This year, my district piloted 3 different math programs. As part of the math committee, I got to look at all the programs last summer, as well as pick which one I wanted to pilot and be part of the final decision.
We had three programs to choose from-Go Math!, Math in Focus and Envision.
I had picked Go Math! to pilot.
At first, I was ehh about it. Then, I disliked it. I felt it moved to fast and tried to teach to many things in one lesson.
However, as time moved on (and we got out of multiplication and division and into fractions and decimals!), I realized that I could live with the program if it got chosen.
But, after talking with my teamie, and taking a close look at her program, I really wanted Envision.
A few weeks ago, the math committee met to make the final decision.
We had teacher surveys, kids surveys, parent surveys, as well as MAP data.
After 2 hours of talking (mind you-this was after school-unpaid on our own time) we had narrowed it down to two-Envision and Math in Focus. There was a clear administrator winner, but the teachers were pretty evenly split..
We left it in the hands of the administration, because we had concerns about the amount of professional development we were going to receive (as well as the cost of the program).
Well, the decision came down.
Our new math program is Math in Focus.
Now, I will say that I was not exactly happy with this decision-it often goes above and beyond the CC (and I really think that we need to focus on the CC to teach it well before going above and beyond), and that teaching only one way might be too limiting for some students.
On our last day, we had some professional development on the program (to make for a PD day we lost due to snow).
Oh. My. Word!
I will admit to being wrong. I'm still not entirely on the whole boat, but my dinghy is getting closer to the mother ship. (Before, it was a loooooooooooong way away! ;)
The reason my mind was changed and I think that this program has some merit-our presenter was a teacher.
An actual teacher-someone who is still in the classroom-and who is using this program!
That made a HUGE difference on the quality of workshop, he was able to let us know how the transition went for them, when they had to back up to lower grades (he's a 5th grade teacher), and what parts of the lesson they really need to focus on (and what parts that aren't as 'important'!)
He even did a few activities with us using the manipulatives, and gave us suggestions on on how the lesson runs.
I mean-look at my notes! (I will say that it is rare for me to take a lot of notes-I usually remember-auditory learner!)
Plus, we got the first book to look at over the summer (although we'll be getting brand new 2015 editions before school starts-hopefully), so we can have a jumpstart on the school year!
Now, I still have some reservations-but I can see this working.
For those of you that have used/are using-any suggestions? warnings?
I'm hoping to do a guided math/math workshop structure and would appreciate any help!
I'm also hoping that it will be a little easier this year than last-since all students have been exposed to the CC math standards, and hopefully there will not be as big as gap as last year (hopefully!)
Thanks for reading such a long, wordy post!
Smiles and Sunshine,