kitchen table math, the sequel: One Step Ahead of the Train Wreck

Sunday, May 17, 2009

One Step Ahead of the Train Wreck

Barry Garelick has a great new article in!


SteveH said...

Good job Barry.

Parentalcation said...

Nice article Barry.

Next year my local elementary school is taking the plunge into Everyday Math.

Luckily my youngest will be in 4th grade, which is far enough along to have gotten a good base of old school math.

Barry Garelick said...


Glad you enjoyed the article. Warning: Although your son has some grounding in basic math, there are still some key topics coming up in 4th grade and beyond, so that it would be worth your while to afterschool.

concernedCTparent said...

Boy, I second that. We survived fourth grade EM, but just barely. There were days that reduced my daughter to tears (thoughts of the lattice method still make her cringe)and she was a Kumon kid who loved math and felt very secure in her skills. It was a tough year and it's much, much harder to *un-teach* what has been taught poorly, than to teach it well the first time around. I agree that you should do whatever degree of preventative maintenance you're able. It's a rough road ahead, for sure.

VickyS said...

I second those emotions--there is plenty of time for EM to do its damage even with just grades 4, 5 and possibly 6 if your school uses it in 6th.

And it's not just about proper instruction--EM has been known to kill a kid's interest in math.

In Minnesota we have a statute that lets us basically homeschool a subject if we have a major disagreement with the curriculum. If I still had kids in elementary school I would be doing that. I found it difficult to teach a parallel curriculum alongside EM--like oil and water. And if your kid still has to do the EM work the EM way it can be even more frustrating because they can see how stupid it is.

Alaska has pretty liberal homeschool laws. Maybe you can just yank her out of EM entirely and do your thing at home (not easy with working parents and several kids, though, I know!).

Ben Calvin said...

San Francisco adopted EM this year for every school -- whether a magnet, immersion or neighborhood type.

That alone has made me thankful we chose a parochial K-8. It was open admission when we signed up but is over subscribed now.

Parentalcation said...

Homeschooling is simply not an option for us.

We do a fair bit of after schooling but it's reactive, not proactive.

I know both of the schools 4th grade teachers and they let on that they will be supplementing EM, so my I will have some help.

VickyS said...

Just to clarify, I was suggesting "homeschooling" only one subject (math). It's not very well known that Minnesota allows a public school student to be family-educated in just a single subject (while attending public school). I just wondered if there were options like this in Alaska or other places.

VickyS said...

Re: California

Is EM now on the list of approved curricula? If so, is there a special California edition of EM in order to meet the state standards? What's the current story?

Ben Calvin said...

Yes, it was approved around the same time as Singapore Math. I assume they produced a California edition.

Of course now several districts (SF & Palo Alto at the least) have adopted EM.

SteveH said...

EM is designed to get through the approval process. If it doesn't, they just add in more stuff. It doesn't mean that it gets covered in class or that any of it is mastered.

When schools talk about supplementing EM, they NEVER mean adding to EM. That's impossible. They mean changing it or skipping material. It can also mean remediation when they find so many kids in fifth grade who still don't know the times table. That's what happened in my son's fifth grade class. The teacher didn't get to 35% of the material. I'm sure the head of school told parents that they "supplement" EM.

Barry Garelick said...

As SteveH points out, EM contains the topics that are mandated by whatever standards are in play. That they are not in a sequential order that facilitates learning is beside the point. EM's marketers have nice charts designed for textbook adoption committees--side by side tables showing a state's standards, and how EM meets them.

"Supplementing" EM won't work, unless supplementating means supplanting.

Anonymous said...

You might be interested in this Math Forum thread started by Wayne Bishop yesterday at Math Forum.