Things I LOVE:
- If the lesson is on subtraction, the practice is on subtraction as well...not 29 different types of problems as with our previous program.
- Upper grades teachers now have manipulatives!!!
- Animated Math Models: I haven't used them yet, but look forward to introducing a concept with them. They're like interactive videos and they seem very engaging.
- Workshop format is the perfect structure for this program: Minilesson, small group/independent work, centers, then back to whole group. Okay, so I've still not been able to fit in the last whole group time, but I'm working towards it.
- Lessons are built on using number sense to solve problems, not shortcuts.
Things I'm still working on:
- Fact practice: It isn't included in our program, but I just kept right on doing it the way I always have. I think they need fluency with facts, and it only takes about 5 minutes.
- Calendar: We didn't purchase the companion Every Day Counts Calendar, but I've put together something that I think is working.
- Math Journals: We've used them for learning and practicing concepts, but I need to work in more time for actually responding to prompts during independent work time. Right now though, it is taking almost all of their independent work time to finish the lesson problems.
Things I DON'T love:
- The Promethean flipcharts (which were a huge selling point for us) are horrible. On the surface, they looked very professional and well put together, however some of the problems are missing. Some of the "independent" problems are on there as guided practice. The formative assessment with Activotes/ActivExpressions only includes one question and it doesn't assess the lesson. It is simply the test prep question at the end of each lesson. Also, the page notes with instructions aren't organized in a user-friendly manner. I've had to make notations all over mine. Basically, you can't use the flipcharts WITH the student book because there are too many discrepancies.
- Sometimes you aren't sure what the questions in the SE want.
- For example, "24 hundreds =______" I had to look in the TE to figure out that the standard form of the number goes in the blank (2,400).
- Sometimes the problems being broken down into tiny little steps is a hurdle. The program describes the 'in the head' processes that students should use...this is not a bad thing. In fact, it is great if your kids are used to it! For now, it can be a stumbling block as my students learn to slow down and think through the problems. I know this will get better and is better for them in the long run though.