I would like to relate a discussion I had with an intern after the Skype session yesterday. This particular intern is at the end of her practicum. She has been using multisensory math methods in her classroom for two years. Basically her reaction includes the following observations:
- The use of manipulatives is time consuming and can be messy, BUT after using them she feels that she has done much less reteaching. In other words, the concepts are retained more thoroughly.
- She has already seen growth in her assessment scores. She uses both the CMAT and the Woodcock Johnson because many of her students are funded. She teaches in a school for students with learning differences and must answer to local schools as she assures them that IEP goals are being met. Her administration is thrilled with student progress and growth in skills as well as comments.
- She also believes that it is important to go back in the CRA instructional sequence and link the abstract to the concrete. This is one thing we recommend in the class when students with variable memory seem to have lost what they had previously mastered. A return to the concrete can be a good way to review and cement gains.
- Difficulties she has encounter are in using the complete lesson plan. It takes practice. However, she does like thinking through Joyce Steeves' lesson plan because it reminds her to get all the strands of math in over time.
Additional resources mentioned in a Skype session with my MSM II class yesterday include:
Elementary and Middle School Mathematics: Teaching Developmentally, by John A Van de Walle, Karen Karp and Jennifer Bay-Williams. It is a little pricey but can be rented or purchased for Kindle. I have the eighth edition which runs $149 new but closer to $100 used. It rents for as little as $46. The earlier editions range from $2 to $32 used in paperback.
Number Talks: Helping Children Build Mental Math and Computation Strategies Grades K-5 by Sherry Parrish - This is available for rent and purchase, paper back (used and new around $40-50) New, it comes with a DVD
The Math Dictionary for Kids, by Theresa R. Fitzgerald, Billed as the #1 homework helper, it runs anywhere from $5 -$8, new and used.
Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics Developmentally Appropriate Instruction for Grades Pre-K-2, again by John A Van de Walle et al. It is from Pearson Publishing. Various editions run $15-$50 on Amazon. It is a series and includes various levels so teachers could purchase the one which is appropriate for the level they teach.
Don't forget LearnZillion for video ideas regarding the Common Core State Standards and Hippocampus.org for a free, open source algebra course with videos acceptable for student use at home. Hippocampus has other resources available as well and it is well worth a look.