The district that I teach in is getting ready to adopt a new math series for next year. It doesn't seem like we have had our current series that long and we just adopted a new reading series this year. With all of the budget cuts and lack of funding for programs, we can't understand why there is a need to go that route at this time. While I don't LOVE our current series, it is doable and our district did spend a lot of time creating pacing guides and support documents to help teachers implement it in the classroom. With that said, can I tell you a secret? I haven't used it this year! Let me tell you why. The series has student workbooks that are huge, heavy, and contain lots of pages. I either have to tear the pages out before hand, or, have the students "find" the page that we would need for a particular lesson. Imagine telling a group of first graders, during the first few weeks of school, to find page 125. SCARY!!!!!!! Also, the series doesn't quite match up to our new CCSS and our report card. I mentioned in an earlier post that I dread report card time. This is in part due to the excessive amount of skills that we are required to teach each quarter. At the beginning of the year it is isn't so bad. But by the time we reach the fourth quarter, we are responsible for assessing every skill that is listed on the report card. OVERWHELMING!
When we first adopted the series, I made SMART notebook lessons that went along with every chapter. That was all good for a while, but it got to be BORING for both me and my class! It was the same thing over and over again! There are still teachers in my grade level that are taking the traditional approach and are using the series in their classrooms. To each their own. My planning team though, decided that we needed to go a different route. We look at the report card and the CCSS and decide where we need to be each week. Yes, we are creating curriculum each week. But it's a whole lot better that way versus trying to teach with a series that isn't providing our students with the rigor and practice that they need.
I don't group for math, nor do I do math centers. I have read lots of your posts and lots of books on that subject. I never could figure out how to make it work for me without having to add "one more thing" to do each week. A typical math lesson for me consists of a "warm-up," review of key vocabulary, guided practice, and independent practice. I also like to incorporate partner games into my lessons. That gives me a chance to watch and listen to my students while they practice a target skill. I really dislike using tons and tons of worksheets. So, my students use their whiteboards daily. My class also has math journals (I haven't used these as often as I would like this year. I've had a hard time working them in. Any suggestions on how to effectively use them would be greatly appreciated!!) that they work in.
So the whole point behind this post is to find out from you all what math series your school uses. We currently use Houghton Mifflin Harcourt SC Math. I would love to know what series your school uses and your thoughts on it! Love? Like? Can't stand? Child friendly? Matches CCSS? Please live me a comment and let me know. Any advice you can share will be passed on to my team as we look into the various programs that are up for adoption.