:35
Subject: Re: What are the draw-backs of Accelerated Math?

I have been using Accelerated Math in my middle school math classes
for the past two years and have come to really like having it be an
important part of my teaching.

It is important to know that Accelerated Math is simply a tool for
teaching and assessing, much like manipulatives, calculators,
whiteboards, and overhead machines.  AM has a very specific thing that
it does, and when used properly, is very effective in improving
student learning.  Accelerated Math collects data and displays data. 
That's about it.  It is not intended to teach students.  TEACHING IS

Once the learning curve of how to use the software, the scanner, and
how to organize the class time is mastered, AM is excellent system.  I
have found that the determining factor of whether AM is well-received
by parents and students is largely dependent upon how well prepared
the teacher is and how far along the teacher is on the learning curve.
Having well thought out procedures for how the class (and AM) is run
is also extrememly important.

Because Accelerated Math does not teach anything, it must neccessarily
be a supplement to the regular math program.  The teacher still must
somehow transmit knowledge to the students by lecture, by videos, etc.
Once students have been taught how to do something, THEN Accelerated
Math can be used to asses student understanding.  Accelerated Math is
NOT a "drill and kill" program, since it only gives 6 problems per
objective on a Practice worksheet.  If a student demonstrates he/she
understands the material, AM then moves the student to the next
objective (as arranged by the teacher ahead of time).  Students only
do additional problems on the same objective if they have shown to be
not sufficiently competent at it.  No drill and kill.  AM is an
extremely efficient tool that allows students to "march" through the
state standards at their own pace.

The true power of AM is its ability to dollect data about each student
and to report that information to the teacher so he/she can act upon
it.  AM will notify a teacher whether a student is struggling in any
given topic.  It is then the teacher's job to act accordingly.  The
teacher may re-teach a lesson to the whole class, assign a peer-tutor
to a struggling student, or to meet with the struggling student
himself/herself.  AM notifies the teacher of a struggling student much
faster than the teacher ever could have figured it out if left to
his/her own devices.  

I could continue singing the praises of this wonderful teaching tool,
but I fear I've gone on long enough.  Feel free to email me if you
have additional questions. 

On 2004011421:48:20, Sarah Spinks wrote:
>All that I read about Accelerated Math is how good the program is.  I
>would like some input from teachers, districts, etc. that have used
>this program that gives a balanced view of how it works.  
>I can see this as a possible supplement to math programs.  It looks
>though it is mainly a 'drill and kill' type program.  It looks like
>is not going to help introduce strands such as measurement, geometry,
>probability, etc. for elementary age students.
>I'm looking forward to reading some objective reviews!

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