Ok, raise your hand if, as a child, you ever felt like you had a “math phobia” or you just weren’t good at math. My hand is in the air! My early elementary years were OK, but by late elementary into middle school, I thought math just wasn’t my thing. The concepts weren’t intuitive for me and I remember getting into battles with my dad over homework. It wasn’t until 9th grade, when I had an exceptional algebra teacher, that my math self-concept turned around. Ok, raise your hand again if you want your child to experience the same frustration and self-doubt that I did? My hand is not in the air!!
This Thursday October 9th, Seneca Academy will be facilitating a “Math Morning” for parents of elementary students. Parents will get an overview of Everyday Math, the curriculum we use to teach math from kindergarten through 5th grade. In a large group, we will discuss the goals of the curriculum and methods employed to reach those goals. Parents will then have an opportunity to go into the classrooms and either witness a lesson or engage with our math manipulatives under the guidance of their children. We’ll end the morning with a time for questions and answers. We are doing this because the Everyday Math program is different from more traditional curricula and methods, and parents often have questions about how and why we use this program.
The Everyday Math website (http://everydaymath.uchicago.edu/parents/understanding-em/needs/) explains its purpose in this way:
Simply stated, the primary goal of Everyday Mathematics is to help more children learn more mathematics. The curriculum expects higher levels of accomplishment at every grade level, but also incorporates features that help make mathematics accessible to all students. It does this by:
- Connecting the study of mathematics to real-world, age-appropriate contexts
- Providing multiple avenues for representing and solving problems including the use of manipulatives, tools, spoken and written words, pictures, diagrams, and symbols
- Incorporating individual, partner, and small group activities that make it possible for teachers to provide individualized feedback and assistance
- Encouraging risk-taking by establishing a learning environment that respects multiple problem-solving strategies
- Building in multiple exposures to concepts and skills and providing frequent opportunities for review and practice
- Providing engaging open-ended activities that can easily be customized to meet the needs of students with a range of abilities
Seneca Academy has chosen to use Everyday Math because it is consistent with our inquiry-based approach, it is relevant to students, it is easily differentiated (so we can tailor instruction and practice to our students varying needs) and it produces students who have a depth of mathematical understanding (as evidenced by the positive feedback we receive from our graduates). We believe it is the best way for our students to develop a solid understanding of math, which will allow them to have a positive self- image of themselves as mathematicians.