Monday, March 23, 2015


I was thinking that it had been more than a week since I had blogged last, but then I checked and it said Saturday, so I was thinking, phew! But wait... March 14th is more than a week ago. Argh! 

And just so you know, today was my first day back after Spring Break. The morning cruised right along - and I was thinking, we are getting so much done! And then the afternoon seemed to move as slow to molasses. 

So grading papers this evening. Math papers. Fun. Not! One set was from before Spring Break, when I had a sub. The other was today's. 

And I'm thinking - the rich get richer. Or, you either got it or you don't. 
And finally, I'm not sure what to do. 

We are using Engage NY. I can see what they are wanting us to do - we've been working on double and triple digit addition and subtraction since before Christmas. And they are showing different ways to work problems. I can see how this would be beneficial, and I realize that I use some of these different strategies myself. 

However, I'm beginning to feel like my kids who struggle, are to some extent struggling because we switch gears on them at least once a week. We've worked problems using the Vertical Method (the traditional method), the Arrow Way, with a place value chart, using number bonds. I understand that the different alternatives give more choices to find the easiest, more efficient way to solve a problem --- but for my struggling students, I'm afraid it's just confusing. 

I think it happens about this time every year. I realize we should have spent more time on basic math facts. We should have spent more time on understanding numbers past 100, or 200. We should have.....

I'm also struggling personally with a curriculum that my district has told me to use "with fidelity." No wait, you don't have to do this part of it. Oh sorry, didn't you know that we'd changed that. 

And finally, I'm struggling with my kids that ARE getting math quickly. I need a way to make math engaging for them - as well as a desire to keep exploring. 

Apparently this has just turned into a venting post. Sometimes I just need those. 

However, any thoughts, suggestions, ideas are welcome :)


  1. Your struggles sound very familiar. I get it. Even though I've got lots of questions about math, I do feel like I'm heading in the right direction. Each year I feel like I get a better feel for what I'm doing. This summer I'd like to dive into a book or two about guided math because I'd like to explore using small groups.

  2. We use Engage NY, too... SO I GET IT. For Kindergarten, it's more practical because they are still learning basics, but even still- some of it is just way over their heads. We were able to have time as a grade level to compress the modules so we got to go through and look at them, take what we liked, make sure we are hitting all the important spots( vocabulary, etc), and adjust it somewhat. You are NOT ALONE! I also agree- math facts are essential!

  3. Definitely a concern--too many strategies too close together. I felt like that in first grade also. Good luck and go forth--be the great teacher that you are!! The kids are certainly lucky to have such a reflective teacher as you are. (Isn't that the great thing about a blog--reflection heaven.) Have a fantastic Wednesday!!
    Alyce :)

  4. I'm so glad I am not teaching math right now for that very reason. My old district and my new one use Everyday Math and the teachers are told to use it with "fidelity". 😩 I don't think kids need ten ways to solve a problem. I had a boy in first grade that had struggled with the concept of adding. He finally got it and was going strong until EDM introduced another strategy and then we were back to square one, it totally messed him up. 😩 I think there comes a time when you close the door and do what your kids need. The only problem with that is then the district thinks your great progress is coming from the program that really doesn't work.