As a Math Specialist who works in a 5-8 middle school, the biggest complaint I hear from the teachers I work with is that the students have no number sense! As a district, we’ve been working on improving this from the bottom up (lots of work in the elementary schools!) but there has to be something that WE at the middle school can do to help those who don’t’ have that background knowledge.
As I was reading Harris’ introduction, quite a few of her words resonated with me:
“As secondary teachers, we are often frustrated by the lack of number sense in our students. Students seem to either reach for a calculator or just shrug and say, ‘I don’t know’ when asked simple arithmetic questions. They seem ill-prepared to learn higher math because they have not memorized basic facts. Many students make careless errors with nonsensical results, ye do not recognize how far off their answers are. We are in the age of algebra for all, yet we have students who were obviously never in the arithmetic for all movement.” (Harris, xii)
WOW! Does that not say EXACTLY what we have all been thinking?! She also says “This book is an attempt to bridge [the number fluency] gap, to bring these insights to the secondary world.” (Harris, xiii)
After the introduction, Harris goes into depth with specific examples from 6th grade to Calculus (no really… all the way up to Calculus!) showing examples of how to teach concepts. She focuses her chapters on:
2) Addition and Subtraction: Models and Strategies
5) Multiplication: Models and Strategies
8) Decimals, Fractions and Percents: Models and Strategies
9) Decimals and Fractions: Addition and Subtraction
10) Decimals and Fractions: Multiplication and Division
Each chapter not only focuses on a concept, but how that concept builds from upper elementary to middle school to high school. Harris gives specific examples, models and representations for each concept as well as strategies for how to teach the concepts to your kiddos at a deeper level.
My favorite part is that I can also purchase a Facilitator’s guide (Check it out HERE) as well as a book that contains Lessons and Activities (Check it out HERE) to supplement all of the information that was found in the main book. I am hoping to use this book with each of my teacher’s this year as a Book Study in a Professional Development setting.
I do hope that you will check out this book via the links I’ve provided OR better yet, enter to win your own copy below!! If you don’t win, and are a secondary teacher, this book is WELL WORTH the investment! Every page is chalked full of great information!
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