Math teachers, your thoughts on textbooks...

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by GTB4GT, Aug 2, 2014.

  1. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2011
    Messages:
    745
    Likes Received:
    143

    Aug 2, 2014

    some background. we are switching to common core standards AND a new curriculum this year. despite asking for our schedules at the end of the school year, we have just received them (about a week ahead of students reporting). So we are scrambling/

    To further add to the confusion, we will not have any new textbooks . I have taught 3 different math topics - 2 of which had great textbooks aligned to the standards, rich examples and great practice problems, test generating software and question banks, etc. One book was garbage and thus I didn't use it - developed my own lessons, tests, assignments, etc.

    Quite frankly, I felt better about the classes in which I was supported with the books/resources. I could use other things as necessary but I just felt like I had more resources and tools at my fingertips and spent less time "hunting" for material, assignments, etc.

    So, for you math teachers specifically, what are your thoughts about having textbooks? Do you use them much or do you prefer designing your own lessons? Fortunately I have one subject that will not be changed by any of the above but for the other two I will be not only planning my lessons but doing all the leg work that goes into not having any materials. I am a bit apprehensive that I can pull this off (and meet my own expectations for myself).

    btw, I am not looking down at my peers in other disciplines but I am pretty sure that the English teachers in my school don't use textbooks in the first place. so operating without them would be the norm.
     
  2.  
  3. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,680
    Likes Received:
    450

    Aug 2, 2014

    I have never used a math textbook. This is our third year with common core. The Georgia state website has excellent math resources, as does Howard County.
     
  4. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2011
    Messages:
    745
    Likes Received:
    143

    Aug 2, 2014

    Can you elaborate? Do you do this by choice? If so, why? What grade level(s) do you teach?
     
  5. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,075
    Likes Received:
    14

    Aug 2, 2014

    Granted this was 5th grade, but I stopped using our text book for a couple of years. My scores actually showed improvement. The only problem I had was parents complaining. :lol:
     
  6. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2011
    Messages:
    745
    Likes Received:
    143

    Aug 2, 2014

    As I mentioned, I don't use a textbook either if I feel it is subpar.(Poorly written. Insufficent examples or explanation. Problems don't correlate closely with standards. etc.) OTOH, a good textbook is an invaluable tool for exactly the opposite reasons. If for no other reason than supplying the practice problems for a standard.

    If I seemed to imply a textbook was de rigor for teaching math I apologize as that was not my intent. I guess my intent was to say I would feel better equipped for the challenges ahead with appropriate resources (i.e. a good textbook, not just simply a textbook).
     
  7. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,075
    Likes Received:
    14

    Aug 2, 2014

    I didn't quit using it due to the quality of the text (first adoption was pretty good, second adoption was OK at best). I had a really hard time getting them to organize their papers. So I created everything, scaffolding the organization. At the beginning of the year, every problem was in a big box that had a work area and an answer area. As the year went on, we progressed to copying the problem on their own.
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,845
    Likes Received:
    1,678

    Aug 2, 2014

    Are you still able to use parts of the textbooks that you like to match parts of your curriculum?

    I rarely use a textbook with my grade 7 and 8 students, although I do have a half class set that I pull out on occasion if there are problems or practice that I like.
     
  9. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,680
    Likes Received:
    450

    Aug 2, 2014

    I teach 5, and I do not use a textbook by choice. Before Common Core, the text was mostly naked problems with limited problem solving. Math reasoning involves so much more than just rote procedures so word problems are essential. With the switch to Common Core, this is the first year there are even textbooks to match the standards. My district is not adopting one yet, as the committee still hasn't found something they like enough to be worth the money.
     
  10. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Messages:
    18,935
    Likes Received:
    676

    Aug 2, 2014

    I never used a textbook for teaching 5th through 9th grade math classes. I thought it would have been distracting. I always used the workbooks, though, and I mostly followed the order of the content in our textbooks because it worked.
     
  11. MsDouglas

    MsDouglas Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2011
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 3, 2014

    I don't use a textbook to teach high school math. The book is aligned with the curriculum for most of the units. If I get desperate for extra examples I will pull them from the book. I prefer to customize my interactive notebook pages, worksheets, activities and assessments.
     
  12. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,224
    Likes Received:
    147

    Aug 3, 2014

    I do teach English and have had classes with a text and classes without. The breadth and depth of material can be daunting. I preferred classes where I at least had a teacher's edition to look through. Is it an option to at least order one of those to help out?
     
  13. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,985
    Likes Received:
    435

    Aug 3, 2014

    Never used a textbook.
     
  14. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2011
    Messages:
    745
    Likes Received:
    143

    Aug 3, 2014

    I find it extremely interesting that responses to this thread, albeit an extremely small sample size, are pretty much against using texbooks. I just find a well written one to be such a valuable time saver for me plus it gives the students a quality reference tool for doing work at home (Not all my kids have internet access at home).
    If you don't use them does your district still provide them anyways? can you ask for the money that would be otherwise spent on textbooks for things like tablets, doc cameras, etc.?
     
  15. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,075
    Likes Received:
    14

    Aug 3, 2014

    If you don't use them does your district still provide them anyways?
    My old district did with the first adoption. With the second adoption, my P was anti-textbook, so she only purchased online resources because our district required it. No books or workbooks.

    can you ask for the money that would be otherwise spent on textbooks for things like tablets, doc cameras, etc.?
    In my experience, text book funds can't be transferred to another area. My old P would buy us Scholastic News/Time for Kids, books to copy from, etc... with textbook money. No technology allowed though.
     
  16. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    Messages:
    761
    Likes Received:
    4

    Aug 3, 2014

    Rarely. I will sometimes pull sample questions from them.
     
  17. MrsRed

    MrsRed Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2011
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 3, 2014

    I prefer having a textbook, for the same reasons you mentioned.
     
  18. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,985
    Likes Received:
    435

    Aug 3, 2014

    By law we have to have a textbook for every student in the classroom. Mine are kept in a cupboard beneath the sink.

    No, we can not get the money for not using them.

    I have not seen a textbook that I could use on a daily basis. I like seeing what my students do each day and tailoring the lesson for the next day based on what they do that given day. My students also have a math notebook, where they take notes, this is used as their reference tool.
     
  19. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2013
    Messages:
    4,252
    Likes Received:
    791

    Aug 3, 2014

    With my third graders, my print textbooks sit neatly on the shelf for about 175 days out of 180. The only time they come out is the day before my first absence of the year so that I can model the expectation with them, and then on days when I have a substitute.

    I do use a lot of the practice pages that come with it, and the online version includes some videos that I will occasionally show my kids.

    I do agree with liking to have a teacher's edition though. I don't use it very often, but there are times where I pull it out if I'm stuck thinking of a good way to introduce a particular topic, or if I'm looking for a good warm-up question.
     
  20. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2005
    Messages:
    5,277
    Likes Received:
    745

    Aug 3, 2014

    My state objectives are changing this year and we are getting a new adoption. I usually do not use a textbook, but I imagine that I will use it more this year so I don't have to create every single problem from scratch.
     
  21. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2013
    Messages:
    4,252
    Likes Received:
    791

    Aug 3, 2014

    Why would you have to create every single problem from scratch? Even when standards change, it's always more evolution than revolution.
     
  22. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2005
    Messages:
    5,277
    Likes Received:
    745

    Aug 3, 2014

    We have several new standards that are not even moved down from fifth grade like many of our new standards. Last year, I found that problems on TPT and other sites are far too easy so I have to make my own most of the time, so I don't see that changing.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. bella84,
  2. waterfall
Total: 538 (members: 4, guests: 518, robots: 16)
test