They do what they do.
Thinking about schools and peers and parent-child attachments....I came across one of my favorite posts .
The "MATH IN FOCUS Grade 1 Student Book A" has a color photograph on the cover and costs $18.95; the "Primary Mathematics Textbook 1A STD ED" has no photograph and costs $11.20 . Math books don't need color photographs. I don't know if the content of Math in Focus is better, but I'll stay with the Primary Mathematics (PM) Standards Edition . Btw I do prefer the standards editions of PM to the originals. It's good that parents can now buy tests aligned with the books.
Math in Focus is based on the Singapore series called "My Pals are Here" which apart from its unfortunate and ridiculous title, also is not as good as the Primary Math series.
I wrote a little bit about the Math in Focus materials on my blog: NCSM Singapore Math Sessions and Math Conference Mania The MIF materials are based on the more popular series currently used in Singapore; My Pals Are Here. I have a complete set of MPAH for third grade only. Although I haven't had time to really dig through them yet, I do have a copy of these books from Math in Focus:- kindergarten Teachers' Edition and big books-Reteach, Enrichment and Assessments books from 1st grade.A full grade level set of the books can be had on Ebay for $80 - $130. A bit pricey.There are parts of MIF that I really like. Some explanations of concepts are more thorough, there are Enrichment books as part of the series and a School-to-Home Connections book of pages for teachers to send home to help parents understand what their child is doing in class.There are other parts I'm not so crazy about. Also, I'm hearing of schools asking for additional training on the materials.I find that the Shaping Maths series currently used in Singapore looks a lot more like Primary Mathematics, although both Shaping Maths and My Pals are Here (and thus Math in Focus) are based on the most recent Ministry of Education syllabus and should contain similar content.
The "MATH IN FOCUS Grade 1 Student Book A" has a color photograph on the cover and costs $18.95; the "Primary Mathematics Textbook 1A STD ED" has no photograph and costs $11.20 The Math in Focus textbooks (student books) are hardbound. The Teacher's Editions are $92 each, although I'm sure schools get a bundle deal.
I previewed a copy of the MIF Enrichment 4A books and I didn't think it was as good as the Primary Math Intensive Practice series. Like so many other things, it has been "dumbed down" for the American market. The problems in the MIF Enrichment book are about the same challenge level as the first part of the Primary Math IP books, but there's nothing equivalent to the harder "Take the Challenge" problems.You can preview the MIF books here. Registration is required but then you can flip through every page.
I had read somewhere, and I have no proof and have not seen both so don't know if it is accurate, that MIF is based on a series for less advanced students and that other series once they opened up to more than one series (all schools used to use only the Primary Mathematics) are for more advanced students. Also that it does show more steps and holds the student's hands more, but by doing so prevents ore does not require as much problem solving or creativity in using alternate approaches. I also get the impression there is some adoption of some reform math ideas now in Singapore. I do know that they now have calculator use in 5th grade, and mental computation is no longer on their "framework"; it now says numerical calculation in place of mental calculation. It seems that you can have different types of programs in math from Singapore now, just like you have in the US.
I don't have a problem with the MIF textbook doing more "hand holding" than PM. But the Enrichment book is supposed to be a differentiation tool for bright kids. And that's why I was disappointed to see it "dumbed down" compared to the original Primary Math Intensive Practice books. I've got an advanced student and was looking for more of the challenging problems beyond what's in the IP and CWP books. She gets bored with doing the simple problems but I feel there is value in having her practice math. I was hoping that the MIF Enrichment book might be a good source of additional exercises for her, but after previewing it, I don't think it's worth the money.
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