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Irish 01-01-2013 02:23 PM

Getting our math scores up
We use Saxon math. I am Ok with it since I teach first grade. I am on a committee to help get our school's math scores up. The students do well up to third grade then they drop big time in grades 4 and 5. I was shocked to see how low they dropped. Our school is small with the same kids and one of each grade. I don't understand how the same kids who did so well dropped so low in math. Reading is still very good. Is there something with Saxon that is lacking or are our teachers not using Saxon as they should ? (they say they are). Our principal is not willing to change from Saxon. My husband says to write a letter to the company and complain their series is not doing what they say it will do. If you have good math scores what do you do? What math progam do you use?

trishg1 01-01-2013 02:31 PM

We use Harcourt, but our P is not about text books, but results.

First, we looked at strengths/weaknesses in our students. We found that they were lacking in problem solving skills, but more than that, fact recall.

Our P put in place the following:

1) daily drills- it does not have to look the same everyday, but every day we have to show the students are doing something to improve recall. I use computer based programs. I also give pencil/paper drills 2-3 times a week. Some teachers use flash cards in centers, or around the world, or board races.

2) cross grade math labs- 4-5 times a year we have math labs to practice skills such as money, geometry, measurment, etc.....

3) All the elementary use the same language for problem solving. We chose to use the skills in our text book so that we don't have to recreate the wheel. We strive for working a problem solving skill for two weeks at a time. Thats still a weakness

charliesun 01-01-2013 03:14 PM

Saxon Math
We use Saxon also. I have taught both the third and fourth grade Saxon programs. Our scores are high. Have your intermediate teachers commented about the differences between the primary and intermediate levels? I have noticed that there is a big change between the primary and intermediate programs. The transition between second and third is huge. Up until third, students follow along on the front side of the worksheet with the entire class and then do the back side as homework. The back side has the same type of problems with the numbers changed. Then, in third grade students get the textbook (looks like a college text :() with, I believe, 24 problems? We introduce the new concept and then students do the problems on their own. It is a shock for students because they have to think on their own since we don't go over every type of problem they are expected to complete.

Something that all third and fourth grade teachers make sure to do is have students correct their mistakes (if they have more than 3 errors on an assignment). Yes, it is a lot of work for both teachers and students, however, most students really begin thinking about what the problems are asking them to do.

Most of the time we assign all the problems (in fourth that is 30 problems). Students usually have at least 25 minutes to work on the assignment. Any unfinished work is homework.

I usually check the assignments because I have found that most students do not check their answers correctly. It does help that students let me know when they have the first 15 completed and I check those immediately and they correct any incorrect problems before continuing. I do this because the first 15 are usually the most difficult problems for my students.

I also try to use videos and technology to supplement the lessons because the Saxon ones are pretty dry in the upper grades.

1956BD 01-03-2013 05:59 PM

Not familiar with Saxon Math
However, does it address teaching new concepts with focused lessons, have a review component to keep spiraling math skills, a fluency element to make sure students do not forget their facts and problem solving practice?

I know our program does not have all of that. We use Envision Math. So, we pull what we need from varoius resources.

ms-math 01-21-2013 08:05 AM

I teach middle school
And I see children struggling in modeling, fractions and word problems. These are some of the concepts that are being taught during 4th and 5th grade. What I see is difficulties in critical thinking skills and multi-step processes. Although we don't use these math programs, I would evaluate these programs for reinforcement in these areas.

julyrose 01-28-2013 02:59 PM

Saxon is a GREAT program; however, . . .
I love Saxon, but in grades 3 & 4 you HAVE to supplement for multiplication adn division facts or there will be a tank in grades 4 & 5. The students, with proper use, should excell again in the upper grades. I teach 7th & 8th and my Algebra 1 students do many of the same things that the high school Algebra II class does. The cyclical repetition of Saxon makes it a great program, but without making sure the FACTS ARE MEMORIZED in grades three and four, there will be problems.

pkennedy1990 02-23-2013 12:07 PM

The places I go, this is the problem:

At the elementary level something is going horribly wrong. Math is not being taught or is being ignored or something. Heavily-minority schools (the Southwest is all heavily-minority so that means EVERYWHERE) ignore their kids' lack of math skills or dismiss them as "not capable of learning math" and I think it is the overall perception that this society has that certain minorities aren't supposed to be smart enough to "do" math that makes the teachers take this lazy attitude towards teaching it. They seem to have a sort of "they're (insert minority group here) so they'll never amount to anything anyway and no one would ever hire them if they got a Math or Accounting degree anyway so why bother caring if they can even add, subtract or multiply by the end of elementary school or EVER" attitude towards their students and it shows at EVERY level including administrative.

At the middle school level I get so many 6th graders who can't multiply that it's an abomination. New Mexico is only slightly better than California and Arizona in this regard!! (And New Mexico has a hard time believing that, believe me!)

So I don't know WHAT Math they're using in the elementary schools in places I go. Apparently none whatsoever??

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