Discussion in 'General Education' started by teacherfan, Apr 8, 2008.
Apr 8, 2008
Has anyone used Everyday Math? Any comments or criticisms?
I have not used it, but I am attempting to get it into my school All of the districts in my area are adopting it and I have had courses in it. I love the hands-on approach. I have heard that it is great hands on but it also lacks the worksheet aspect. I don't know if that is true but the workshops I have had were FUN. I am also curious on everyones thoughts on it.
I haven't used it, but I found was reading about it a few weeks ago and found an article from someone who does NOT like Everyday Math. http://michellemalkin.com/2007/11/28/fuzzy-math-a-nationwide-epidemic/
I personally love Everyday Math. But, my experience with it is most people love it or hate it. I does take a little getting use to because you don't necessarily teach to mastery when covering a skill. That is hard by nature for teachers. It is based on prior knowledge, you intro. a skill, and come back later...more of a scope & sequence method.
I subbed in a district that used it (my home district). I hated it for my kids. I would reteach math nightly and they were frustrated to be introduced to concepts without having been taught them. But that was just my kids' reaction. As a sub, I goofed one day because I wasn't told about the program (that mastery wasn't the goal) and I spent too much time on something because I noticed that not one student understood their homework. After my kids had been through it a while, I did understand the process and could appreciate it more. I learned how to teach it but it was still not the best way for my kids to learn math. They still struggle in high school (only in math - all other subjects are good).
Great program for general population, kids are leaving middle school and entering into high school with 2 grade levels higher understanding. It is showing huge gains in state/district testing. It can be difficult for students who haven't had it since first grade. EVEN more difficult for students with language/math disabilities.
I use EM. THis is my second year. I actually like it. This year we have the updated version and it's much better. Last year I had students who just didn't get it and would flounder, but this year, they all get it and within an hour! It doesn't have much to do with math facts (addition and subt.) so I supplement. I'm currently in first grade, unit 6 lesson 9 and the addition facts have just been introduced.
It is a spiraling curriculum, so I had to let go of the mastery. I had to stress to the children that if they didn't get it the first time, not to be upset because they will see it again later.
Apr 9, 2008
I have been using Everyday Math for two years now and have mixed feelings. It's great for your high kids because they really get a challenge, and it also works on problem solving really well. However, I find that it is incredibly frustrating to my lower kids. Some kids need to practice something over and over to get it. I do a lot of supplementing with the curriculum. We are getting a new curriculum and I'll be glad to see EDM go.
The program is ok for the average and advanced students but it isn't good for your low kids. It bounces around too much and doesn't give them enough time to learn one skill. That is the only problem I have had with it. I just add extra lessons in to reinforce the skills.
I had to sound redundant, but I agree with almost everyone! It's great for average or above average kids, but the lower ones really struggle with the way it teaches skills. The concepts come and go and they aren't required to 'get it' right away. Just like others I supplement with addition/subtraction fact practice. Overall, I really like it! Lots of real life scenarios. It DOES take getting used to. So be prepared for the initial shock of how they learn to do double digit addition and things like that - it's different than the way we all learned it.
Thanks for the article. I really enjoyed it and sent it on to others.
The school I worked at last year used everyday math for hte students. And I was shocked that the 5th and 6th grader added using touch math strategies, didn't know how to do long division and so on. I had a fun time teaching those skills plus the other skills htey needed to know.
In a nutshell, how does Everyday Math teach double digit addition?
It is called the partial sums algorithm. Basically you draw a line down the middle of the two digits and then add the tens on one line and the ones below the tens. Then you add the total tens and ones together on another line.... Wow that doesn't even make sense to me.... try this:
Does that make more sense??
Thanks, Darkhorse. I'm always on the lookout for nifty new algorithms.
(The only trouble with new algorithms is that people who've never encountered them before tend to dig in their heels. I could see a kid who'd learned this way to add getting into all manner of trouble on moving to a district that does things the old-fashioned way.)
Apr 10, 2008
Thanks for the replies. So they don't teach regrouping? Yikes! How are their assessments?
I don't teach the "partial sums" algorithm. We take a break for about two weeks and teach 2-digit addition and subtraction using the "regrouping" method. Partial sums is another way to think about addition, but it would get very cumbersome once you went on to 3 and 4 digit addition.
My classes have always done just fine with partial sums algorithm. Some of their parents end up showing them regrouping because they don't get the partial sums way, and that's okay with me. As long as they can add 2 digit numbers correctly! It seems that for the logical minds, partial sums make a lot of sense. You add your tens, then your ones. Their assessments turn out great.
I taught with a spiraling math series last year. I don't mind spiraling, but I feel more than one or two days needs to be spent on some things. The program I used only had two days teaching 3rd graders long division, and then they were expected to get it.
Everyday Math doesn't expect them to get it after two days. The idea is that they will work with it for a few days, and then it will disappear for a unit or two. Then it comes back and they work with it again. The idea is that it will continue to be reintroduced to them and they'll get it when they're developmentally ready.
Apr 12, 2008
I definately *don't* think EDM is a good book, but how different is that really from the "traditional" method that is common in the US? If this method confuses you, then I don't really think you understand addition, you simply understand a cookie cutter algorithm to do addition, because the method seemed immediately obvious to me. I would presume that most people who mastered addition would as well. In fact, a lot of smarter kids figure out that you don't need to start on the far right like a lot of teachers teach you.
If anything I think that method is less likely to cause problems because when you carry the one you write over existing numbers and it gets very messy and if not for the fact that the second number in the tens column was one I could see a stupid confusing the number that was already there with what they should write there instead. I can say that as a child that occasionally I got answers in math wrong in mutiple digit addtion and especially in multiple digit multiplication because the "standard" method causes you to have to write over digits, which causes confusion from previous digits that you crossed out and carried.
The method you show in question, I've never heard anyone give it a name, doesn't increase the amount of writing, which is common in a lot of ineffiencient math methods I have seen. Inefficient methods involve more writing and hence actually are more likely to introduce errors. If you consider that method unorthodox, you haven't seen anything.
The big problem in elementary math education is that most of the teachers are incredibly math phobic and they pass their math phobia onto their students. I work as a sub so I see various different grade levels, but one thing I find is that elementary school teacher tend to not assign a lot of math. When I was a kid in elementary school we pretty well inculcated addition into kids to the point that by the time 3rd grade rolled around and we got to multication that adding numbers repeatedly wasn't so hard. We just were given a new name for it and most kids figured it out. It seems a lot of elementary school teachers these days are trying to cover basic geometry, introductory set theory, basic series, basic algebra and so forth. It is great that we are introducing kids these concepts early, but sometimes I think that they aren't allowing enough time for students to master the material. Especially at that age, kids need more repitition because they haven't developed effective learning strategies of their own yet.
It's at least possible that what Darkhorse meant was that the prose explanation of the method wasn't coming out clear, not that the method itself isn't clear.
Prose explanations of math are notoriously pitfall-prone even when one is being more careful than one often is on a discussion board, so I'd hesitate to deem such a post grounds for asserting the poster's failure to understand fundamental addition.
The method doesn't seem that pitfall prone at all. It will always work, although I wouldn't teach it as the preferred method only because most people would spend an extra second more time because most people would write the zero as a place holder and for small numbers most kids should be able to add three one digit number in their head easily, which the "traditional" method assumes that you do.
The only *real* substantive difference I can see is that you start from the left instead of the right. Instead of putting the one that you carry at the top of the tens column you add it with the rest of the numbers. I don't think this is a *better* way to teach math at all, I just don't see how adults who actually understand math would be confused.
I didn't say the method wasn't clear. I suggested that Darkhorse might have feared that the prose explanation of the method that Darkhorse posted wasn't clear. There's a difference.
I just don't see how adults who are actually teachers would be confused by Teachergroupie's previous post.
Lectures aren't cool! People are just sharing their opinions on a unique system of math education.
I use Investigations, which is similar to EM in some aspects. I was a bad girl and didn't do all of the partial sum algorithms this year (my first year with it) but I plan to next year. My district is planning on doing a bunch of parent workshops to help the parents understand the "new math" as they like to call it.
Thank you, Teachergroupie, that's exactly what I meant when I said the explanation didn't make sense to me. I teach everyday math in my classroom and I completely understand how the algorithm works. I was referring to my poor verbal explanation skills when I said it didn't make sense. That's why I did a visual example.
One of those classic cases in which showing works a whole lot better than telling, no?
And thanks for answering my original question.
I agree about showing vs. telling. It works best for my students too! And you're welcome!
I have used EDM for 3 years. I really like some aspects of the program, but I also feel that it is hard to teach. They say that you aren't supposed to stop and reteach concepts that kids don't get right away... They say, "Trust the spiral". It was and is VERY hard to get past that. The games are fantastic and most of the lessons are great.
The problem with partial sums is when you have to add 2385 and 11968. Then, it does become error-prone because of the various partial sums you need to store. Partial sums still works in theory, but in practice the algorithm becomes a lot more reliable as a technique.
"Trust the spiral" may be very hard to get past because most mathematicians are unconvinced it works, and the US has famously one of the worst records for math education in the civilized world.
My son does TERC investigations in school, and Kumon (Japanese Kumon, not translation) at home. These (TERC and EDM) math programs are not trusted by parents. It also doesn't help that some suggest quite early reliance on calculators.
I flat out don't like it. I'm sorry, but we're falling farther and farther behind. My college students are getting stupider and stupider when it comes to basic math. There are some things that have changed in mathematics education that I like...for instance, teaching calculus through applications as opposed to proofs, but the basics HAVE to be there. How on earth is a kid supposed to learn how to add/subtract/multiply/divide polynomials, or factor a quadratic equation, or heck, even add basic fractions if they don't have their basic math facts memorized.
Apr 13, 2008
John Mighton (see his book The Myth of Ability and the Web site http://jumpmath.org/) has an interesting take on that: he argues that many kids need to encounter and have success with some really basic fractions (1/2, 1/3, 1/6) to help them buy into the proposition that (a) the basic facts are worth memorizing and (b) they really can do math.
May 3, 2008
I agree with your comment: How on earth is a kid supposed to learn how to add/subtract/multiply/divide polynomials, or factor a quadratic equation, or heck, even add basic fractions if they don't have their basic math facts memorized, but you can't blame that on Everyday Math. I have been in education for over 23 years and I have never used Everyday Math. Each year students come and go....some learn their facts and others don't. It is not because the teacher has not provided instruction or practice. An elementary teacher does not have more than 10 minutes a day to spend on basic facts. It is nothing but rote memorization. The memorization of these facts needs to be done at HOME. If parents are not willing to devote the time to helping their child learn multiplication facts, then the child won't learn them. Students that struggle with math need a conceptual method of learning math and basic facts. This is something that traditional program do not provide. A basic math program is not going to teach or help a student see that if they know 4 x 9 then they know 9 x 4. A hands on program that emphasizes conceptual understanding will.
May 4, 2008
I have to agree that kids struggling with math isn't new. Even when I was in elementary schools decades ago there were some kids that got it and some kids that really struggled with multiplication. Of course that is simply one slice of student success or failure in math amongst over a million other students that were at that grade level at that point in time. There are probably some teachers with even more experience than you that can probably say that 30-40 years ago kids struggled.
The whole multiplication is commutative idea is really important to introduce early. Knowing the name of the property isn't so important as knowing the idea. That one fact alone nearly cuts the number that kids must memorize in half. I was a fast learner in school so I pretty quickly learned the commutative property years before I learned the name of it in elementary school.
I never remember any of the teachers from 3rd grade when I first really remember multiplication in school anyways until 7th grade when I took Pre-algebra and was explicitly taught the all of the various properties of addition and multiplication in the first week. Maybe I have forgotten that I learned it earlier, but that is the point in time I associate with first learning that.
Had the teacher tried showing some of the struggling kids the concept of the commutative property some of those kids might have not been so math phobic later in life.
After attending an Inquiry Math Workshop, where the other teachers attending talked a lot about this program, I bought the level for my grade with my budget money. I still use my regular, district required program but use EM as my morning warm up. Because it is not school wide, I can pick and choose the parts I want to use, such as the calendar. During the PSSA testing, I didn't use it except for the calendar due to time but I will say that my students this year were great at fourth grade math vocabulary, as they used it daily. I don't know if I would enjoy using just that program. I like to mix it up a bit!