Anyone using Singapore Math?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by TamiJ, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Nov 19, 2011

    We don't, but I have been hearing a lot about it. I am curious what those of you who use it think of it.
     
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  3. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Nov 19, 2011

    Also, can you use math centers with this? Looking at a video, it seems like it's a lot of whole-class.
     
  4. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    I haven't taught it in a classroom, but I currently homeschool and tutor students who are using Singapore. It seems like a good program, but one thing that concerns me is that it doesn't seem to revisit standards that have been previously taught. That's why I really liked Saxon Math. It's a spiral curriculum where it goes back and reviews problems/standards. I also REALLY liked Saxon math for it's hands on component. Of course, I taught the kindergarten version of the program, but I adored it. And I know the other lower elementary teachers preferred Saxon Math too. Have you looked into that program?

    And you're right in that it does seem to be whole-class program. But I imagine that you can create math centers to go along with the program.

    All in all, I do like Singapore. Especially the focus on mental math.
     
  5. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Okay, so perhaps if one did use centers with it they can also spiral and review previous taught concepts as well. Right? That's what I do for math since concepts aren't really looked at again once taught.
     
  6. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Yup. That would be a great way to address that little issue.
     
  7. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I went to an all day training on Singapore math after having several teacher friends brag about how much they love it. I think it is outstanding. It does a great job of getting students to understand math concepts, use mental math, know their facts, and especially to solve word problems. It is the best math program I've seen. I have been really disappointed with Saxon math that introduces standards much later and doesn't challenge the students enough. Saxon is also harder to differentiate the students who you wish to excel. I would highly look into taking a training on Singapore Math (possibly through BER) and finding out more.
     
  8. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    You trained on it, have you also taught it? If so, have you actually seen it to be successful for your students?
     
  9. GoldenPoppy

    GoldenPoppy Habitué

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    Their model drawing for solving word problems is outstanding! I did an on-line class this summer and am using it with my kids this year. They actually beg for word problems!
     
  10. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Really? Wow, that's encouraging. Thanks.
     
  11. jwteacher

    jwteacher Cohort

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    I teach Singapore Math and it is heavily based on whole group, direct instruction. One of the pros is that it teaches multiple strategies for solving complex problems in the younger grades. When students get older, they can transition almost transition seamlessly to the traditional algorithms (for multiplication and long division) because of their strong foundation working with the more concrete methods.

    The drawbacks, however, are quite a few. It is a one-size fits all approach, and all students are supposed to stick together at a grueling pace. Some of the standards that Singapore has are a grade level above the state standards, and some standards aren't covered in the book so they have to be supplemented by the teacher. As mentioned, there is no spiraling within a grade-level text so it's questionable whether students will be able to retain information as well.

    Also, Singapore stresses giving a word problem each day and having student solve it using the "model drawing" methodology. While it's important to give word problems each day, its flaw is that the model drawing methodology doesn't work with every type of problem. So problems have to be carefully created otherwise kids who are drilled using model drawing will only be setup for failure. The idea is for kids to generalize different types of problems, but model drawing will not accomplish that.

    As you can tell, I am not a big fan of the program. :(
     
  12. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Really? Is there room for modification? I don't know if you saw my dialogue with Peachyness, but I love using centers. Could this possibly be used as a new lesson, direct instruction, but then incorporate centers?
     
  13. jwteacher

    jwteacher Cohort

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    There are some manipulative for the primary grades such as place-value disks that might be beneficial for centers. You would definitely need to model and have kids practice using them before you made it a center expectation. There are also place-value cards, and those might work because you can get rid of the ones that are in the thousands place value or higher in the set.

    When it comes to paper and pencil assessment, Singapore uses individual books which kids write in their own. There aren't any full-size master copies or additional resources to print. You could order a set of individual books called "Extra Practice" from Singapore, but it's only abbreviated practice.
     
  14. GoldenPoppy

    GoldenPoppy Habitué

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    I don't see that as a flaw at all; I see it as an opportunity to strengthen mathematical thinking. Mathematics should never be about applying a single strategy. It should be about analyzing the problem and deciding on the best strategy based on the information available.

    We do 2 or 3 word problems a day. Sometimes model drawing is the best way to go, sometimes it isn't. I expect them to be able to discuss why a particular strategy is best. As I tell my kids, you can't be a brain dead heaver in math. (My kids know I love my baseball analogies.)
     
  15. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Okay, so looking at all this, some teachers have found success with it while others haven't liked it as well. I was just curious because I have heard a lot about it lately. Thanks for the feedback everyone! It has been very helpful.
     
  16. dianejw

    dianejw Companion

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    Nov 27, 2011

    I love Singapore math a supplementary program to my fifth grade Everyday Math curriculum. It really helps students to be able to visualize how to solve story problems, helping them transition from concrete to abstract.
     
  17. starburst499

    starburst499 New Member

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    I work at a small international school and we just started using the program this year.

    Some things I really like are the emphasis on problem solving, the clear teacher instruction manuals, and the clarity of their books. It is not cluttered with "extras" which our previous books had. The way concepts are explained is excellent- when the students get it, they seem to really understand. It just takes a while. As far as moving together as a group- it does that- but there are extra practice books and such that can be assigned for students who are struggling. It is designed to be by level- not grades. There are also game ideas that can be used as centers or small group activities included with most lessons.

    Some things I dont like that it is very hard to jump into mid-way. I teach third and fourth grade and my students have not had the background with the vocabulary and method taught the previous two years- so I have had to try to catch them up- not always very successfully. That is always going to be a problem at our school because we have a high turn over of students (being an international school). Even with less turn over, I would recommend making the change one grade level per year.
     

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