Didn't the National Council of Math Teachers (may not have the order correct on the name... NCTM?) just publish their findings that kids need EM-style concept learning PLUS sequential learning?

That said, I am really frustrated with this program for my 2nd grader. The spiral nature of the program drives me nuts, because it drives my DD nuts. Seriously, how many times do they need to read and mark on a thermometer? I understand the need for review, but to build this in as a unit study repeatedly what does it do to the kids who have mastery?

I'm ready to take my battle to the school. They do EM and Singapore, but 95% of their homework is simple EM sheets. My plan is to find out from the teacher what math work they are doing in class. I'm hopeful the homework is not a direct representation of class work but I need to get details before I take the next step.

Does anyone have any resources on early childhood education and math? Specifically I'm looking for studies citing what impacts boredom can have in early years, or on spiral programs with skills already mastered. Has anyone taken on EM?

Thanks!

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Alright, so help a girl out. What is EM?

Quote:

Eeeeep! Sorry. EM = Everyday Math. It's a spiral math curriculum taught in many elementary schools.

Supervee: I'm browsing http://www.nctm.org/ right now looking for info. Thanks!

Eeeeep! Sorry. EM = Everyday Math. It's a spiral math curriculum taught in many elementary schools.

Supervee: I'm browsing http://www.nctm.org/ right now looking for info. Thanks!

I'm actually a little torn on the whole memorization "issue"... but I learned mine as a child, and I still use that knowledge daily.. so I'm thinking it's a good thing to memorize the facts AND know the theories and teh "why" and "how" of math.....

I'm not a parent of a gifted child, but I was a gifted child myself and am now a curriculum specialist in a school that uses EM.

I guess I don't understand the concept that spiraling is the element that causes boredom in EM. I remember as a child and when we studied thermometers we read them for day after day for a week. I was bored by the 4th problem. Then the following year we had a day of "review" on the same topic, and again the next year. I guess I don't get why that's not equally boring.

I see pluses and minuses with EM. I actually think it serves our gifted kids a little better than a "traditional" math program, because it's quicker paced, and because the element of strategy in the games makes that element less boring, but, in my experience, like any math program it still requires a lot differentiation to work for a wide range of kids. Where I feel like it falls down the most is with kids at the bottom end of the skill range -- it relies too much on the assumption that every kid is coming in with well developed language, and doesn't do much to either build math language or help kids who don't have it compensate.

I guess I don't understand the concept that spiraling is the element that causes boredom in EM. I remember as a child and when we studied thermometers we read them for day after day for a week. I was bored by the 4th problem. Then the following year we had a day of "review" on the same topic, and again the next year. I guess I don't get why that's not equally boring.

I see pluses and minuses with EM. I actually think it serves our gifted kids a little better than a "traditional" math program, because it's quicker paced, and because the element of strategy in the games makes that element less boring, but, in my experience, like any math program it still requires a lot differentiation to work for a wide range of kids. Where I feel like it falls down the most is with kids at the bottom end of the skill range -- it relies too much on the assumption that every kid is coming in with well developed language, and doesn't do much to either build math language or help kids who don't have it compensate.

Amy

4

Quote:

Thanks so much for adding to the conversation. You will have a unique perspective and I imagine much more insight into the program then I. Do you work with the EM curriculum? I hope you don't mind if I pick your brain for information.

Quote:

That would be boring. The problem I see is that it appears they are doing more then a week of review, and I have not seen any accounting for kids who already have mastery. Take the thermometer example; they introduced it in K, did another entire unit on it in 1st (seems to be 3-4 weeks per unit? I'm estimating and could be off.), reviewed it again in 1st, are doing another unit on it now in 2nd. The spiral nature of the program appears to assume that kids did not get mastery of the skill when it was first introduced in K. But what of those kids who did? What of the kids who have mastery across the board, not only dealing with temperature, but with telling time, addition and subtraction and money?

From a parental perspective I am not seeing much change from the 1st grade curriculum to the 2nd. I see lots of review, and not enough building on learned concepts. I do admit to having very little information on what actual work looks like in the classroom, and like I said that is the first step I will take. Though DD says she's bored with math, I am willing to go into it assuming classwork is different then homework but it is something I need to confirm and see first hand. I do know they discussed Celsius and Fahrenheit this year, that's new. Since school started in August I am not able to come up with anything else that was new to her, she's had mastery of most of these skills since K.

FWIW - she is learning the importance of paying attention to her work. She has consistently rushed through the math work this year claiming it was "too easy, and boring" and made careless errors because of it. This was a new reaction this year. Last year she aced every test (she's a perfectionist) so the change was surprising. This was a valuable lesson, and one I imagine required this type of scenario (being asked to do repetitive work she'd already mastered). I am happy we discovered the tendency to rush through easy stuff so young in order to develop those skills. I am worried about this trend continuing, and I am uncomfortable asking her to continuously "do your best, even with the easy stuff" when everything seems easy to her, that's all she appears to do right now IYKWIM. She loves math, but I fear her passion could be overshadowed by boredom if she's not being challenged. (Yes, we supplement at home at her request.)

Quote:

I'd love to hear how it is paced versus other programs. Like I said, I'm not seeing it. I do agree the games are wonderful, but they aren't appropriate for my particular child. While she _loves_ them, they either are review to her or are speed games to increase memorization of basic math facts (which I see value too and appreciate their inclusion in the program).

I have heard complaints from some parents who were frustrated with the reading level requirement in 1st grade for components of EM.

Thanks for your insight.

Originally Posted by Momily I'm not a parent of a gifted child, but I was a gifted child myself and am now a curriculum specialist in a school that uses EM. |

Quote:

From a parental perspective I am not seeing much change from the 1st grade curriculum to the 2nd. I see lots of review, and not enough building on learned concepts. I do admit to having very little information on what actual work looks like in the classroom, and like I said that is the first step I will take. Though DD says she's bored with math, I am willing to go into it assuming classwork is different then homework but it is something I need to confirm and see first hand. I do know they discussed Celsius and Fahrenheit this year, that's new. Since school started in August I am not able to come up with anything else that was new to her, she's had mastery of most of these skills since K.

FWIW - she is learning the importance of paying attention to her work. She has consistently rushed through the math work this year claiming it was "too easy, and boring" and made careless errors because of it. This was a new reaction this year. Last year she aced every test (she's a perfectionist) so the change was surprising. This was a valuable lesson, and one I imagine required this type of scenario (being asked to do repetitive work she'd already mastered). I am happy we discovered the tendency to rush through easy stuff so young in order to develop those skills. I am worried about this trend continuing, and I am uncomfortable asking her to continuously "do your best, even with the easy stuff" when everything seems easy to her, that's all she appears to do right now IYKWIM. She loves math, but I fear her passion could be overshadowed by boredom if she's not being challenged. (Yes, we supplement at home at her request.)

Quote:

I have heard complaints from some parents who were frustrated with the reading level requirement in 1st grade for components of EM.

Thanks for your insight.

Quote:

I taught EM last year (this year I don't teach math at all, but I do supervise/mentor teachers who use it) and have taught lots of other programs. Every program I've seen spirals year to year. In a "traditional" math program there's usually a week of review at the beginning of each "unit" -- lots of unit means lots of time spent on review. One difference with EM and Saxon (an even more spiral program) is that they spiral day to day. So, for example, our first graders learned to count pennies at the beginning of the year (review from K), then they went on to study other things, and then in mid September they learned to count nickels and pennies. Then a few weeks ago they learned to count dimes and pennies, and soon they'll be intro'd to dimes, nickels and pennies altogether. In the meantime while they're learning this they've also learned to tell time, and recognize, write and compare 2 digit numbers, and work with fact families, and solve simple word problems etc . . . The other difference with EM (but not with Saxon) is that in addition to going back to review previous grade levels (which again, every math program does) they also "preview" things for the next grade level. That is they touch on them lightly but don't expect the kids to master them. This is a mixed blessing for gifted kids -- on one hand it may provide them with some things that are new and challenging for them (or it may not if they're more than a grade or two advanced), on the other hand they may get the concept very quickly and then the following year it will feel like review too.

There are a couple of things besides the games that I like about EM that I think do work well (or at least better than Saxon or a traditional program like Scott Foresman) for gifted kids. One is the fact that there are more opportunities for open ended questions -- the other day, for example, I was supporting one of our bright LD kids in 2nd grade math. The task was to make up their own "fact triangles" with 3 numbers that could be used to make a subtraction or addition fact. Most of the kids were writing combinations like 3, 4 and 7 but my guy started out writing multidigit numbers, and then went on to algebraic combinations using symbols and no numbers whatsoever. The second thing is that for kids who are asynchronous within math the spiral can be a great thing. I was somewhat that way -- overall I was great at math, but I had some fine motor problems that made things like lining up the numbers for long division challenging. So I'd be bored stiff during most of the year when things were significantly below me, and then there'd be a 4 week period when I was working pretty hard motorically at least, and would get bored in a different way. With EM that one thing that's hard would be distributed throughout the year a little bit each day, rather than suddenly popping up and wreaking havoc.

On the other hand, I think there are things in EM that are problematic -- one problem I see with the spiral, and the pacing (I'm not thinking of the pacing over the year, but the fact that each lesson is divided into lots of 5 or 10 minute bits, so a teacher who wants to differentiate has to come up with a different strategy for each bit, as opposed to a teacher working with a traditional program who knows that they'll have the kids do 30 minutes of 2 digit addition, and can differentiate by giving out a harder worksheet, or letting the child race through and then read at their desk.

There are a couple of things besides the games that I like about EM that I think do work well (or at least better than Saxon or a traditional program like Scott Foresman) for gifted kids. One is the fact that there are more opportunities for open ended questions -- the other day, for example, I was supporting one of our bright LD kids in 2nd grade math. The task was to make up their own "fact triangles" with 3 numbers that could be used to make a subtraction or addition fact. Most of the kids were writing combinations like 3, 4 and 7 but my guy started out writing multidigit numbers, and then went on to algebraic combinations using symbols and no numbers whatsoever. The second thing is that for kids who are asynchronous within math the spiral can be a great thing. I was somewhat that way -- overall I was great at math, but I had some fine motor problems that made things like lining up the numbers for long division challenging. So I'd be bored stiff during most of the year when things were significantly below me, and then there'd be a 4 week period when I was working pretty hard motorically at least, and would get bored in a different way. With EM that one thing that's hard would be distributed throughout the year a little bit each day, rather than suddenly popping up and wreaking havoc.

On the other hand, I think there are things in EM that are problematic -- one problem I see with the spiral, and the pacing (I'm not thinking of the pacing over the year, but the fact that each lesson is divided into lots of 5 or 10 minute bits, so a teacher who wants to differentiate has to come up with a different strategy for each bit, as opposed to a teacher working with a traditional program who knows that they'll have the kids do 30 minutes of 2 digit addition, and can differentiate by giving out a harder worksheet, or letting the child race through and then read at their desk.

Without adding to the debate on EM, I recently went into my dd's Parent-Teacher conference with my one big question being what their strategy was going to be to keep my dd interested in math. Before I even got to ask my question the teacher volunteered that my dd and a couple other kids in the class would be working on a mix of EM and some other things (Einstein math? Is that software?). The teacher said my dd may not have homework every night because there was no point in her continuing to practice the skills she had already mastered, so when the EM curriculum introduced new topics she had not mastered yet she would do the EM work and when the EM curriculum spiraled back to things she already knew she would do this other math work which happens to not have as much homework, so don't think she is doing less math just because she has less homework.

I was, of course, quite pleasantly surprised. My advice would be don't assume it's going to be a battle and don't take the approach of criticizing EM at all. I would just set up a meeting with the teacher to talk about ways to keep your child excited about math and see what comes out of it.

I was, of course, quite pleasantly surprised. My advice would be don't assume it's going to be a battle and don't take the approach of criticizing EM at all. I would just set up a meeting with the teacher to talk about ways to keep your child excited about math and see what comes out of it.

2

Thanks for your posts.

Momily's last post helped me come to the realization that I think we would have this problem no matter what the curriculum was, as long as it was grade specific. The programs I've looked over all seem to follow the same basic curriculum. So even if the school switched to a different math program, as long as they were teaching the same concepts she would be bored. I believe the issue is truly that she needs differentiated work.

I was not planning on going in guns blazing
. My intention was to find out what the in class curriculum was like first based on my desire to assume that homework was not a true representation of class work. DD has gone through phases in school with math. She will be bored, then won't be, then will be, then won't be. I see that this cycle coincides with the start of any new EM unit and I assume it's the spiral nature of the program and starting off with review.

That said it seems the teacher is on the same observation cycle DH and I are. It appears when I start worrying about her being bored, their is a good chance the teacher is noticing it as well because she had given DD and a couple other kids some math and logic puzzles to do for fun. I'd also like to note that DD's homework last night was not on reading a thermometer, but doing addition facts in the hundreds with estimation and, yes... even carrying. Even though DD already knows how to do this, it is something she loves to do and she was thrilled with the homework. Tonight's homework was similar to last nights, as was their in class work today. And yup, all of it came from the EM books. I found it ironic and timely with my post.

We are going to focus on keeping her challenged. I am still concerned about the effects on a child who is frequently bored with a subject she loves and fear it could turn her off from it. For now it is her passion and we will continue to feed it at home while observing the classroom environment.

Thanks!

Momily's last post helped me come to the realization that I think we would have this problem no matter what the curriculum was, as long as it was grade specific. The programs I've looked over all seem to follow the same basic curriculum. So even if the school switched to a different math program, as long as they were teaching the same concepts she would be bored. I believe the issue is truly that she needs differentiated work.

I was not planning on going in guns blazing

That said it seems the teacher is on the same observation cycle DH and I are. It appears when I start worrying about her being bored, their is a good chance the teacher is noticing it as well because she had given DD and a couple other kids some math and logic puzzles to do for fun. I'd also like to note that DD's homework last night was not on reading a thermometer, but doing addition facts in the hundreds with estimation and, yes... even carrying. Even though DD already knows how to do this, it is something she loves to do and she was thrilled with the homework. Tonight's homework was similar to last nights, as was their in class work today. And yup, all of it came from the EM books. I found it ironic and timely with my post.

We are going to focus on keeping her challenged. I am still concerned about the effects on a child who is frequently bored with a subject she loves and fear it could turn her off from it. For now it is her passion and we will continue to feed it at home while observing the classroom environment.

Thanks!

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