#### cestabrook

##### Full Member

I teach 5th grade and we are presently using HARCOURT BRACE for our math program. I HATE IT and desperately want my district to look at EVERY DAY MATH! I want to present to my school board because I feel so passionate about changing our present math program. I have a personal investment in this, too. I have a first grade daughter in my school system and another daughter and son on the way. My loathing for Harcourt was confirmed at a conference when a reputable speaker talked about "HB" being "one of the worst texts out there" - I later confirmed with her that she was, in fact, speaking of Harcourt Brace. HARCOURT teaches the algorithms which kids perform like robots without a deeper understanding. Once a concept is taught, that's pretty much it except for a few review problems on the practice masters.

I've read many articles supporting and bashing EM in the Proteacher archives. Do people mostly bash EM bc. it's different. I know the spiraling curriculum freaks people out. Please help me shed some light on this math program. Does it fail becasue there is not enough teacher and parent training. I know it's difficult to introduce the program at the upper elementary level to kids who have a traditional math foundation.

I have used some of EM's "math boxes" and the games since 1993 but after 12 hours of training and having a better understanding of program, I absolutely LOVE IT! Also Rachel McAnallen, a.k.a Ms. Math, recently inspired me at a keynote speech in Vermont. PLEASE visit her at mathchannel.com, sign up for a 10-day trial, and listen to her "keynote" on "Mathematical Understanding." It will change the way you think about math.

EM's rubrics force teachers to get to really know their students as mathematicians. It truly is a program where "sense-making" occurs.

I love EM's "partial sums." If someone threw lots of money down on the table (ones, tens, and hundreds) wouldn't you grab the hundreds and count them first? That's what partial sums does.

ex. 858 + 453

First add the hundreds- 1,200

tens 100

ones 11

SUM is 1,311

With the partial lessons for PRODUCTS, I never have to worry about the kids forgetting to put the stupid zeros down below when they solve 26 x 34. With partial products, the digit three keeps its name, 30, and is RESPECTED for it true place value! I used to think my M&M trick was so great- "Kids, now you multiply 26 times 30 so cover the 4 with an M&M and make it a zero bc. it's really a 40 and then put an M&M down below to keep the place value consistent." This is fine but AFTER they have deep understanding that they are multiplying 4 pairs of numbers and their place value names are respected! (ex. 30 x 20 = 600, 30 x 6 = 180, 4 x 20 = 80, 4 x 6 = 24. Add it all up and get 884! Lattice multiplication is taught too which deepens understanding. Trades-First, too! WOW - kids learn 3 strategies!

EM's cooperative games promote skill-building, mathematical reasoning, and discussions of strategies amongst students in the classroom. The games ARE the bulk of the skills practice! In our society don't we already have enough tv, computers, computer games, and worksheets to further weaken kids' language skills. We learn to talk through talking and there's not enough of it happening within our own families. Think about the discussion between a parent and child as they play an EM math game together. There is a new EM "Skills Link" and "Operations Handbook" for teachers who don't find the "math boxes" to be enough "skill & drill" worksheet practice.

Every town that surrounds my affluent town uses EM. People move to my town because of the "great schools" and I cringe as most teachers dish out workbook pages for each and every subject. I researched on the internet and found that most of the top schools in our country are using EM. I know many districts feel that EM is too rigorous for students and teachers,too, for that matter. Yes, it is a spiraling curriculum but skills are clearly labeled "Beginning, Developing, and Secure." Skills and concepts are revisited and kids that didn't get it the first time often pick it up later. I've seen classrooms with clearly marked posters for each unit clarifying which skills are "B, D, or S" and parents regularly receive letters as well. Why can't you just label the "math boxes "B, D, and S?" The data is out there- Hampton, NH has all of EM's "Math Masters" on a spreadsheet for each grade level and all boxes are labeled according to its expected level of understanding. Then kids can feel good when they can answer the "Secure" problems and not worry too much when they miss problems that are "Developing" and "Beginning" skills.

Parents who balk at EM– I wonder, did they have good math experiences in school? Do they have a deep understanding of mathematical concepts or did they memorize the rote procedure? They say, "I learned the traditional way and it worked for me. Why change?" Do they realize when American companies hire their math people they often hire people from India and Singapore (Singapore - now there's another cool math program!), people who have strong number sense, the ability to "play with numbers" and solve problems in a variety of ways.

We teach children to use multiple reading strategies to make meaning of text: visualize, predict, infer, visualize, summarize, reread, etc.

Children also need a “tool belt” of math strategies, not just traditional textbook step by step, linear methods to solve algorithms that mostly benefit kids who have good memories. EM encourages estimating before figuring out exact answers and using mental math. These kids will be the ones correctly making change in their heads in stores versus the traditionally taught kids who wants the scrap paper so they can subtract $8.49 from $10.00 by "killing" the 1 and changing the 3 zeroes into 9's and 10's and if they get a crazy answer like $2.51 or $2.49 they don't even bat an eyelash.

I always taught kids how to compare fractions by finding common denominators the rote way and too soon I showed them how to magically cross-multiply to see which fraction was larger. It wasn't until I taught them benchmark fractions and showed them how to find common denominators by using manipulatives such as fraction circles, Cuisenaire rods, and fraction bars that they truly understood what they were doing. And then we talked about when in their lives they would need to use this skill. EM uses lot of manipulatives to enhance discovery, engagement, and understanding.

Is this "New Math" scary because it's new? Chicago Every Day Math started after companies hired University of Chicago mathematicans to find out why Americans continued to do so poorly in math compared to other countries. After a 10-year study of math programs ALL OVER THE WORLD, Every Day Math came to be.

Do you want the some of the same doctoral procedures done on you today that were performed 50 years ago?

Wow! Excuse me for rambling on! And my school district does use the 6+1 Trait program (we do do some great things!) so excuse me for not going back and checking the trait of organization. I did try to check for most convention mistakes.

Tell me why my district should not adopt EM as their math program?

What can I say to my school board to convince them that EM is the way to go?

Thank you, in advance, for your responses!