Our district has recently adopted the Holt line of math books for grades 6-8 (last year adopted it for Algebra... maybe the other high school classes, though I am not sure). Today we spent all day setting up a pacing guide and making sure that we will teach all of our state standards. I was just wondering if anyone has experience with this series, and if you would be willing to share tips you have discovered with it, or warnings, insight, etc. I am looking forward to it, because our previous math series was Connected Math Project and our students were not learning much from it. They liked doing the little projects, but even with teacher directed portions, they wouldn't grasp the concept... Thanks in advance!

Last year my school used mainly connected math, with another more traditional text as a backup. This year we switched to Holt, with connected math as a backup. Holt has TONS of materials that can be useful - assessments, powerpoints, practice materials, etc etc. It is very straightforward, progressing logically from one concept to the next. However, it can be dry. If you stick to it every day it can become quite boring, something I am struggling with. Supplementing with activities from connected math helps, but it can be hard to weave them together. PM me if you have more questions!

That part has me confused. Where does teaching enter into all this? Isn't it up to the teachers to explain the concepts? In my experience, math texts are typically impossible to understand. My work as a freelance writer helped me understand why that was so. But my job as a teacher means I take the topics from the book and explain them to the kids so they do grasp the concepts. The textbook sometimes becomes a source for homework and practice problems.

Maybe I just phrased it badly. My students wouldn't make the connections between the problems in CMP to the concepts that I taught them. They did better when I stuck to more traditional teaching, rather than the constructivist kind of learning that CMP promotes.

I'm sorry... I hope that didn't come off as critical. I just so rarely use the textbook, aside from homework, that it wouldn't really matter which textbook I taught from.

Alice: Don't worry! I didn't read it that way -- just that I wasn't clear in what I mean. I do feel that I rely heavily on the books, but I am still kind of new to the field. I rely on it less than I did last year, so I think I am making progress. Robinsky: Unfortunately, next year we are asked to "maintain strict fidelity" to the Holt series -- no supplementing with CMP, unless we find a gap in the book that isn't matching the state standards. Just for one year, then we can start mixing and matching.

Well, there is some interesting stuff in Holt. I find the Alternate Openers of each section often have a more student-centered way to begin a topic. There are also some projects and games. There is so much material that it can be overwhelming, but if you sift through it there are some good materials.

I haven't personally used either series, but I do know when I have tried to allow students to "discover" a math concept completely on their own, they couldn't do it to save their lives! I try to incorporate some exploration along with my direct instruction to speed up the generalizing and application. I'd never get through all of my standards if I let them do it all on their own.

My old district used Connected Math (CMP), and I absolutely despised the curriculum. For a high-poverty urban district, I strongly feel that a Constructivist book is only good as a supplement for a traditional textbook curriculum. I agree with Alice's comment that all textbooks are hard to follow without good instruction, and it really takes a good teacher to teach math well regardless of the book. At the same time, a really terrible curriculum makes the young teacher's job really miserable. For sure, this was the case for me. Due to my complete exasperation with CMP, I personally purchased the MacDougal Holt Mathematics Course 2 (2010 edition) book and really like the straightforward delivery. I've found that many of the chapters closely align with our state standards and are broken down clearly enough for most kids and their families to follow. Yes, the teacher will need to do a lot still. However, she will not be hamstrung like she would be with CMP. For more information on "fuzzy" math: http://mathematicallycorrect.com/intro.htm#from