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Making Math Lessons as Easy as 1, Pause, 2, Pause ... (Singapore Math)
New York Times ^ | September 30, 2010 | Winnie Hu

Posted on 10/05/2010 5:20:53 AM PDT by reaganaut1

...

For decades, efforts to improve math skills have driven schools to embrace one math program after another, abandoning a program when it does not work and moving on to something purportedly better. In the 1960s there was the “new math,” whose focus on abstract theories spurred a back-to-basics movement, emphasizing rote learning and drills. After that came “reform math,” whose focus on problem solving and conceptual understanding has been derided by critics as the “new new math.”

Singapore math may well be a fad, too, but supporters say it seems to address one of the difficulties in teaching math: all children learn differently. In contrast to the most common math programs in the United States, Singapore math devotes more time to fewer topics, to ensure that children master the material through detailed instruction, questions, problem solving, and visual and hands-on aids like blocks, cards and bar charts. Ideally, they do not move on until they have thoroughly learned a topic.

Principals and teachers say that slowing down the learning process gives students a solid math foundation upon which to build increasingly complex skills, and makes it less likely that they will forget and have to be retaught the same thing in later years.

And with Singapore math, the pace can accelerate by fourth and fifth grades, putting children as much as a year ahead of students in other math programs as they grasp complex problems more quickly.

“Our old program, Everyday Math, did not do that,” said Danielle Santoro, assistant principal of Public School 132 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which introduced Singapore math last year for all 700 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. “One day it could be money, the next day it could be time, and you would not get back to those concepts until a week later.”

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Education
KEYWORDS: math; matheducation; singaporemath
I have used Singapore Math with my two boys and recommend it. I don't understand why the NYT describes it as slow-moving but welcome publicity for a good math curriculum.

I've read that Everyday Math has driven many parents to homeschooling.

1 posted on 10/05/2010 5:20:57 AM PDT by reaganaut1
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To: reaganaut1

Everyday Math is ridiculous.

OUr daughter’s school used Singapore Math and Saxon Math. I would not recomment Saxon Math since the pace is SLLLOOOOWWWWWWW. I would highly recommend Singapore Math. Singapore Math is very good and not a “fad”. Allot of mental math is done in Singapore Math.


2 posted on 10/05/2010 5:25:17 AM PDT by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: reaganaut1
For decades, efforts to improve math skills have driven schools to embrace one math program after another, abandoning a program when it does not work and moving on to something purportedly better.

So with all these program changes, why do our schools suck more and more each year? In all of this, there is but one common denominator - teachers unions and school boards hell-bent and determined to level the playing field by reducing it to the lowest common denominator.

Mathematical achievement is to be discouraged at all cost.

3 posted on 10/05/2010 5:25:26 AM PDT by Hoodat ( .For the weapons of our warfare are mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.)
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To: reaganaut1
I went through the new math in 6th through 8th grades and found it quite good.

Mathematics are in many ways a language and a better understanding of how it works and was developed is beneficial to those who are heavy users later in life. Learning Base 16 (or eight) would have been better than the Base 7 we used though.

4 posted on 10/05/2010 5:27:04 AM PDT by Paladin2
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To: reaganaut1
...

“The slower pace is a cornerstone of the district’s new approach to teaching math, which is based on the national math system of Singapore and aims to emulate that country’s success by promoting a deeper understanding of numbers and math concepts. Students in Singapore have repeatedly ranked at or near the top on international math exams since the mid-1990s. “

Sinapore Math is anything but SLOW. It moves at a fast clip and does an excellent job with critical thinking.

...

“Mr. Jackson said that students moved through a three-step learning process: concrete, pictorial, abstract. American math programs, he said, typically skip the middle step and lose students when making the jump from concrete (chips) to abstract (questions). “

Yes, there is more “pictorial” and YES, the ABSTRACT is missing with math programs like Everyday Math. I can't emphasize enough that Everyday Math is another DUMBED DOWN MATH PROGRAM researched to death by LIBERAL ELITES with the purpose of making math HARD TO UNDERSTAND. It doesn't fully explain what they are doing so kids are frustrated and confused. Even public school math teachers don't like it.

...

“Today it can be found in neighborhood schools like P.S. 132, which serves mostly poor students, as well as elite schools, including Hunter College Elementary School, a public school for gifted children in Manhattan, and the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, a private school attended by President Obama’s daughters.”

Yes, it is a good math program. Notice how the POORER districts get the BETTER MATH PROGRAMS. This is NOT an accident. This is another way of LEVELING the educational playing field.

My daughter received Singapore Math training from a private school as well as traditional math. This is why I can speak about Singapore Math.

5 posted on 10/05/2010 5:33:59 AM PDT by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: reaganaut1

We use Singapore Math (we homeschool).

My daughter has used it since Kindergarten, and is currently in 5th grade, last year she scored 96th percentile on the math section of her required standardized testing, so it must be a good “fad”.


6 posted on 10/05/2010 5:35:17 AM PDT by Cailleach
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To: Hoodat

Also note that the POOR public school ditricts get the BETTER Math program. Wealthier PUBLIC school districts get stuck with Everyday Math. This is NOT a coincidence.


7 posted on 10/05/2010 5:35:58 AM PDT by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: Cailleach

Yup!

It does outlive its usefulness when Algebra comes along. There the abstract advantage disappears. Our had it from K-5 and takes Algebra in 6th grade.


8 posted on 10/05/2010 5:37:58 AM PDT by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: Hoodat
To emphasis my point:

...

“SingaporeMath.com, a company that has distributed the “Primary Mathematics” books in the United States since 1998, reports that it now has sales to more than 1,500 schools, about twice as many as in 2008. And Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Math in Focus, the United States edition of a popular Singapore math series, is now used in 120 school districts and 60 charter schools and private schools, the publisher says. “

Private schools and PUBLIC schools in impoverished districts get Singapore Math. It's a superior program for elementary school. For middle school our school switched over to traditional math. In 6th grade she is doing traditional Algebra. Singapore is good for the abstract and the mental math part is excellent.

9 posted on 10/05/2010 5:41:48 AM PDT by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: reaganaut1

We use it, too, along with Kumon, Math Extensions, and IXL math (the best tool I have for measuring)

I guess the “slow moving” refers to the repetitive exercises in the workbooks. Too bad, learning math requires repetition!


10 posted on 10/05/2010 5:41:55 AM PDT by silverleaf (The lesser of two evils is still evil.)
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To: nmh

This video must be watched if your child’s school uses Everyday Mathmatics or TERC, both “reform math”.

Math Education: An Inconvenient Truth

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tr1qee-bTZI

Our son’s Washington State school used it up until this year, and it is as bad as the lady in the video is saying, even for his last years 2nd grade. The wife and I could not understand the second grade math algorithms and had to send several notes back to the teacher telling her we don’t understand the instructions on problems x through xx, so how are we supposed to help him?

This year after failing math scores district wide and many complaints from parents, they switched to Math Expressions http://www.mathexpression.com/ which is a thousand times better – and more like the basic math we had back in the 60s and 70s


11 posted on 10/05/2010 5:49:16 AM PDT by NavyCanDo
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To: NavyCanDo

It’s hard to believe we’re still trying to figure out how to teach math.


12 posted on 10/05/2010 6:01:39 AM PDT by Huck (We need the spirit of '76, not the spirit of '87)
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To: reaganaut1

I used Singapore with a student a few years ago. He had been sailing along in math (in 4th), but was hopelessly confused in 5th as they introduced Singapore. Teacher said — “Do not use this without the teachers’ manual. You will not be able to teach it.” I didn’t bother, but I did not like it at all. For many reasons. I homeschooled my own son, so have some experience with a variety of programs; I consider Singapore a fad. Where oh where is the basic, old-fashioned math?


13 posted on 10/05/2010 6:38:09 AM PDT by bboop (Stealth Tutor)
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To: Paladin2

Ah, another of the fortunates! Those of us who had the old rote curriculum up until we learned all the basic math facts and the basic algorithms up through long-division, then got the “new math”, by historical happenstance got the best K-12 math curriculum the U.S. ever had. I had it in grades 4-6.

The problem with the “new math” was it was a disaster in K-3.


14 posted on 10/05/2010 7:09:27 AM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: Huck

It depends who “we” is. We, our society as a whole, or any group within it that contains even a single mathematically competent parent who has taught their own children, know how to teach math. The folks who have trouble with it are the products of colleges of education, who are besotted with Deweyite and Vygotskian theories of education, and thus have trouble with the emperical fact that methods based on those ideas do not work for teaching mathematics.


15 posted on 10/05/2010 7:13:35 AM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: bboop

I didn’t use SM, but I’ll be darned if I can’t teach 5th grade math without being told what to do and say and how to solve problems.


16 posted on 10/05/2010 7:14:52 AM PDT by Shimmer1 (They told me I was gullible and I believed them.)
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To: bboop

***Where oh where is the basic, old-fashioned math?***

But, but, but...publishers don’t make any money with old-fashioned math. And an assistant (or associate principal) doesn’t get promoted to principal unless they promote what SEEMS to be a better way to teach.


17 posted on 10/05/2010 7:17:57 AM PDT by kitkat (OBAMA hates us. Well, maybe a LOT of Kenyans do.)
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To: Shimmer1

‘Told what to do and say.’ Yes, exactly; I cannot stand that, either.

However, WE learned math the old-fashioned way. It was difficult (math is always difficult), we had to memorize a bunch of stuff (’just do it this way’), we were not expected to understand they why’s of every step, we learned it by rote, and by golly! it worked.

I just teach the way I learned. It makes sense to the students, they are relieved to have a clear and logical explanation, and they are happy to ‘just do it.’


18 posted on 10/05/2010 7:22:02 AM PDT by bboop (Stealth Tutor)
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To: reaganaut1

“New math,
New-hoo-hoo-math;
It wont’ do you any good
To review-hoo-hoo math.
It’s so simple,
So very simple,
That only a child can do it!”

—Tom Lehrer


19 posted on 10/05/2010 7:26:57 AM PDT by Erasmus (Personal goal: Have a bigger carbon footprint than Tony Robbins.)
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To: The_Reader_David
I'd agree that abstract math is not best for most lower el students and perhaps not for some significant fraction of older kids either. But it should definitely be available for the other fraction of kids.

I even remember that our books were written by SMSG. Manipulative math in lower el seems to be OK to me.

New Math

20 posted on 10/05/2010 7:27:54 AM PDT by Paladin2
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To: The_Reader_David
It sure seems to expose the "science" of pedagogy as quackery. Not surprising, since it falls within the bounds of psychology.
21 posted on 10/05/2010 7:28:38 AM PDT by Huck (We need the spirit of '76, not the spirit of '87)
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To: silverleaf
Too bad, learning math requires repetition!

It's too bad learning requires learning, but it does. Everybody wants an easy way out. There isn't one.

22 posted on 10/05/2010 8:53:07 AM PDT by stripes1776
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To: NavyCanDo
I've seen that video.

Also note that “collaborative learning”, a twister step sister of “cooperative learning”, group thing, whittles away their INDIVIDUAL self confidence. The GROUP decides the outcome. If problems arise they go to the teacher. The teacher will ANSWER them with another QUESTION. The collborativelearning teacher wants them to THINK their way through NEW concepts.

Needless to say it doesn't work. It only serves to frustrate students and turn them off from the hard sciences. Ones that CARE will work hard. Those that don't get pushed along. It doesn't take kids long to figure out who cares and who doesn't when working in a group.

To ensure the GROUP works nicely together, they tack on the “process” as being all important. The results don't really matter. It's the PROCESS which includes how kids, yes KIDS get along with one another in the “process” of learning. If a student doesn't want to do squat in the GROUP, then there is a problem with the PROCESS. That problem will affect the grades of all of them. So kids have to also learn to pretend the non-performer is contributing while in reality they SIDELINE the kids who don't care so the component of the “process” grade looks good to the teacher.

The focus is now on “process” not knowledge. Another “process” component is for kids to KNOW WHERE TO GET THE “KNOWLEDGE”. So what you'll have is kids who don't know much, look good working together with NO knowledge. I can't think of a worse combination.

Teachers do LESS work. Teach less. Parents see inflated grades because their non-perfomer is ELEVATED with "group think" and the bright kids beginto think, why bother. So within this "method" of learning it accomplishes a dumbing down and demoralizing of those that are performers.

It's already been proven that collaborative learning fails miserably in the hard sciences. That doesn't matter. It's the rage from PreK to 12th grade and college. It is a disaster but you can see how it all works together for the detriment of the student and accomplishes the goals of the LEFT. This is why we sacrifice and private school ours. I also supplement when I see fit at home.

23 posted on 10/05/2010 8:54:11 AM PDT by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: reaganaut1

Everyday Math is part of Reform Math, which is a cousin of New Math, and it’s all junk, or so I suspect.

Anyway, here are the four names I see praised by homeschoolers: Saxon, Singapore, Math Mammoth, and MathUSee.

I’ve asked two of these people, why don’t you create something for public schools??? We’ve got to purge Reform Math and now the Core Standards.

For years I thought non-phonics instruction in reading was the worst gimmick devised by our educators. But as I looked at New Math, I thought: this is nuts. no way you’d teach a kid like this. So now there are two “worst” gimmicks.

(Google “36: The Assault on Math” for more of this analysis.)


24 posted on 10/05/2010 5:54:15 PM PDT by BruceDeitrickPrice (education reform)
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