Independent Common Core Math Curriculum Reviews

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015
EdReports.org graphic

Click on thumbnail to go to site

I’m pleased to report that an independent non-profit organization, EdReports.org, is reviewing new Common Core math curricula. I sometimes get asked about my opinion about the different options, but it’s hard to respond when there are so many new materials that I haven’t seen, and I am only one person. While the reviews don’t address every curriculum, they do address many of the available Common Core options. If your district is considering adopting a curriculum, please consider the detailed reports here.

They also have a graphic that shows the alignment in a visual format. Click the thumbnail to view it.

To toot my own horn a bit, Eureka Math (also available on engageny.org), of which I was on the second and fifth grade writing teams, is getting the highest praise of any of the curricula reviewed so far here, especially at the elementary level. I am no longer connected with the company, or any curriculum company, for that matter, so you can believe me when I say that I joined the teams because of the quality of their approach, pedagogy, and curriculum team excellence. While there are still kinks to work out, I think the curriculum is top quality.

In case you are interested in professional development, I do offer that to schools and other groups. Please feel free to contact me to inquire.

Mathitudes

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Ever since I heard this story, I’ve been working to change my communication with children about what is important. I think this comic says it better than my soapbox speeches. And you can substitute anything else for math, but I chose math because I hear that all the time.

*If you’re stuck on helping your child with a concept, try khanacademy.org or other sites like mathplayground.com to refresh your skills and make learning fun for both of you.

For more on why this is important, see this Scientific American article titled The Secret to Raising Smart KidsIt has some citations to research showing why this is so important at the bottom of the article.

Also, if I dare mention it, this is why I think Common Core State Standards Mathematical Practice 1 (CCSS MP.1), Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them, is so essential. The way we have gone on historically has led to a lack of perseverance, but changing our values and how we speak about them can turn it around.

Feel free to share, and teachers and presenters, please feel free to use these comics in your work. Let me know if you do and how they came across if you feel like it.

And as always, please comment below!

New Eureka Math Books Available

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Common Core Mathematics
Yesterday, an exciting package came in the mail: the first two published modules of the Common Core math curriculum for Grade 2, complete with my name on the inside! Even though it was only listed for Grade 2 (I’m writing on the Grade 5 team too), it was nice to see my name on another publication.

While all of the modules can be downloaded and printed for free from EngageNY, it may save money and time for schools to buy the printed books. Print editions are available from Great Minds, or you can order individual books for homeschooling, enrichment, or preview from Amazon.

creditsI’m proud to be part of writing such a strong curriculum with powerful roots in Singapore Math approaches!

Have questions about the curriculum? Leave them below in the comments, and I’ll answer them as well as I can, and if I don’t know, I’ll do my best to find out the answers!

Websites and Apps from NYSCATE 2013 Presentation

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Here is a list of websites and apps demonstrated during my session at NYSCATE 2013.

EngageNY.org: where you can download the full curriculum modules for free.

commoncore.org: access Eureka, the interface for the full math curriculum modules.

Number Pieces (Free): Virtual Base 10 blocks and whiteboard

AL Abacus ($1.99): Virtual abacus, sometimes called a Rekenrek

10 Frame Fill (Free): Basic ten-frame game/app.

Virtual Manipulatives! (Free): Fraction, decimal and percentage tiles

Teaching Table ($2.99): Smartboard-like manipulatives and interactivity for math presentations

Number Bonds: Addition & Subtraction to 99 ($1.99): Number bonds app for composing and decomposing numbers

Bugsy Kindergarten Math ($2.99): Fun game to practice K-1 skills

Splash Math website & apps ($9.99 per grade level): Adaptive Common Core-aligned math practice, with individual users

Numberland ($2.99): Montessori-based early numbers practice

Marble Math ($2.99): Game-interfaced math practice with choice of levels & subjects

Hands-on Equations ($4.99): Learn to solve for a variable step-by-step from concept to procedure

Thinking Blocks (All apps free): Solve word problems while making models interactively

Conceptua Math: Online tools and curriculum for math. Very strong for fractions.

Common Core Standards Viewer (Free): Interactive Common Core standards viewer with flow from one to the next

 

 

More Math Apps for iPad: Singapore Math and Common Core

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

It’s been a while since my last post on iPad apps, and in the meantime a lot has happened. For one thing, I have downloaded and tried quite a number of math apps. I’m going to start a round-up of some of the most useful apps as I have time.

number bondsFirst up: exciting news! The Number Bond software, that I lamented being only on Mac or PC for so long, is now ported to iOS. As far as I can tell, having downloaded only the addition/subtraction version, it’s pretty much exactly the same as the computer version.

This has its pros and cons. Pros: the familiar interface, its simplicity, and the fact that it does one thing – it teaches number bonds at different levels. Cons: In light of the outstanding, more powerful software out there, it takes advantage of very few of these features. For example, it is not adaptive, meaning the difficulty does not change with the user’s proficiency. It also does not save user data, something the better educational software is doing (as I’ll discuss later), even emailing it weekly to the parent or teacher if desired. It also has a few bugs to iron out, which I’m sure will happen soon.

So would I recommend it? Yes, as a practice tool for a child at home or as a station in the classroom – but I would love to see it get more developer attention and become more powerful.

Download Number Bonds: Addition & Subtraction to 99

Next up: AL Abacus

For anyone teaching/homeschooling with Singapore Math or a Common Core curriculum, such as Eureka Math, or working with a child with a math learning disability, you will find  that the Slavonic Abacus, or Rekenrek, is incredibly useful for teaching number sense and place value. It breaks down numbers into groups of five and ten, which are easy to manipulate mentally, not least because our hands are right in front of us since we are in the womb, with five fingers each (otherwise known as digits!). While having the concrete manipulative is ideal for sensory feedback, sometimes teachers want to project the abacus to a group, or show a demonstration to a small group. This is where the iPad version, AL Abacus, comes in.

AL Abacus to 100This app is a Slavonic Abacus with two modes. The first is the side with numbers to 100. To access this side, hold the abacus in landscape (horizontal) mode. When all the beads are to the right, it is like pressing “C” (or Clear) on a calculator. To reset all the beads, just tilt the iPad to the left – exactly like on a real abacus. Just slide single or groups of beads to the left to add, subtract, multiply, or divide within 100.

AL Abacus to 1000sThe second side is accessed by turning the iPad to portrait, or vertical, orientation. In this mode, you can work with numbers to 1000, with different columns of beads representing the different place values. This can be a very powerful, easy tool for computing whole numbers through the thousands. To reset the beads, just lift the iPad up, and the beads all fall to the bottom.

Incidentally, this second side was designed by Dr. Joan Cotter, who did her doctoral dissertation using it. Her website, with additional resources, including how to use the AL Abacus, is http://rightstartmath.com/resources/.

This is an almost perfect representation of a physical version of the abacus. There are only two things missing, in my view: the sound of the beads clicking together, which would be great sensory feedback.

Download AL Abacus – Activities for Learning, Inc.

Since this tool is new to many people, here are some other resources besides just the iPad version.

Do you have other ideas or resources for teaching number bonds or using the Rekenrek? Post them in the comments!

Common Core State Standards and Singapore Math

Sunday, March 6th, 2011


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In August 2010, Achieve.org produced a report comparing the Common Core State Standards with the Singapore Math syllabus. I found the report interesting, as it showed that there are many similarities between these standards and Singapore’s syllabus, though in some ways, the CCSS document is clearer in its expectations. Also, Singapore uses the British system of O-level and A-level achievement. Their O-level high school curriculum is slightly less rigorous than ours, but their A-level curriculum is more rigorous than our standard high school curriculum.

I drew the conclusion from reading the report that adopting Singapore Math could be a positive step towards aligning to the CCSS.

Achieve is an independent non-profit dedicated to raising academic standards in the US. You can read the full report below.
Comparing the Common Core State Standards and Singapore’s Mathematics Syllabus

        
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