CMP Math - Need Help!

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by Genmai, Oct 31, 2009.

  1. Genmai

    Genmai Companion

    Jun 15, 2009
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    Oct 31, 2009

    Dear math teachers,

    My district uses Connected Math for the curriculum, and I've been very frustrated with trying to make it work for me. I have 2 main problems:

    1. No textbook examples.
    Students and parents have a hellish time helping their kids because the books don't have any example on problem solving. Connected Math (CMP) uses an investigation model and requires that kids discover math on their own. After they discover math, they need to take great notes on how to do the problems. Otherwise, they have nothing to work with when they are working on the problems at home.

    Lately, I have been resorting to the old-fashioned style of lecturing at the board and going over problems and solutions and then launching into CMP based lesson.

    If there are other CMP teachers reading, please let me know how I can improve.

    2. Making math fun

    This is an age-old dilemma: Math is boring. Much of this problem rests with my instruction, and I've been scrambling to find books on how making my instruction interesting. The kids are bored to death in my class, and this is leading to lack of engagement and contributing to the behavior problems. Because I teach middle school, this is a tricky issue.

    There are a lot of great math teachers who read these forums - I desperately need help here. If you can provide books or advice, it would be much appreciated.

    Thank You!
  3. dw1

    dw1 Rookie

    Jan 6, 2007
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    Oct 31, 2009

    I'm a 2nd year teacher at a school that uses cmp, but we also use a textbook. Last year we used cmp as the primary text, but this year we have a new textbook so that is the primary source. I think it's easier to teach out the the textbook, but most kids seem to think the cmp is more fun, because it has more group work. If you don't have a supplementary textbook, it might be worth it to make up some handouts or worksheets yourself that cover what you think is missing. There are TONS of resources online - do a google search for, say, 2-step equations worksheet, and there will be lots of options.

    I also find with cmp, especially with my lower level classes, it helps to point them in the right direction before starting a unit. I give them a brief (<5 minute) summary of what they're going to figure out. Then I let them at it, but I still make sure they have the textbook or worksheets or something that will let them get a lot of practice in whatever kind of problem I'm teaching.

    I hope that helps!
  4. myangel52

    myangel52 Comrade

    Aug 31, 2005
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    Oct 31, 2009

    All I can say is good luck. We are in our last year of using cmp (thank goodness), and I have always had the same troubles that you are describing. I often resorted to lecture/note-taking of the traditional kind, because the kids were so frustrated with the idea of figuring it out on their own. Most of my students are not cognitively ready for "discovery" of math -- they need to be told what to do, and taught when to recognize how to do it.

    I wish I could be of more help.
  5. Dynamite Boys

    Dynamite Boys Companion

    Jul 5, 2007
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    Oct 31, 2009

    We also (well, some of us) use CMP as a supplement. Some teachers have chosen to not use it at all. I really enjoy a few of the lesson that are in CMP. I, honestly, can't imagine using it as the only source. My low level readers have a terrible time with it . . . there is so much reading! You're also right when you say parents hate it! I think some of the examples are SO much better than a text book - some of them are way more real to life and the activities have the kids REALLY learning the material. I'd see if you can find some worksheets to use on the side as well as CMP. I don't have much advice other than to say just keep doing your best.
  6. fuzed_fizzion

    fuzed_fizzion Comrade

    Aug 18, 2008
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    Oct 31, 2009

    I have been teaching CMP and CMP2 for about 10 years now as the only math text for middle school. I teach all levels of math and a low SES school. Here is what I have found to help:

    1) Preteach vocabulary at the beginning of the lesson. Any vocabulary that students may not know in order to teach the lesson.

    2) For each lesson in the book, read through the lesson and determine what it is students need to determine and share at the end of the lesson. Give students time at the end of the lesson to write in their own words the process they just learned.

    3) Scaffold the lesson by sometimes making up a labsheet that provides space for students to answer the questions or to show their work. Sometimes the transparencies the teacher book has done this very well. Sometimes I have to make one myself. I don't know what level you are teaching, but in CMP Looking For PythagorasLesson 1.1 transparency provides space for students to write answers, but Lesson 1.2 and 1.3 need more of a worksheet typed out with space to answer the questions.

    4. Look at the homework very carefully. One of the problems with CMP and CMP2, in my opinion, is that it doesn't provide enough practice of the newly learned skill. Often the homework I give students is either a worksheet I just made or found from another source to provide that practice. This helps because parents are more able to help students with the homework and provides the practice students often need to integrate the math concepts into their skill set.

    5. Sometimes CMP likes to teach students new skills by having them work with fractions or decimals. I always find this trips students up because they have issues with fractions and decimals. I will change the lesson to work with whole numbers while students are learning the concept. Whole number practice will continue, but I will offer as challenege or to more advanced students to work with the fractions and decimals later.

    6. Engaging students into the lessons is something that comes with practice. I have students show their agreement/disagreement with an answer with a thumbs up/down before having a student explain. Students show answers by holding up the number of fingers. Students show the number of solutions or ideas they have by holding up the number of fingers. Remember that CMP is to be taught with students is groups and not on their own. Have a member of the group be the only one who can get the teacher for help. Then ask the group "is this a group questions before answering."

    There are many other things I do with students, but it can be overwhelming to get too much information at one time. If you would like to see any examples of what I am talking about or specific questions about books you are teaching, let me know. I have taught every grade level.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2009

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