kitchen table math, the sequel: alert the vice president

Thursday, April 19, 2007

alert the vice president

I wonder if Lynne Cheney is aware that the DOE is telling parents not to subvert fuzzy math.

  • Encourage your child to use a daily math assignment book.

  • Follow the progress your child is making in math. Check with your child daily about his homework.

  • If you don't understand your child's math assignments, engage in frequent communication with his or her teacher. [ed.: good one!]

  • If your child is experiencing problems in math, contact the teacher to learn whether he or she is working at grade level and what can be done at home to help improve academic progress. [ed.: If students need distributed practice, parents can find worksheets online.]

  • Request that your child's teacher schedule after-school math tutoring sessions if your child really needs help. [ed.: been there. done that.]

  • Advocate with the principal for the use of research-based peer tutoring programs for math. These tutoring programs have proven results, and students really enjoy them. [ed.: aarghhhy]

  • Use household chores as opportunities for reinforcing math learning such as cooking and repair activities. [ed.: aarghhh]

  • Try to be aware of how your child is being taught math, and don't teach strategies and shortcuts that conflict with the approach the teacher is using. Check in with the teacher and ask what you can do to help. Ask the teacher about online resources that you can use with your child at home. [ed.: aarghhh, aarghhh]

  • At the beginning of the year, ask your child's teacher for a list of suggestions that will enable you to help your child with math homework. [ed.: how about no]

file under: the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing

from the same source:

Find out whether your child's teacher is highly qualified and whether the school follows state standards for mathematics instruction. Ask the school principal for a school handbook or math curriculum guide. If your school doesn't have a handbook, ask the principal and teachers questions such as the following:

  • What math teaching methods and materials are used? Are the methods used to teach math based on scientific evidence about what works best? Are materials up to date?
  • How much time is spent on math instruction?
  • How does the school measure student progress in math? What tests does it use? How do the students at the school score on state assessments of math?
  • Does the school follow state math standards and guidelines?
  • Are the math teachers highly qualified? Do they meet state certification and subject-area knowledge requirements?

If you have not seen it, ask to look at the No Child Left Behind report card for your school. These report cards show how your school compares to others in the district and indicate how well it is succeeding.

so.... Don't interfere with the math instruction on offer at your kids' school, but do grill your principal to within an inch of his life about the curriculum, the research base, and teacher qualifications.

I'm sure that'll work.

The Feds must resolve disputes amongst the warring parties by lopping white papers in two & assigning half the pages to one camp, the other half to the other camp.

Party number one gets to write Homework Tips on page 5; Party number two gets to write the Homework Tips on page 11.


I wish my school had a handbook.

Or a math curriculum guide.

Or anything in writing at all.


Of course, we do have a handsome set of form letters.

Hard to say which one's my favorite.

if you listen

Ed always says that if you listen people will tell you what they think.

After he read the list of "tips" he pointed out that the list assumes the school isn't going to be teaching your kid any math.

Three of the tips are about peer tutoring and "extra help."

Note that peer tutoring is research based while extra help is not.

This has been our experience.

Extra help doesn't help.


This weekend I discovered that one of C's friends, who is in the regular track and shouldn't be is being tutored by a high school student.

This is my middle school.

Very bright kids are a) in the slow track and b) not learning math there, either.


Exo said...

Yes, extra help, longer day, longer year, sleepless nights learning something you were not taught... Excellent opportunity.

I NEVER spent more than 1 hour on HW in grades 5-10. And I was the top student. And I can tesify now: they taught me well! (I taught Physics which I hever have after grade school to my 7th graders - in details using algebraic equations to describe physical laws because I recalled it from more than 15 years ago...)

Catherine Johnson said...

Yes, extra help, longer day, longer year, sleepless nights learning something you were not taught... Excellent opportunity.

It is just extraordinary.

You said it.

Longer day, longer year, "extra" help --- it's just remarkable.

How about shorter day AND TEACH BETTER?

You have to love it that the Singapore kids go to school for 10 years compared to our 13.