Saturday, June 7, 2008

Last Thursday I attended a Math Curriculum adoption meeting for the district in which I will be teaching fourth grade next year. It is the first time in 15 years they have adopted new math, and all the teachers were quite happy about the prospect of progression. The previous curriculum was a spiraled curriculum (meaning that the students got review of 4-5 math concepts per day, but it was difficult and next to impossible to teach cohesive math units), and so the teachers were overjoyed at the idea of chucking out the old Excel Program worksheets and getting this new curriculum. As I attended the meeting, I was excited to see the opportunities this new math will give me as a teacher.

Pearson Education has introduced a new curriculum, called Envision Math, that integrates technology into math education. It's the kind of curriculum that would have been nice to know about during college, when all my math teachers required technology integration into math lessons that were difficult to approach from anything but a pencil-paper standpoint. I was able to find some interactive math widgets for such lessons, but this program integrates games, songs, tutorials, and interactive manipulatives for every lesson, every student, and every unit.

The curriculum is brand-new: they have only a single year of testing it in some Las Vegas school systems, but I am excited to be using this in my classroom next year. Probably my favorite feature of the program is a student tracking website, where I can go and assign students a pretest online, they take it, and they get games and interactive tutorials based on the areas in which they were below-level. Each student gets specific intervention for some assignments, and their tracking site will be available through their entire progression through this math program. This means that a teacher in 5th grade will be able to see what their student's math history was in grades K-4 (providing they began the program in Kindergarten, of course). I also really like how the unit plans have recommendations for ELL, LD, and GT accommodations.

It's an exciting prospect to be able to teach with a new mathematics program. I will keep you updated on how it goes in the school year.

Oh...and if you're interested, they have a promotional video. Apparently, this curriculum is the magical solution to more than math problems. See their semi-cheesy promotional video here.
Does anyone else recognize the dad at the beginning of the video? He looks an awful lot like an old member of Divine Comedy's cast... interesting, as this program was created outside of Utah.

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