Why can't math just be math! VENT

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by myKroom, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. myKroom

    myKroom Habitué

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    Why do these new math series make it so stinkin hard for kids to understand math!? I'm getting so frustrated and I'm only teaching 1st grade math!!!!! GRRRR! I just want addition to be addition and subtraction to be subtraction! Why is that so hard????

    Addition is adding two or more groups together.

    Subtraction is taking things away from a group.

    THAT'S IT!!!! Why do they make it so much harder then that?

    My kids understand putting groups together and taking groups apart...but when I try following the math series they are lost! I understand that the series is trying to teach them strategies...but they are only in first grade!! There mind doesn't think that way! Only have about 3 kids that are grasping what the series is trying to teach! I don't know what to do!! I know that they will supposedly need the strategies in later grades...but isn't the real point that they CAN add and subtract??
     
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  3. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    My school uses a type of math system that is called a "spiraling method" or something like that. It basically teaches them how to do something in many different ways--- which honestly just frustrates the heck out of the students. I'm glad our 5th grade math teacher just does the basics and tries to do what is best for the student.... not what the book tells her.
     
  4. DenaliBear

    DenaliBear Rookie

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    When I was in school, I remember the teacher trying to teach algebra and then she would spin off with different strategies on how to solve the problem. At that point, I was just LOST.
     
  5. punchinello

    punchinello Comrade

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    I agree about the spiral method. A mile wide and an inch thick, as the saying goes. The jumping from one concept to another just doesn't work. If you have to preface a lesson with "You're not supposed to master this skill, we're just introducing it to you."....hmmmm. Not good teaching.

    The fun math games/activities are great for enrichment. After the skill has been mastered!

    School boards really fall for the newest gimmicks sometimes.
     
  6. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    A very wise teachergroupie once propsed this logic, and I tend to agree with it. Studies have shown that by 2rd grade children have figured out multiple strategies to add and subtract and have begun to develop strategies for reading and interpreting graphs." (or something to that effect). The powers that be read those reports and say, "well, if this is what children can do, then we should make it part of the standards and actually teach it." What they've missed is the fact that the children who develop these skills do it on thier own and only with a firm foundation in the fundementals. They've put the cart before the horse, so to speak.
     
  7. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    I agree I'm shocked at some of the math kids do today. I'll gasp and say "I didn't do this until college!" It is usually when it is something that I found to be really hard.
     
  8. roseteacher12

    roseteacher12 Habitué

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    whats funny is that the curriculum "Everyday Math" is made exactly this way! taught it last year in K and hated it! The spiraling makes no sense and it would be somehting like monday patters, tuesday counting, wednesday, sorting etc. Sometimes we introduced a topic then didnt get back to it again for weeks!
     
  9. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Giving a teacher a poor curriculum to work from is like giving a pro baseball player a wiffleball bat and telling them to hit home runs.

    And that's exactly what these districts are doing.
     
  10. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    And that goes double for teaching to the test...

    (I feel yet another rant coming on. Where's my chocolate?? If my housemates have scoffed the last of my Trader Joe's Pound Plus bar again, there will be hell to pay.)
     
  11. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Yeah...well, I hesitated to even post on this thread for a reason....I'm out of chocolate.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oh, there's still tons of Halloween candy in our freezer.
     
  13. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Send some south, will ya? I just read the other post tg is ranting about. I'm not even a linguist and I'm a little flustered on her behalf.
     
  14. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    The Halloween candy is looooong gone. Then again, I wasn't the one who bought it. M&Ms are useful for self-bribery but lousy as rant medicine.
     
  15. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I just walked in with Burger King, so I can rant. Our math program also spirals, but, our pacing chart has us skipping all over the book in addition to the spiraling. The theory is...if we skip around and teach a little bit about a lot of things in the 6 months we have to teach before the BIG TESTS, we might actually hit some of the skills on the test. Then, after the tests, we are supposed to go back and teach the stuff from the text that isn't on the test. We are specifically told...if it isn't on the test, don't teach it until after the test.
     
  16. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Will....

    Not....

    Get....

    Baited....
     
  17. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    mm, can we pleeeeeeease go kneecap someone?? I promise to finish my Brussels sprouts; I might even - gasp! clean my room...
     
  18. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    ohhhh, I might even clean the chocolate stain off the carpet if I get to do it. :D
     
  19. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I'll volunteer some people from my district who have large kneecaps...someone else will have to provide the kneecapping instrument.
     
  20. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I have three young boys...I'm sure they have something that would be suitable.
     
  21. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    "'Large kneecaps?'" she murmured, with a more than slightly predatory gleam in her eye."
     
  22. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    And this time of year, lots of people are still in shorts...wouldn't bare knees make a more effective target?
     
  23. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    You know...my niece read just the last few posts over my shoulders and remarked that we're a violent bunch. I said, no, just frustrated. :lol:
     
  24. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    I'll rant (please!)~ I just got off an hour long call with a teacher who specializes in multi-age classes (like mine) AND Everyday Math. Basically, using a program that glorifies the spiral, I'm supposed to break the spiral for my 2nd graders and "correlate" 2nd grade lessons to the 3rd grade ones, then the next year, keep the spiral as created for the 3rd graders, and break it for the new 2nd graders....

    And. Teach both Part 1s to the whole class and then send them to do seatwork with their grade level journal.

    This would be maddening but half-sensical if we were just teaching two grades out of necessity, but our whole philosophy is around constructivist learning for a group of multiage kids over two years.

    My hair is burning. Oh. Well.
     
  25. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I have often wondered how many ex-teachers are hired to write these textbooks?
     
  26. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    and then we wonder...

    :banghead:
     
  27. KLSSwimmer

    KLSSwimmer Habitué

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    LOL - I just have to say that ya'll are crackin' me up! :lol:


    btw - I totally agree with you! So, here's a big :yeahthat: to all of the above posts!
     
  28. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    When I was home with my kids, I did some freelance writing for a major textbook publisher.

    I only worked with them once. We weren't a good fit.

    They wanted lots of "white space." They wanted an entire topic broken down into 3 steps, whether it was adding fractions or dividing decimals. They wanted lots of pictures of California and Texas, the 2 big textbook buying states.

    I wanted detailed explanations that anyone could follow and lots and lots and lots of examples, in increasing order of difficulty.

    As I said, we weren't a good fit.
     
  29. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    My theory is that the math programs are trying to be the answer to the lack of "problem solving skills" that seems to be plaguing education. Now, if we had less prescribed programs and more time for educational planned free-play they would have a chance to have a problem and solve it for themselves, eliminating the problem in the first place! Oh and if the parents let the kids have problems and deal with it themselves - my mom surely didn't call my friend's mom when we had a problem, we got over it!
     
  30. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    What, you mean forcing 4 year olds to do desk work doesn't help them learn to solve problems? Oh, my!!!!
     
  31. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    "Heresy, heresy!"

    (Yeah, right, and I'm the Queen of Sheba and half her retinue.)
     
  32. erh3794

    erh3794 Rookie

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    oh my goodness.
    everyday math is the WORST set-up! and the silly games t hat go into really dont help.
     
  33. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    ITA, Tasha. ITA. I'll say it again. ITA.
     
  34. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    My current frustration with the spiraling math program is that there is no room for differentiation. If I have students who have mastered subtraction, I can't just move them to the next unit, because there are no units! There are only random skills presented in random order. It just totally goes against everything we know we're supposed to be doing...
     
  35. Katieladybug

    Katieladybug Companion

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    "Don't you know we have to be higher than the other countires in math scores"

    Ok great, but we are not teaching the same concepts at the same time and we are not testing on the same material. I REALLY dislike the spirals. What do you do with a student who moves into the district in 4th grade who has no exposure to any of the random things in the spiral. He fails math and the teacher gets blamed.

    Why can't teachers actually run book companies and the school?
     
  36. myKroom

    myKroom Habitué

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    You guys crack me up!!!!! I feel much better getting it all out! I do agree with the multiple people who have posted about teachers should run the curriculum companies...

    Or better yet...

    can't we just come up with our own curriculum as long as we meet district and state standards!!??

    That's what I did in Kindergarten!!
     
  37. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    And then I come in and have to fix all of this mess. I'm glad that I get to choose how to teach math and how long to spend on the standards/concepts.

    Kneecaps??? I'll just stick with the good old fashion kidney punch, thank you very much. :D
     
  38. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    lol peachy. That's how I felt in my college position. Gee, I get to mop up the mess created by the public schools. *sigh*
     
  39. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Never mind about the messes I get to mop up... the public school ones AND the college ones.
     
  40. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    lol...well, if you mopped up messes where I live you'd have that many fewer mops. :lol:
     
  41. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    The frustrating thing about all of this is that in many cases it hat nothing to do with the quality of teaching. The teachers have their hands tied but these rediculous rules imposed on people who have no clue what really goes on in a classroom.
     

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