kitchen table math, the sequel: Everyday Math in Ann Arbor public schools

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Everyday Math in Ann Arbor public schools

I'm always interested in what's happening in Ann Arbor, since I went to school at University of Michigan. I've been informed that the public schools there use Everyday Math and Connected Math Program. I'm familiar with both of them, moreso with EM since my daughter's school used that. Most of her teachers supplemented EM heavily--one teacher refused to use it at all. In the case of the one teacher that relied only on EM, I was tutoring with Singapore Math. I recall one student, a friend of my daughter's, quite bright, who at end of fourth grade claimed she was "bad at math" because she was unsure which of the four or so algorithms for each particular operation, she was supposed to use for which problem.

To see the kind of information parents are given about EM in Ann Arbor, check out the parents' guide for AAPS at Everyday Mathematics Parent Handbook.


SteveH said...

As another graduate of the University of Michigan (engineering), I will say that Everyday Math and CMP students will not get accepted into Michigan without a lot of outside help.

LynnG said...

"Your child has many exposures to the concepts before mastery is expected."

This sounds great. They don't mention when, if ever, mastery is expected. The parent handbook glosses over that aspect. As a parent dealing with EM in the Connecticut schools, I can say that mastery is rarely expected of any of the concepts. And although the first exposure to multiplication may occur in kindergarten, mastery is never really expected.

For more information, here is a link to Everyday Math's Secure Goal spreadsheet:

RobynW said...

In a previous post, Ken explained that practice is built into the Connecting Math Concepts program.

This is the Everyday Math approach to practice (explained in the Teacher's Reference Manual):

"[S]tudents need to study particular algorithms, but once the algorithms are understood, repeated use will become tedious.

One reason that calculators are so helpful in the mathematics curriculum is that they free both students and teachers from having to spend so much time on dull, repetitive and unproductive tasks."

The authors of EM don't seem familiar with the concept of overlearning. They think if you understand something once, you'll remember it, and you won't need much practice to retain it in long term memory.

If they understood the idea of overlearning, they would support paper-and-pencil arithmetic over calculators. Each time the child performs an algorithm on paper, he or she practices not only the algorithm, but also the basic math facts. It makes automaticity much more likely.

Anonymous said...

Quality teaching is the only essential element in a math class, regardless of the prescribed curriculum.

SteveH said...

"Quality teaching is the only essential element in a math class, regardless of the prescribed curriculum."

Then you can go start your own school with your own money because this statement is ludicrous.

LynnG said...

Wow, and when you have unqualified math teachers and poor curriculum, you are doomed.

Why do we spend 100s of thousands of dollars on curriculum if it doesn't matter?