kitchen table math, the sequel: help desk - how to study geometry

Sunday, February 10, 2008

help desk - how to study geometry

If you've got a minute, which you don't, let us know what you think of these Amazon reviewers' advice on how to study geometry.

Thanks!

11 comments:

elizabethB said...

Hmm, maybe I would have understood Geometry if I actually had learned it that way. I had good math teachers for Algebra, Trig, Calc, and all the rest, and my dad, a math teacher, helped me with my homework if I needed it.

I think not learning the fundamentals first is a problem in many fields. I tried tutoring in math, but felt it was useless to tutor kids who had to type in 1 +7 on their calculators. We move a lot, so I didn't have the time or the energy to try to change the program, I just stuck with the phonics tutoring where I controlled the process. If we would have spent the first 10 minutes of each tutoring session going over basic math facts with all the students, and eventually banned the use of calculators for anything but sin functions and whatnot, I think it would have been much more productive in the long run.

Reading is the same way, people need to spend the time teaching the phonics basics before they move on to reading. I have a new page explaining how to use Webster's Speller--when they taught it back when, children were not allowed to read words they had not learned to spell. I have used it with my daughter, she's reading amazingly well now. Here is the new Webster page:

Webster's Way

elizabethB said...

Oh, yes, Webster's taught a phonics step that is missing today that is really the basis of all words--syllables. Students learned a bunch of syllables before they learned any words. (ab, eb, ib, ob, ub; ba, be, bi, bo, bu, etc.)

Now, that's a true fundamental! (It was made fun of and run out of the schools for the most part around 1826, although there were holdouts until at least the 1850's.)

Catherine Johnson said...

Oh, yes, Webster's taught a phonics step that is missing today that is really the basis of all words--syllables. Students learned a bunch of syllables before they learned any words. (ab, eb, ib, ob, ub; ba, be, bi, bo, bu, etc.)

I can't believe you said that!

This is one of my "theories" about the fourth grade slump.

I've been wondering whether there is a "second-stage" phonics, which is syllables.

My 2nd grade teacher, Miss Gerard, made the class stand and recite syllables.

I remember it vividly to this day.

"Bla - bleh - bli - blo (pronounced "blow") - bluh"

Catherine Johnson said...

I need your email!

cijohn @ verizon.net

Anonymous said...

Peter Ungar's review seems to nail a number of problems with the book as a textbook (assuming his claims are true). It sounds like a good book for practice problems.

-Mark Roulo

Catherine Johnson said...

What do you think about learning the theorems first?

I'll read Peter Ungar's review carefully now.

elizabethB said...

I have a page with bla ble bli blo blu now, it's linked from my Webster page!

Syllabary

I'll send you an e-mail, mine is
liz91 (at) thephonicspage (dot) org

use the @ and . and no spaces

Verghis Koshi said...

Coming v late to this post....

I like Kiselev's Geometry, a beautiful piece of work IMHO. Not trivial, but just beautiful.

Catherine Johnson said...

Hi, Verghis!

THANK YOU!

I've been cruising Kiselev's Geometry for some time now - will purchase.

What do you think of Jacobs (if you've looked at the book..)

Verghis Koshi said...

Will take a look at Jacobs and let you know what I think. In general Schaum's Outlines are all over the some; some great, some horrible, most in the middle.

Lsquared said...

Well, you have to know what the theorems say and mean before you have any hope of using them to solve problems and prove new theorems, so I'm with them on that. This may be a fine approach to high school geometry, I'm not sure... When I teach it in college my goal is to create thinkers and theorem provers, and I don't know that this sounds particularly conducive to that, but unless you are unusually lucky, your high school geometry teacher is probably a pretty mediocre prover of theorems him/herself, so you're not going to get that sort of class.