New Math Or Just Common Sense

Success is more a function of consistent common sense than it is of genius. – An Wang

Tonight I went to watch a district presentation on the new math standards that we have been using since the beginning of this school year. While it is a different way of teaching, it isn’t “New Math”.

There is no such thing, just different methods of teaching the same thing. What these new standards and benchmarks teach are visual, reasoning and justifying your work. I believe it is a good way to teach because math teaches how to think things out, how to look at things step by step. Instead of being taught 5 + 5 = 10, do it 10 times, kids go through a visual progression of seeing 5 ducks plus 5 frogs equals 10 water animals. The steps go on and on, all of which are good sound common sense progressions.

This brings me to another point that learning the common sense and reasoning of math make for good decisions. This weekend my family went to the mall to shop for jeans for me and for some small things for the kids, including some sale sandals for our daughter. We got a pretty good deal on the sandals, but I knew we wouldn’t find jeans that were any kind of deal. We went to Sears, the lowest priced of the anchor stores in the mall and found jeans “On Sale” for $39.99 ($40 for those who get lost in the penny marketing). Of course I did not buy those “Sale” jeans, opting instead to drive around the corner to the nearby Target where I was able to find jeans that I liked for $19.99 ($20 to be consistent). I ended up with 2 pair for $40, which in any type of math, reasoning and common sense is 2 pair for the price of 1 of the more expensive jeans. If this was money savings in the bank, I would have just doubled my money.

New Math? No, it’s just common sense.


FCAT Information You May Need

Update 4/27/09:

How and when are student FCAT results returned to students?
Individual student FCAT results are shipped by the test-scoring contractor to school districts in early May for distribution to schools and students.

Update 4/30/09 – FCAT Write 2009 Scores CLICK HERE

Yes, this week starts full FCAT testing in our district on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It also continues next week on Monday and Tuesday for Science. I have seen the hits on my blog increase for my previous FCAT posts and thought that this updated post may help people go to the Florida Department of Education site to get their one stop information fix.

If you are searching for any information on the FCAT, please click here for the FDOE FCAT site.

For the testing schedule please click here for the 2009 schedule PDF.

The results will be published later next month. They will be available at the main FDOE FCAT Site.

Good luck to the students taking the test.


FCAT 2009 Underway – Prediction on Scores

Update: 3/9/09New post for Official Information on the FCAT  from the Florida Department of Education about test scores and when the test scores will be available.

Update: 4/28/09 FCAT Write scores to be released April 30th 2009

Update 4/30/09 – FCAT Write 2009 Scores CLICK HERE

The FCAT started last week here in Florida. Our state legislators in all their wisdom have massively cut funding to education, back to 2004/05 levels and more cuts are on the way. The local school districts have had to slash their own budgets to deal with the loss in funds, which means less educators to help the children learn what they need. Of course the FCAT is just a test, but the state has made it so important that it is the major focus of the learning enviroment.

With that in mind, I have a prediction for the results of this years FCAT in our district:

FCAT scores will be flat this year. Reason: Budget Cuts = Less Staff.  The ActivBoards in our district will make the scores flat, instead of a decline if we didn’t have this valuable tool.

I believe the only thing that is going to save the scores in our district are the ActivBoards and the teachers that we have. The ActivBoards have had a dramatic affect in getting the students involved in their learning. The teachers in this district are great, have learned to use the ActivBoard correctly and strive to give our children the best education they can get.

The one other thing that is saving our district is the support of our citizens. They have supported a referendum that has brought in the money to have top ranked teachers and technology.


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