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View Diary: WTF do you want from public education? w/poll (116 comments)

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  •  What is CPM? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    algebrateacher, max stirner

    Is it the math curriculum?

    "Most of them arrived via public transit."

    by otto on Wed Mar 04, 2009 at 06:59:23 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  CPM is a math system that relies on small group (3+ / 0-)

      interaction, facilitated by a teacher, to discover the best ways to address math questions.  Direct teaching is kept to a minimum.

      I'm supposed to use it with my Algebra class.
      I don't.
      I will, eventually, get in trouble because I don't.
      Ready?  It does a poor job of addressing the standards.

      The Tutoring Room is updated (new diary) on Wed. mornings. 2/25: I challenge the President.http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/2/25/8432/44575/128/701596

      by algebrateacher on Wed Mar 04, 2009 at 07:08:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  my kids have a math curriculum that insists (6+ / 0-)

        that they do some sort of "estimating" that seems unnecessary when you can just figure out the answer, and to show work in situations in which there may not really be much work to be shown. (obviously with some problems, long division e.g. requires some work to show you did not use a calculator, but this seems different)

        With respect to some simple mathematical truths you can just "know it" and its wrong for teachers to force students to do "strategies" when such strategies are not necessary.  This is an elementary school curiculum btw.

        •  I've had issues with problems like that, too, and (3+ / 0-)

          both of my boys have been frustrated with those types of problems. My youngest is now a high school sophomore and finally will "show his work" all the time because I've drummed it into him enough, but I have to agree with him that it's silly to have to show everything when some calculations are so simple that a five year old could do them without fingers, but that's what teachers want and part of being a good student - right or wrong - is delivering what a teacher wants.

          Then again, part of being a good worker is delivering what a supervisor wants (not necessarily what makes sense), so I guess it's good life training in a sense.

          "You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do." Anne Lamott

          by MsWings on Wed Mar 04, 2009 at 07:36:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The reason (5+ / 0-)

            You show your work or explain your thinking so that you know why you did something correctly or incorrectly.  If a student doesn't do this, then a teacher doesn't have a place to start in order to correct any problems with computation or process.

            As a teacher, you want to know if your student got the answer wrong due to simple computation errors or if they didn't really understand the problem.  Also, you have to have some verification that the student is doing her own work.  

            It seems rough, but explaining our thinking is one way of really understanding how we do our work, and how to improve our work.  

            "Most of them arrived via public transit."

            by otto on Wed Mar 04, 2009 at 07:39:34 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I know, and he learned on a mid-term (5+ / 0-)

              this year that showing his work pays dividends: he got partial credit for a wrong answer because he had transposed a number from a calculation and his teacher was able to see that only because he showed his work.

              But can we all agree that showing

              8x = 24
              8 x / 8 = 24 / 8
              x = 3

              is silly when

              8x = 24
              x = 3

              is sufficient for anyone beyond about 3rd grade?

              "You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do." Anne Lamott

              by MsWings on Wed Mar 04, 2009 at 07:47:15 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I don't think I explained it well (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              algebrateacher, Cassandra Waites

              because I agree that showing your work is important in the way I was asked to show it, back in the 70s..
              But this is something different, it is asking a student to take a step that unnecessary, it pressuposes a certain way of thinking about mathematics that, perhaps, is natural and appropriate for some, but not all.

              •  Correct about the steps (3+ / 0-)
                Yes the CPM method has a lot of redundent steps involved with it.  I would say it benefits the few, the few that are good at group learning.  Now you take the ball and decide who is good at group learning.

                A simple explanation about CPM is that they are more worried thinking how to get an answer opposed to learning how to solve a problem.  Such as 2 plus two equals four.  In CPM they would worry why 2+2 equals four.

                To me...who cares why 2+2=4. The numbers in our world do not morph, change, have different meanings on different days and learning how is a very important part of math.  Routine teaches the how but routine teaching is not in favor these days.

        •  I disagree (5+ / 0-)

          Estimating is a valuable skill to have.  You might feel like there is too much focus on it, but the reality is that kids will often arrive at an answer with no clue as to how they did it.  When you can estimate your answers, you are able to gauge the accuracy of your answer.  

          I have had to go through this with my own son.  If he gets an answer incorrect, I'll just ask him to first estimate the answer to see if his numbers are way off.

          I think as adults we do this, but we don't realize that we've actually learned to process of estimating before we do a problem.  We are running the approximate numbers in our heads whenever we do a problem.

          "Most of them arrived via public transit."

          by otto on Wed Mar 04, 2009 at 07:36:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  not everyone thinks that way (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            algebrateacher

            Its easier to calculate than give an account of how  you do it--the latter question actually being a rather complicated philosophical question.

            We can think, without having an account of how we think. Kids can be good at math, grasp mathematical concepts with remarkable ease, and be held back by the requirement to "estimate' and such.

        •  CPM is also a junior high system (0+ / 0-)

          There is a lot of money in school textbooks.  CPM has books at least through Algebra, all of them advocating for and using the same system of group discovery, group work and a minimum of direct teaching by the teacher.

          The Tutoring Room is updated (new diary) on Wed. mornings. 2/25: I challenge the President.http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/2/25/8432/44575/128/701596

          by algebrateacher on Wed Mar 04, 2009 at 09:37:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I HATE CPM (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            algebrateacher

            it was so stupid and colorful. The only thing I remember from CPM is that we made brownies during 6th grade math for something.

            I also hate "Contemporary Mathematics in Context" which is my current (10th grade math) book.

            But then again, I've never found a math textbook that I have liked...

            A volunteer with the Northwest Progressive Institute http://www.nwprogressive.org/weblog/

            by danmitch on Wed Mar 04, 2009 at 02:18:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Regarding math strategies: (3+ / 0-)

          The reason for kids learning different strategies is because not every child learns easily using the same model.  Learning different strategies allows the student to find out which one works best for him or her.

          As an example, I suffer from dyscalcula and I'll be 46 in two weeks.  I learned a new strategy LAST WEEK in class that allows me to do multiplication of three digit numbers, sans calculator, accurately the first time I attempt it.  I can't believe how much better that made me feel about myself, when I was able to complete an assignment in the allotted class time.  I now have the confidence to trust my answers instead of feeling the need to work the problem three times to make sure I had it right.

          Had I known about this strategy when I was in k-12, I would not have had half the difficulties I did.

          The apocalypse will require substantial revision of all zoning ordinances. - Zashvill Political compass -7.88 -7.03.

          by Heiuan on Wed Mar 04, 2009 at 09:43:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  So why is it the chosen (5+ / 0-)
        It doesn't work so why do the schools keep teaching it?

        My son was trying to solve an algebraic problem.  I was watching him coloring in boxes and doing a lot of things that I considered to be excessive.  He had no idea how to solve the problem or why he was coloring in the little boxes.

        I showed him how I was taught to solve such an expression.  I am very close to 60 years of age and we didn't have CPM when I was in school.

        After showing him my method, you could see in his eyes...he understood.  The next day I get a note from his teacher saying my son can not use my method because it is not CPM.

        The group teaching is a killer.  A student is at a great disadvantage if his group as a whole is not good at math. It is a situation where student teaches student.

        I think once you start digging into the problem of education we find it is not a Dem or Rep defined problem.  It is a school administration problem.  Now maybe if you want to draw a line, you could find the political party demographics of school teachers and the administrators.

        College Preparatory Mathematics is another one of those modern day things that sound good at first sight but after review it leaves you shaking your head in distrust.

        Here is the link to the corporate site..
        http://www.cpm.org/

        Start digging on the Net and you will find that in 1997 there was a lot of force to try and stop the growth of CPM.  I guess that is when the major push was to teach CPM because a lot of the links discussing negative thoughts about CPM are dated 10 years ago.

        I got so mad at one of the teacher conferences that I invited the teacher to a math duel, to see who was faster at factoring a bunch of polynomials.  And then my spouse calmed me down.  :)

        •  LOL! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ms Citizen

          I got so mad at one of the teacher conferences that I invited the teacher to a math duel, to see who was faster at factoring a bunch of polynomials.  And then my spouse calmed me down.  :)

          I can envison that: sharpened #2's and school-ruled paper at twenty feet!

          The apocalypse will require substantial revision of all zoning ordinances. - Zashvill Political compass -7.88 -7.03.

          by Heiuan on Wed Mar 04, 2009 at 09:48:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Quick answer, though late: (0+ / 0-)

          CPM had powerful proponents in the 1990s.  Many of them are still administrators.  Many of them have moved up to positions of power in school district offices.

          No one, absolutely no one, I've talked to about the Algebra book adopted this year wanted CPM.  No teacher recommended it that I know.

          And yet it was bought.

          The Tutoring Room is updated (new diary) on Wed. mornings. 3/4: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/3/4/82116/46364/311/704472

          by algebrateacher on Wed Mar 04, 2009 at 07:16:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  not the right method (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          algebrateacher, Cassandra Waites

          The next day I get a note from his teacher saying my son can not use my method because it is not CPM.

          That drives me up the wall!

        •  the "student teaches student thing" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          algebrateacher

          is a huge trend in education now, and the Dept. of Education loves trends.

          Right now, it's a great trend to have students exchange papers, edit each others' work, and return it.

          In 7th grade.

          At no point are teachers involved in telling students where their writing is wrong, or what skills they need to focus on.

          Totally bogus, but the entire style is designed to minimize the need for a highly educated teacher so the school can save money. I kid you not.

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