Friday, March 12, 2010

Bellevue Chooses Holt Over Discovering

A story in today's Seattle Times reports that the math textbook adoption committee for Belleveue School District has recommended Holt materials.

Here are some critical lines from the story:

"Teachers and parents on the committee said they feared students struggling with math, and those who speak English as a second language, would not fare as well with the Discovering series."

"district teachers could do well with either textbook series. But he said the district should select textbooks that are best for students when they aren't in class. 'We need to get off the issue that the book has to fit the teacher'"

"Several teachers Thursday night argued that the Discovering textbooks would do a better job if taught in small classrooms, but because classes are large, and expected to grow because of budget cuts, they considered Holt the better option."


ArchStanton said...

"the Discovering textbooks would do a better job if taught in small classrooms, but because classes are large, and expected to grow because of budget cuts, they considered Holt the better option"

It's a good thing that's not a problem on this side of the lake.

seattle said...

Shoreline chose Prentice Hall over Discovering last year. This year they have a math adoption committee working on adopting new K-5 math materials that will align with their new HS materials.

Ananda said...

And Issaquah choose Discovering.

dan dempsey said...

No I do not think that Issaquah will approve "Discovering". The Superintendent recommended Discovering to the Board..... but don't confuse Issaquah with Seattle's rubber-stampers.

Issaquah directors plan on using evidence and the evidence clearly points away from Discovering and toward a text series with explicit instruction.

We have been submitting large amounts of factual information (you know the kind Seattle chooses not to use or submit to the court as evidence of competent decision making) to Issaquah's board members.

There is no way given directors comments two nights ago that "Discovering" is likely to be approved by the Issaquah Board.

wseadawg said...

Oh, the irony of SPS's arrogance in appealing the Math decision: "We're afraid this decision will have far reaching implications, blah, blah, blah." Right. Like other districts follow Seattle's lead. A bit conceited and arrogant, now aren't we? (We're on TV! Does that make us like movie stars?)

Actually, most other districts would do well to automatically do the opposite of what Seattle does. Apparently they figured that out a long time ago.

Patrick said...

Far reaching implications... like if we follow the law this time, we might have to follow the law next time too.

RickAndLink said...

Look at the recent district's adoption in the last 2 years. All of these districts learned from their mistakes and dumped inquiry-based curricula. Unfortunately Seattle did not have a clue. Most of these districts have not gone through a new middle school adoption, so they still have CMP or CMP2.

High School

Bellevue – Holt (to be approved)
Edmonds – McDougal Littell AGA – Prentice Hall Pre-Calc and Calc
Northshore - Prentice Hall
Tacoma - Prentice Hall
Shoreline - Prentice Hall
Spokane - Holt
East Valley – dual track Glencoe
Central Valley – Holt, Prentice Hall (piloting)


Bellevue - Math Expressions Northshore - Math Expressions
Edmonds - Math Expressions
Lake Washington – Envision, Math Connects (piloting)
North Shore – Math Expressions
Shoreline – Math Expressions, EnVision, Math Connects (piloting)
Central Valley – Math Connects

Middle School

Northshore – Holt
Central Valley – Math Connects

mamashines said...

Interesting... I just learned from an IF in Tacoma that the new state math test actually tests elementary aged children on traditional algorithms in multi-digit subtraction, multiplication and division.

grousefinder said...

Singapore Math:

Approved for adoption by California Board of Education.

Approved for Adoption by the State of Oregon Instructional Materials Committee.

Where is Washington on this list?

reader said...

And that would be oh, so wonderful... follow California down the garden path. If you ever look at Singapore math, you'll see there's absolutely 0 enrichment, 0 problem solving, and 0 math that actually makes math an interesting subject. That may be why people like it so much. If kids "do better", it's only because there's less to "do better" on.

grousefinder said...

Reader...I really would like to know why you feel so strongly that Singapore Math has, "0 enrichment, 0 problem solving, and 0 math that actually makes math an interesting subject." I have never heard this opinion before. Is this the general opinion of teachers in the Seattle area that you know?

I read an article about Singapore Math in the Seattle Times recently that said one Seattle school was doing quite well with it and that the teachers and students were very engaged with the curriculum. I think the article said that 2/3rds of the students were passing the WASL at Level 4 at 5th grade. Tell us why Singapore Math is such a poor curriculum.


reader said...

I have purchased quite a few of these Singapore texts and workbooks, and have done them. There's no interesting topics, purely the basics. For example, 5th grade Everyday Math has Egyptian fractions and other cool topics presented. Singapore? Nothing like that. Only the basics, and lots and lots of them. There's also very little (actually none) word problems or problem solving activities. It's easy to excel at something... when the complexity is absent. Singapore also has something called "Challenging Problems". That's a supplemental book. I have those also. Not very challenging... and no longer published. Not only does Singapore cover very little, it doesn't even provide a challenge at all...

And as to the basics, Singapore only covers 1 way to do any given topic. It only covers 1 way to look at any given topic. It also only covers the simplest cases. EG. Mutlitplying and dividing fractions? Let's stick to doing it with whole numbers.

So.... lots of people think it's great. The reality is, it isn't great... it's only less. If we think "disadvantaged" students can only do Singapore, then it's really just the racist attitude that "disavnataged" students are only capable of doing less, and therefore we should provide that in the way of a less enriched curriculum.

grousefinder said...

Reader...Singapore Math Word Problems (Grade 5):

There are 350 Pigeon eggs in Mr. Eggy’s stall. There are 100 fewer pigeon eggs than duck eggs. There are 500 more chicken eggs than duck eggs. Find the ratio of the number of duck eggs to the number of chicken eggs.

That was a standard 5th grade Singapore Math word problem, of which most Grade 5 Singapore Math students see between 200 and 300 per year (depending on differentiation). (Sources: 5A/5B, Extra Practice, Intensive Practice, Challenging Word Problems, Ace It Assessments, etc.)

Here is another: Mr. Singh spends 3/7 of his money on a new television and 1/4 of the remainder on a refrigerator. He has $120 left. How much was the television? How much was the refrigerator? How much money did he begin with?

And a favorite because it uses metric volume: A fish tank has a base area of 600 sq. cm. It currently holds 54,000 cubic centimeters (ml) of water. To what height is the tank filled?

I don't believe there is anything in EDM that even approaches this level of complexity for problem solving at Grade 5. Agreed?

reader said...

No. I totally don't agree. Your pigeon problem.. which is fairly simple... isn't in the standard text or workbook. It isn't what I would call a "thought problem", or even really a problem at all.

And besides, what text is it in? I don't see it. Maybe it's in one of the extra texts (and there are many, as you list). The "Challenging Problems"... well, those are discontinued. And, as I said, they aren't all that challenging for 5th grade. Lots of EDM is equivalent. Is the district supposed to buy 15 extra texts when it buys Singapore? Of course that will never happen. There might be lots of extra texts for any curriculum. Who cares, if nobody buys it?

SPS mom said...

Respectfully, reader, I disagree. I have some of the Singapore extra challenge problems and they involve much more logic and algebraic thinking than I've seen in EDM.

SPS mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
grousefinder said...

Reader...Are you sure you are looking at the California Standards Edition, or the outdated US Editions? What about the new 5th Grade Supplements? They are all buried in there.

I am glad you find the pigeon problem easy. I do too. But, without guess and check strategies at 5th grade, it requires algebraic notation, as does the second problem. How would your students solve the second problem without algebraic notation (or guess and check)? That is...is there an efficient method to do the second problem (like the unit bar models in Singapore Math) that your students would readily employ? I am truly curious.

Here is a non-Singapore Math solution to the egg problem.

Find d : c
where d = duck, c = chicken, p=pigeon
p = 350
d = p + 100 = 350 + 100 = 450
c = d + 500 = 450 + 500 = 950
d : c = 450 : 950 = 45 : 95 = 9 : 19

BTW...all the books are all still in print...including Challenging Word Problems.



Alignment documentation for the old US Standard Edition was presented to the District at the time of the EDM adoption. That's why is was selected to be 30% of the Elementary curriculum by the board. Unfortunately, many teachers were never trained in the algebraic emphasis of Singapore Math and thus have shunned it. But, Carla Santorno didn't...she chose it.

Of note...EDM was not selected by the math adoption committee...TERC was chosen. EDM was an executive decision by administrators outside the adoption committee. EDM was found incompatible with Seattle's math students by the adoption committee. It didn't even make the final cut list. It will certainly be dropped in a year and a half when it comes up for review. The writing is on the wall...waiver requests are rolling in. Don't throw away your Singapore Math or Math Expressions books...one of them will be in your classroom in two years.