Spin-off: Curriculum- What does your school use?

Discussion in 'Childhood and Beyond (4+)' started by rissakaye, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. rissakaye

    rissakaye Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    So what curriculum's do your kids use at school and what do you think of them.  It seems like a lot of us our basing our thoughts on Common Core based off of the curriculums.  I'm wondering if we are using the same ones.
     
    Math-  Everyday Mathematics   Honestly, I have a love/hate feeling about this one.  I like that it's challenging the kids to think.  I like that it teaches multiple methods instead of just the standard that I learned.  I dislike that it's so reading based.  I dislike that there doesn't seem to be an emphasis on fluency of facts and just knowing the facts.
     
    Reading/Science/Social Studies- Lead 21  This is new this year.  So far, I like what I've seen with it.  It has the same material at multiple reading levels so everyone is included.  I like it that the kids are having to dig out facts instead of being spoon-fed their history and science.  They call it inquiry groups.  So far my kids have decreed it to be interesting which I never heard about the old curriculum.
     
    Language Arts/phonics/spelling-  I don't know that they have a formal curriculum for the older kids.  I know the younger kids use Pathways.  I really like Pathways.  We also use it in Special Ed.
     
    I know they can also use supplemental materials from the science and social studies materials that we had previously.
     
    Marissa
     
  2. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    I can talk more about the Elementary School overall curriculum, but I will do my best:
     
    Math: K-5 uses Envision from Pearson in conjunction with Otter Creek Math (aka Rocket Math).  The Otter Creek drills math facts, and takes less than 5 min of class time a day.  Kids start with addition facts and move through to subtraction, multiplication, and finally division.  Initially everyone gets one minute.  Once they can do the entire operation at one minute, they move to 45 seconds.  The practice is to help them get their facts down.  I love Envision, some don't like the strategies, and feel they don't do enough drill and practice, which was remedied with the Otter Creek.  
     
    Language Arts: Reading instruction is done in Guided Reading groups, so all kids work at their reading level, they also have a writing and grammar skill workbooks which they went back to last year, as they realized that there wasn't enough of that with just Guided Reading, and Writing.
     
    Spelling: The school switched to Fundations for K-3, and I don't know what they are using for 4-5.  The past 4 years, they used Words Our Way, and everyone hated it and found it wasn't really effective.
     
    Science: Last year they started using FOSS, which is a hands on science program the kids love it!
     
    Social Studies:4th through 8th grade uses History Alive!  It has a textbook and an interactive notebook.  Another program that I love.  They piloted it with the Middle School, and added it to the Elementary School curriculum as finances allowed.  It is a great program that also teaches kids things like notetaking without realizing that they are even doing it.
     
    As for the Middle School, in science they did change the curriculum recently, and they are trying to be--at least in 6th grade--as current as possible, so there is no text for 6ht grade, but the teacher will copy relevant texts, use the internet and other options.  They also do labs.
     
    Language Arts uses Guided Reading as well, along with group work and literature analysis.  They also have vocabulary which incorporates parts of speech, definitions, etc.
     
    Math: they started using Springboard last year, and everyone hates it!  The boys are in Honors 6th grade Math, so they actually use the 7th grade text, along with Springboard--which their teacher tries not to use too often.  
     
  3. hudsonfour

    hudsonfour Well-Known Member

    I am not familiar with any of the above text/ curriculums.
    For Math (k-6) we use Go Math, reading is the Treasures series and SRA for small low groups, science is National Geographic. We also use Fast Math a computer based facts practices, 30 mins every day in Success Maker lab (computer practice for standardized tests) and Accelerated Reader for supplemental reading practice.
    Our students are STAR tested quarterly ( reading range), performance matters- reading and math quarterly assessment, FAIR tested-3 times per year (a reading assessment used for k-2 in fl), take the math textbook pretest, writing assessments quarterly for the county (k-12) , FCAT (fl state assessment given in March/April for 3-12 and used to base teacher pay in future). Teachers are spending a huge amount of time assessments-makes me wonder when they have time to teach:)
     
  4. BRMommy

    BRMommy Well-Known Member

    My kids use Everyday Math also, and I hate it.  I feel like they don't learn the traditional method of calculating multiplication and division.  I'm afraid that this will be a detriment to them in the future when they are older and have to attend schools that do not use the Everyday Math method.  I remember my high school calculus teacher would give credit on tests if the process of getting the answer was correct, even if the answer was wrong.  But with Everyday Math method of calculation, it's not always obvious how you got the answer, if you've never been exposed to Everyday Math.  
     
    I honestly don't see anything wrong with the traditional way of teaching math, just like it had been taught for hundreds of years.  Why mess with it now?
     
  5. TwinsInOkinawa

    TwinsInOkinawa Well-Known Member

    I have no idea, honestly, what "curriculum" my kids use. They do minute math drills; sounds like to Otter math as above; they read from some Houghton-Mifflin xeroxed books.

    Man, I must be not involved enough; I guess I have questions for conferences if we run out of things to talk about!
     
  6. Sofiesmom

    Sofiesmom Well-Known Member

    For us it's completely different, we're abroad and our school uses the IB-curriculum, the Primary Years Programme ( http://www.ibo.org/pyp/). It's an inquiry based program, and very few text books can be found in our school. Extremely popular in Asia and becoming more and more popular in Europe and the US as well. The IB-diploma is well-rated also by US universities. It's very different from how I was taught, but we're happy with it. Our school uses lots of resources from a variety of countries, incl. Aus, NZ, UK and also US.
     
  7. Sofiesmom

    Sofiesmom Well-Known Member

    With regards to teaching maths in a more traditional way. In Chinese schools here you see lots of drilling, they know their facts, they get the right answers but they have little understanding, they don't know why and they don't know a different way to solve it (often go straight to paper for long division, column addition, etc). True understanding of mathmetical problems will allow children to solve problems in a variety of ways, and often mentally as well. I cannot deny the importance of basic facts, but there is much more than producing the right answer. If you cannot explain the answer and/or relate / connect to every day life, what's the true value?. My husband also teaches as an Assoc. Professor here at a local university (Economics and Finance) and finds it quite shocking (they can do the most difficult calculations but little changes can throw them off and god forbid if you ask for an explanation on how and why).
     
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  8. Katheros

    Katheros Well-Known Member

    I honestly have no clue.  I know the science and social studies are through the state of Florida.   I'm happy with how my kids are learning though so I just go with it.
     
  9. rissakaye

    rissakaye Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Reading this, I remembered something that happened a couple of years ago.  Dh and I were visiting dh's aunt in Houston.  Timothy asked us a math question that involved multiplication.  We were eating lunch so we didn't have pen and paper handy so we all did the math problem in our heads.  All 3 of us came up with the right answer.  The funnier part was when my dh explained to Timothy how he solved the problem. His aunt (insurance actuary and former math teacher) laughed and explained that she solved the problem a different way.  Then I had to explain that I had used a third way.  None of those were the traditional method.  His aunt commented that she tells her subordinates that they have to do their math at least 2 different ways because it's unlikely you'll make the same mistake in 2 different methods.
     
    I think that's why EM shows so many different methods.  People think differently.  You also need to check work sometimes.
     
    Marissa
     
  10. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    I agree, Marissa.  Any good Math Curriculum will teach multiple methods for calculating an answer.  
     
  11. ljcrochet

    ljcrochet Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    My girls school uses Envision Math .  My Dh things it was written in another language and translated into English because some of the questions are so badly worded.  It reminds him of the asian cartons that were dubbed in english.
     
    I know they also do timed math drills.  I don't know what social studies, science or ELA program they use.  I think the ELA they are using is right from the state because when I go on engageny I find the books and even so of the handouts the girls have done on the stories.
     
  12. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    Lisa, it does take some time to get used to the language used in Envision.  Once you have used it a while, it isn't so bad.  We started it when the boys were in 2nd grade, so they had to "catch up" in the vocabulary used in the program, but the next year, once the teachers and students were more familiar, it wasn't an issue.  I like how the program does a lot of different mental math strategies--although when I work in the Special Ed class we have to modify them.  But for the "typical" kids it works really well.
     
  13. ljcrochet

    ljcrochet Well-Known Member TS Moderator

     
    We have been using Envision since K.  My girls got lucky in that the district started using Envision the year they started K.  Every year the wording seems to get more awkward. First year the district changed to envisions, the higher elementary school grades had to do the HW on the computer, but their was so many issues with it, now the online stuff is just for extra help or extras credit depending on the teacher.
     
  14. KCMichigan

    KCMichigan Well-Known Member

    Our district uses:
     
    Guided Reading Groups 
    FOSS science
    Everyday Math w/ supplemental enrichment & math fact practice
    5 +1 writing
    Words Their Way spelling-- this was 1/2nd, but they seem to use a hodge-podge for 3rd
    Social Studies-- varied texts for grade level
     
  15. ljcrochet

    ljcrochet Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    our school also used handwriting without fear.  
     
  16. hudsonfour

    hudsonfour Well-Known Member

    I want to add that k-6th has a dedicated 120 min reading block During this time they do readers workshop, guided readers, and reading centers.
     
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