My school has also adopted it for the upcoming 2011-2012 school year and I attended the "prescreening" of the series at a workshop. From what I gathered it is very fast paced like a new skill each day. It is supposedly designed to have the students cover everything prior to the end of the year TEST. Rigorous is the buzz word around here in my district so prepare for a lot of movement. I also haven't read very encouraging reviews in my own research so I too need some input from those who have used it already.
But we have used Envision for 3 years I think. I LOVE IT! We get awesome test results and it is great! The majority of your time spent should be on the Daily Spiral Review and the lesson do go fast, but you are always spiraling back.
I piloted envision in my class last year. I loved it. It was a big transition from Saxon math for my struggling students especially. I gave at least an hour a day for math. I was worried because my grades on report cards weren't so great, but they tested well on our state assessment. I think I may focus more on the daily spiral review this year and see if that helps the daily grades. It is full of problem solving and real world applications. Fortunately our corporation decided to adopt it so I have a leg up this year.
We are adopting EnVisions this year also. Our district has bought it for k-6. We are excited especially since our fifth grade as been working with TrailBlazers and all of the other grades were doing something completely different. I like the technology pieces and well as the built in RtI and differentiation. We will see. It will be interesting to see how it goes!
Last year was our first year, and prior to beginning the year, I also read some pretty bad reviews of the program. The teachers in our district were also very resistant. I went in with an open mind, and am pleased with last year. My students at a low-income/lower-performing school did very well on math assessments. Roughly 80% of my students scored above the 50th percentile on their norm-referenced testing (about half of my class around the 90th %ile), and although official results are not in, it's looking like about that many will pass the state math assessment. That's a pretty big deal considering the students in my school.
I did NOT get through the entire book!!! I skipped the lessons that did not meet my district's 5th grade standards (decimal place value to millionths (only to thousandths), dividing by 2-digit divisors, and a few others. I also started skipping around in the book in January to make sure I was hitting the topics that I knew would come around on various assessments. Envisions also makes mini-lessons on all of the lessons from the last 7 or so topics they encourage you to use before testing situations. I did not use them last year, my "skipping around" worked for me (not sure the company would endorse my method though)
It was very fast-paced so I had to reteach certain topics to some students at different times during the day (and also had para help during math), AND--I spent close to 90 minutes daily on math!!!! If you are thinking you can only devote 45 minutes daily to math instruction, envisions may not work well for you. I felt the extra time was worth it. I ALWAYS did the daily spiral review (but you could skip it if you really wanted to)
This will be my 4th year teaching ..... and also our 4th year using EnVisions. I think it's AWESOME! I think it was easier for me to take to it becaue i was new & right out of college. Other teachers who had been using Saxon math had a harder time becasue they said it was completely different. Last year, all the teachers really started liking it. It took a while to get used to because of the reading level (which is very hard for the grade level) and all the problem solving.
in the past 2 years, our test scores have sky-rocketed! They're way above the state level... we ahve 7 elementary schools with 3-8 classes PER grade K-6 ... so it's a very large district.
This will be my 3rd year teaching 5th grade. You need to really push through the lessons if you want to complete the book. Also, teach the measurement units in your science classes - that's what our district is required to do, or you won't have time to complete the entire book.
I normally do the Daily Spiral & problem of the day for morning work. After a while the kids really take to it & it will only take about 10 min to complete. They put this away and keep it until math class. Then, I always copy the reteaching & practice back to back for classwork and homework. THis helps the parents at home if teh student is having trouble with homework.
it's a lot of loose papers since you need to copy everything. Last year, i started copying all the lessons in each topic in a packet. reteaching on the front and practice on the back. It worked really well & the students also had this to study for the test!.
I am missing Everyday Math which I really loved, but this has some great things in it as well. We adopted last year. I am not using the program in exactly the same way it is written. I teach math in a math workshop, and combine some of the units for integration purposes.
For example, I used the data, probability, graphs units and created a copntract for kids to use. In addition to completing some of the math pages, they used their new skills to create graphs for projects they were doing in Social Studies and Writing Workshop.
I also am using Handsw On Equations for Algebra which is much more encompassing than the algebra in Envision.
It's just like with anything else. There are great things here, but also some holes. Math is a strength for me so I use the resources with others to create what is best for my kids. I really like the Problem of the Day and the Daily Spiral Review a lot.
I put the spiral review up on the projector and printed off the Prob. of day to put up around the room for the kids to work on right when they got back from music/pe. Kids who finished went right to silent reading. Those who took longer to complete the math got less reading time (not great, but I really wanted them to try to get through the math first). I began math roughly 35 minutes after returning from music/pe (allowing 15 minutes for math, 20 for SSR). We went over spiral and POD together (painfully slow, really discussing the skill: took about 10 minutes). I only skipped spiral and POD on test days.
As far as interactive learning: I previewed it lesson by lesson to see if I thought it was especially worthwhile. If it was, I would do it, if not, I would do my own thing. I have my Master's in Math Ed, so coming up with intros to lessons was not difficult for me to do "on the fly". I RARELY used the technology component to "teach the lesson". My kids thought it was corny, and I personally think I did a better job than the interactive lesson (although it's great for subs or those who are not confident in math). We did guided practice together as a whole group (again, painfully slow, talking through every step). If I felt that the majority of class "had it" after GP, I would have them do the IP while I walked around the room and checked on my kiddos who needed it (reteaching, etc.). I also had a para in the room during this time, and if a lesson was particularly difficult (problem solving), she would take a small group to the back table to work through more together. If it was a brand new skill, I would have everyone "check" in with me after 3 or so problems, and I would give them a sticker if they got all 3 correct (they loved this) and if not, they would try again. (didn't want them to do a whole page of problems wrong). During this time, I encouraged group/partner work (we establish the difference between cheating/helping early on in the year) for kiddos who had questions if I couldn't get to them. (and sometimes just having a peer explain the lesson using different words can be helpful too) We didn't do the entire IP, Usually even/odd and I allowed them to choose a certain number (usually just over half) of the word problems/review questions at the end of the IP. Students who finished early were encouraged to help classmates or do the "center" activities. After the majority of class was finished, we would check together (not so slowly, just showing answers on board--if they did poorly, it is their responsibility to get help--usually not an issue, especially if they check in with me).
Lastly, I would do either the quick check or the interactive quiz on the computer to check for understanding. I am lucky enough to have a clicker system in my classroom, so it was easy for me to see whether or not students understood the lesson. I could quickly access the results to see which differentiated assignment was appropriate (I keep them in different colored folders, and just announce clicker number and the color of the assignment they need to have). I could also see which students might need a reteach later on in the day (during "study hall").
Like I said, at least 90 minutes daily spent on math--more depending on the lesson. I used most of the components and plan to do the same next year. It worked out pretty well for me and my class last year. Hope this makes sense and answers your questions
everyone for your ideas and strategies. Definitely a help! This is only my 3rd year teaching Math, 7th year overall. My first year teaching math my grade adopted TrailBlazers Math and Learning Focused implementation all at once so it was very overwhelming. We really needed something that was consistent K-5 at least, so kids coming to me in 5th grade already had an idea of how things worked. Needless to say we finally talked them into it and our Math cadre for the district developed a team of teachers to decide on a new math text for K-6. We were very excited. At the end of the year we had a representative come from EnVisions and give us a little taste of what is to come in August. Hopefully with your ideas and the training we will receive at the start of the year, things will not seem so overwhelming this time around. We will see Although it is July and my anxiety about the start of the year is already through the roof!
This has been very helpful for me also. This will be my first year with EnVision Math. I do not get a copy of the book until a week before school starts. I am very concerned about all the bells and whistles. Will I get to incorperate them into my lessons.
I had taught Harcourt Math prior to Envision, and really liked it, so I did not embrace Envision. Every time I tried to use it, I felt it was too complicated for what I needed my students to learn at that moment.
Why make a concept too difficult, when mastery of the concept is the goal?
I ended up using my handouts I had created over the years, and went to Envision as a form of review when we closer to state testing, and I knew I had taught all the concepts.
I just felt it was too difficult to use daily. My specialty is reaching the lowest students, and difficult problems from Envision is not what I need daily. I will look at the spiral review that people are mentioning.
If you have your own way of teaching math and reaching students, then use what works! I was able to bring many students up this year. That is what matters.
I think I would like to try some of the Envision games as centers. They look good.