Thursday, May 28, 2009

What Seattle needs for Math

Now that Seattle has selected the k-12 trifecta of math disaster.....
what can be done?

Here are some ideas

Assisting Students Struggling with Mathematics: Response to Intervention (RtI) for Elementary and Middle Schools

Taking early action may be key to helping students struggling with mathematics. The eight recommendations in this guide are designed to help teachers, principals, and administrators use Response to Intervention for the early detection, prevention, and support of students struggling with mathematics.

Other ideas involve having the school board actually perform their jobs in a satisfactory manner. Since the Central administration intends to continue their decade plus of discriminatory actions toward educationally disadvantaged learners in math, it would be nice if the school board awakens to protect the children.

Since they just voted 4-3 to continue ongoing discrimination don't count on the school board to help much. Michael DeBell and Harium Martin-Morris are the guys that definitely have a clue. Michael DeBell has really stepped up his game in actually fulfilling his responsibility as director to supervise the Superintendent and crew.

Michael's actions are very nice to see since Steve Sundquist's refusal to take responsible action in regard to the "Discovering Series" adoption.

Steve's NMAP statement was absurd. NMAP gives specific recommendations and guidance that he failed to mention and instead ran for cover. WOW!!! once again "Steve's Effective New Leadership" failed to emerge.

There certainly will be lots of interventions needed as the SPS continues to instructionally disable children in mathematics.

Is differentiated instruction expected to be the intervention?
What are the intervention materials and what is the plan?
Is there a plan?


Anonymous said...

Very timely advice. As a parent with a child subjected to EDM in Seattle, I have implemented several of the "intervention" steps at home.

First, I did an assessment using the State of CA grade level tests. This was done after my child came home in the first weeks of third grade and her classwork showed a simple addition problem she had tried to solve with tick marks. To my absolute shock, she hadn't learned how to set up and solve a simple addition problem.

A year of EDM and she didn't know a quick paper-and-pencil way to add. Nor did she have her math facts memorized. But according to the previous year's assessments, she was doing fine. How is this even possible?

Next intervention step: purchase Singapore Math books and download free math practice sheets. We then "afterschooled" for the entire school year and worked on fluency with standard algorithms and basic math facts.

The result of a year of afterschooling (and being fortunate to have a good, experienced teacher)? My child is now working above grade level and understands that she can "choose" the standard algorithm to solve problems. The frustration levels have gone down considerably (for both of us).

Can any of this success be attributed to EDM? Unlikely. Will the district take credit for her passing the WASL and use it as evidence that EDM is ok? Highly likely.

Anonymous said...

I recommend the article cited to any parent or teacher who's being told that inquiry learning is the proper way to learn math or that it is the "balanced" approach.

It is hard to read about scaffolded instruction in the article without appreciating that this approach is the real balance of both fluency with math facts and conceptual understanding.

The concepts described should be known and used by every math teacher, not just interventionists assigned to struggling students.

Great posting Dan!