kitchen table math, the sequel: Trust the Spiral

Monday, June 1, 2009

Trust the Spiral

Everyday Math, teacher to teacher:

"Trust the spiral. Do not skip over lessons or teach out of order."

"Keep going even when some of the students don't have mastery of the objective. Because of the structure of the program, it is okay to move on."


Everyday Math, parent to parent:

"NEVER trust the spiral. Ensure mastery even if you have to pay a tutor."

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

It sounds like some special, secret code where they mouth "Trust the spiral" to each other as they pass in the halls.

SusanS

Tex said...

Sympathetic teacher to a parent whose child with attention deficit and working memory issues had been struggling in a reform math program until she began supplementing with Kumon:

“The spiral is the kiss of death for your child.”

Kumon is the antithesis of spiraling, as can be seen from this description on their website.

“Before your child can advance from one assignment to the next, the material should be completed with a perfect score within a prescribed period of time. All work is graded and the results recorded to determine when your child has a total command of the material and is ready to move on.”

Independent George said...

"Trust the spiral." That's exactly the kind of critical thinking and real-world 21-st century problem solving I expect from Everyday Math.

Barry Garelick said...

Kinda reminds me of the Star Trek episode "Return of the Archons". A society ruled by a computer; the inhabitants trusted only those who were "of the body". Thus, the question "Are you of the body?" was key. Sort of like "Trust the spiral."

RPondiscio said...

Having been forced to teach EM to my 5th graders, I will say that the spiraling was the only thing I liked about it. But that has nothing to do with mastery and everything to do with retention. If my kids learned to add fractions in November, at least half would insist "we never learned this" when it came time for the state test in the Spring. Even before we went EM, I made sure that once taught, math skills appeared at least once a week on my homework sheets.

Yes, I know. It's called review. There's nothing new under the sun.

Catherine Johnson said...

That reminds me - I have to send the Shuffled Homework & Cumulative Practice articles to Dan Willingham.

Robert - do you have them?

They're fantastic.

Increasing Retention Without
Increasing Study Time
Doug Rohrer and Harold Pashler
Current Directions in Psychological Science Volume 16—Number 4 p. 183-186

THE EFFECTS OF CUMULATIVE PRACTICE ON MATHEMATICS PROBLEM SOLVING
KRISTIN H. MAYFIELD AND PHILIP N. CHASE
JOURNAL OF APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS 2002, 35, 105–123 NUMBER 2 (SUMMER 2002)

I can email to anyone who wants copies.

MagisterGreen said...

Copies? Yes please. How might one go about getting copies emailed?

Having things like that at hand is what keeps me sane and helps me drive the *ahem* curriculum gurus *ahem* nuts.

Catherine Johnson said...

Hi MagisterGreen - just shoot me an email & I'll send.

cijohn @ verizon.net