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Math in Focus: What Do We Think?

By Shane Lofton

Math in Focus was introduced to WES in the 2016 – 2017 school year.  There are many opinions about Math in Focus.  First, I talked to students.

“It’s definitely an upgrade from Everyday Math [ the math program we used before ],” said Zeke Williams, fourth grader.

In fourth grade some students are having trouble with the word problems.  As a fifth grader I can tell you: you need to understand and know how to use bar models to solve the real world problems.  Bar models might be the key to doing well on units three & four in fifth grade.

If you are struggling with anything in math, I suggest Khan Academy.  It is a great free resource to use.

“The typos in Math in Focus are frustrating because different books have different answers,” said Mackenzie Rose, fifth grader.

Math in Focus teaches you why the answer is the answer and not necessarily the best way to get the answer, I think.

Next I talked to long time WES teacher Mr. Goldstein.  He has taught 4th and 5th grade at WES.

“What do you and the fifth grade teachers think about Math in Focus?” I asked.

“I like Math in Focus.  It taught me the method of teaching known as: ‘I do – we do – you do.‘  I like the emphasis on problem solving.  I like the enrichment that goes with the program.

“One thing I don’t like about Math in Focus is the lack of math games that come with the program,” he added.

I then asked him “What was the hardest thing about the transition between Everyday Math and Math in Focus.”

“Building the lessons on the Smart software, that took hours, until we got together with the RES and IES fifth grade teachers and we divided the lessons up. That was the hardest part,” Mr. Goldstein said.

Parents like Mrs. Morrison have thanked the school board and curriculum department and the teachers for all the hard work they have put in to bringing Math in Focus to WES and Radnor.  She emphasizes what an important life skill math is and how happy she is that Radnor is making sure more kids learn all their times tables in third grade.  barmodels


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