so our district has adopted the scott foresman investigations program for math. i went to the training workshop for it this summer already and am still skeptical it will work in my classroom. i teach at a math magnet and the students are supposed to be working at an advanced pace and i am worried that this program goes too slowly. also, it is a completely different way of teaching math-one that i have never taught and am not completely comfortable with yet myself. if anyone has used this program and can give me some pointers or some positive feedback from it, it would be greatly appreciated! we are just being told to "believe" that it works! :help:

We looked at it briefly about a year or so ago...we decided there's too much 'bad press' associated with it and passed. Miss E- do you have any flexibility with your program? Can you supplement with other materials, math games, problem solving activities to 'push' your students' thinking? Or are you TIED to the Investigations program?

I feel sorry for you. Our district has that series, and I don't know that I have ever heard one positive comment about it. It is terrible. You will be supplementing all the time. We are going to be piloting 2 new series this year in our district. I plan to pretty much use the pilots for most of my math. I'm sorry to be so negative. I'm actually really surprised that districts are still using Investigations!

There are many, many holes in the curriculum. We were all supplementing constantly. There is also no mastery. At some point, the students do need to learn their facts, and this series never really incorporated that into it. We were highly disappointed. Better? Ummm....probably pretty much anything! We are piloting Everyday, and Math Expressions. Our attitudes are 'anything has to be better than what we have!'

I also work at a math magnet and use Investigations. Our school also is on a math grant for a program called Direct Mathematical Thinking (DMT). It teaches kids strategies other than the traditional algorithm, like they do in Japan, China and the Netherlands which are always the top 3 countries in mathematics. Learning something new and different is always hard, but after a year of teaching with Investigations (and DMT) and seeing how it really gets the kids a deeper understanding of math concepts, I am sold on it. I understand people's reluctance, but our nation is very LOW in math standings so the traditional way isn't working. Kids do learn their math facts, BUT not through rote memorization. Of course their are holes in Investigations, but there are usually holes in all math programs. I think that's the fun part of being a teacher is being able to fill in those holes. No curriculum is truly complete. I recommend a book by Van De Walle that has great math lessons in it that really take things to a deeper level. I got it on amazon for under $20 and I refer to if often for math activity ideas. If you want to talk further PM me. I know the frustration with Investigations, but my suggestion is just give it a chance! I also know the pressure of working at a math magnet, so if you want to compare notes...let me know!:thumb:

we are definitely bound to investigations....we have actually had the program in the past and that WAS our supplement...we used the scott foresman "bear" book and other things bc of our math program and investigations was the extra...now they have changed it and as far as i know, we are not allowed to use any other supplemented programs...it is our one and only anchor math program

i am very open to new ideas but it just seems like im going to have to train my mind to think differently as well. and the parents i know will question why students are doing things the way we were taught and they will try to help them with homework at home and the student will get confused. we were told that u cant teach it both ways...for example, you can not teach tradiation carriying in the tens place and then the way investigation teaches it bc the student will get confused and it will be a major set back....how did you explain it to parents...im vvery concerned!! i thought coming out of the training would give me a better understanding and calm my nerves, but it did the opposite!!!

Miss E.-maybe we are in the same system. I am going to training later this summer for the same thing.

Our school does teach the traditional algorithm, but we usually teach it last. At that point the kids can better understand the algorithm, not just memorize the steps. Parents are confused because it's not how they were taught and I usually just empathize with them and share my initial reluctance then say something along the lines of, it's just helping them understand that in 19+11 you're not carrying a one...you're carrying a 10! So the student has a better understanding of place value. Also, if I gave you the problem 19+11 you wouldn't likely do the algorithm in your head...you'd round 19 to 20 and then subtract one. It's a more natural way to think. Also, this gives kids an arsenal of math strategies to use if they want to check their work. I used to hate when teachers would ask me to check my answer...if I perform the algorithm again...I am likley to make the same mistake if I don't really understand what I'm doing.

I have to say that my school used Investigations and for the first time.......they finally listened to us, and decided to use a different math program, HSP. Let me tell you, I haven't heard many good things from fellow teachers about how Investigations worked in their room. Now, I do like how the program encourages students to use higher level thinking and to "think outside the box" about math concepts. But, what about those students who have a hard time with thinking abstractly about math, what do they do. I just feel like the program has some strategies for teaching math concepts that are great! Like one way of teaching doubles facts is by reading the book Two Of Everything about a husband & wife who puts things in a magic pot and it doubles everything!!! So if they put in 4 gold rings, 8 rings will come out!!! My kids came up with their own "magic pot" equations/story problems and they had a ball!!! They loved doing "magic pot" problems. This is just one of the lessons I will always use to teach the concept because it works. But many other lessons I am glad I will never see again!!! So the advice I would give would be to just use Investigations for an additional way to teach a concept, but not the only way. And by the way, parents will be confused and upset about the homework. So many times I had parents write notes about how "they" didn't understand how to do the homework, although I made it clear that their child should know. But the parents were just frustrated because they wanted to teach concepts they way they learned them and somewhat felt incompetent because they couldn't really help their child do the Investigations homework when they needed help.

I have used Investigations for the last 6 or 7 years. There are parts I love and parts I hate about it. Pros: Really gets kids to think about math and have strong number sense, once you get used to the manual it is very easy to follow, higher level problems early on (which could be a con too), Lots of exploration and partner work, very little worksheets, software to download (free) is very cool for students to use, kids love pocket day. I you have a computer lab teacher/tech person have him or her download the software on all the computers. The computer lessons are fun and the kids love them. Cons: Lots of prep making the activities (tip:make them once and bag them and label them to use each year), Seems to jump into counting high amounts of coins before even introducing money and value, does not hit on telling time at all, no fact mastery just strategies and they are not hit on that much, lack of worksheets make parents question that math is being taught. I hope your district is buying you manipulatives because geoblocks and color tiles are used a lot. We adopted a new series for next year and I have to say that I am glad. I think that all the "big wigs" and administrators that love Investigations love the idea of it and don't understand how it is not that great for little kids. Let me know if you have questions. Just PM me if you need to.

We don't even cover money in our curriculum anymore, but have a lot on time, so this will be interesting to see how it pans out.

You hit every nail on the head!!! Especially about the pros of alot of partner work and the use of the "workshop approach" as far as a minilesson and then exploration time to practice the skill taught. I also agree with the cons that money and time is non-existent in Investigations!I did alot with money and time through Calendar Time in the morning in order to get it in so luckily, my kids didn't have a problem with understanding the skills to go with the concepts like making trades and elapsed time.

The district I just moved from had investigations before scott foresman started using it in their adoption. It is a great program and is very hands on. I hear that the new books are more teacher friendly as will. I enjoyed the program, but it was not our only teaching resource. We still have the regular text books as well.

I am very much into the workshop approach. When I went to the Investigations training, I thought it was extremely exciting. Teachers offered a lot of input about the newest editions of the Investigations manuals, and I am extremely energized by hands-on instruction. My district is making sure that all Title I classrooms have math manipulatives, and they are stored in drawers per group in my room. This year, I will go above and beyond enriching my students' minds, having them journal at least 175 days of the school year. I find it exciting that I can supplement and teach about a great deal of concepts such as factoring, conversions and square roots to prepare them for fifth grade. We have the regular textbooks as well, which I like because it can work well with the program. Growing up, I wanted to better understand mathematics, and I feel my students will have a strong grasp after this coming year. Additionally, the teacher who instructed the 25 fourth-grade teachers during the training HAD THE HIGHEST RESULTS IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA ON THE FCAT using Investigations. I am not feeling down about it at all.

The old investigations was bad and I THINK that is where most of the bad press comes from. We used the new investigations last year and holy cow! We watched our kids soar. I love this program!!! Our kids learned so so so much through exploration and problem solving. There are no major holes in the new investigations (at least not for nc schools) At first we thought there was no time but we actually discovered that it's covered all year in a daily routine. It is a completely different approach to math and it takes some getting used to but... Seriously, teach one or two units from it and you'll be in love. I would love to hear how it goes!!!!

P.S. we are school in improvement in math and our math EOG's had 80% growth from the previous year (which is unheard of!) I believe it's partly because of Investigations.

I've been teaching it a little over a week now and I love it. We were given the old investigations books a few years ago when we adopted Scott Foresman, and those were very confusing. But the new Investigations that we just adopted is great. The kids are having a fun time with it.

i agree...i was very very hesitant at first, but now i love it! it keeps the students engaged ALL the time...the downfall is A LOT OF PREP WORK for me, but i just handle it before i leave the night before....thanks for everyone's insights!

The old Investigations is not very good. The newest version is much improved. Telling time and money are covered, I've already started both since the beginning of September! I think you should see the improvements that have been made... I'm enjoying Investigations so far!!