Friday, June 3, 2011

PLN: Book Study - Focus, Chapter 7

Data shows that more students fail in math than any other subject. If we want students to be “confident, comfortable, knowledgeable users of math,” we must give math meaning for students.

Chapter 7: Making Math Meaningful
  • Reduce the number of standards by 50% (201). Recruit math and science professionals to review the standards with teachers.
  • Use effective teaching strategies:
    • Modeling, guided practice, checks for understanding
  • Create and integrate opportunities for students to apply essential math concepts. (202)
  • Integrate reading, writing, and discussion into problem solving, application, and interpretation.” (202)
  • Students should have 15-20 opportunities per year to read current articles and see math in action.
  • These articles should contain raw information or data and students should be asked to “make inferences, support arguments, and draw conclusions” using these sources. (207)
  • Close, slow reading of the textbook would allow students to “hone their ‘technical reading’ ability from texts that include procedures, directions, and instructional manuals.” (208)
  • Writing is a powerful tool for problem solving. Students should be asked to explain, interpret or evaluate a solution in writing.

A major point in this chapter might ruffle some feathers. Schmoker advocates for states to “suspend the requirement for Algebra II until we reexamine the need for it.” (200) Many professionals in the math and science community do not utilize much Algebra. We should focus on essential, practical math standards. Schmoker asks, “would it be sewer to replace seem of our advanced courses with applied math, statistics, or data analysis of the kind that actually gets used in the working world?” (199) The thought is that students would be able to apply more basic math skills to complex situations and problems they will find in the workplace and the world.


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