Life in School: A New Year

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Life in School 1-6

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Life in School: Buildings and Grounds


  1. Glad your sense of humor is still intact.

  2. Lisa:

    Saxon or Singapore? Who’s winning the math war? There seems to be a truce going on in the math wars at least for now. But you know it can’t last. there’s actually nothing funny about periodic parent math eruptions. they can destroy the school illusion of peace and quiet and agreement in five minutes. All it takes is a car park meeting of a few upset because things are not like they were and unable to do the bar graphs in the fourth grade homework sheet for trouble to get on the boil. Well designed manipulatives that kids enjoy are the very best early math education but not to those who believe chanting the times tables indicates learning. Sand, water, blocks, recipes, play , and nature! Noooo! That’s not how it was is and ever should be. For now Saxon or Singapore?

    • With you on the manipulatives and the sand, water, blocks, recipes and etc. I just read a professional reference that my mother received in the mid 1930’s where the comment was most approving of the fact that she was teaching number sense and basic arithmetic to five year olds by means of a shop they had built out of blocks. Wasn’t all rote and skill and drill pre-Plowden.

  3. Walter:

    It’s about time we finally stopped teaching computational algorithms altogether. No more teaching students obsolete computational algorithms for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division [like 27 x 34]. It’s unnecessary and counterproductive .Not to mention downright silly.

    Real people in actual life make critical decisions about real things not about how many numbers to carry forward into what column to the nth degree. The old way is about how many people can we sort out and drop. Not how many people we can help to succeed and think. It’s really about inflicting pain and failure on kids and not abut maths at all. the so-called skills are obsolete and should be consigned to the dustbins of educational practice. So let the math wars begin and may common sense finally prevail.

    Most parents are not going to get this without help. they fall into two camps.

    First those who were good at those computational algorithms and loved doing them. they thing everything status quo is good. the other camp hated and failed at them and are just full of worry and anxiety for their kids. You can usually teach the second group. the first group is tougher to bring around to common sense. – WGS

    • OK then. Sounds like you are more than ready for the latest skirmishes in the math wars. It’s actually an Alfred Leete cartoon of the Black Friday style scrum at a department store sale.

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