Skokie school district embraces new way to teach math
Skokie School District 68 math teacher Elizabeth Bottanari last week prepares for student demonstrations of a new math curriculum, Math In Focus. Students impressed the District 68 School Board in solving problems. | Mike Isaacs~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 2, 2012 8:26AM
Skokie School District 68’s Math Learning Team spent much time researching Singapore’s math program before adopting Focus In Math for its math curriculum this year.
The Singapore version is called “My Pals are Here!”
The program introduces fewer topics in each grade, but teaches them in greater depth.
“Topics are taught to mastery, so they build from year to year across grade levels without repetition,” according to the website on Math In Focus.
Math in Focus is highly visual, following a concrete-to-pictorial-to-abstract progression, the program states.
Students spend the majority of the first half of the year studying number. This provides the foundation necessary to move on to more complex and abstract thinking, under the program’s vision.
Math in Focus uses model-drawing strategies that help students solve both routine and non-routine problems.
District 68 students last week provided School Board members with a demonstration. Using a white board, they tackled some tricky problem solving with their unique new approach.
“Keisha has 213 pins in her collection. Fran has 78 more pins in her collection. How many pins does Fran have in her collection? What is the total number of pins collected?”
“Evan typed 72 pages of notes one day. He typed one-half of the pages in the morning and one-third of the pages in the afternoon. How many pages of notes did he type in the morning and the afternoon?”
Teachers say that they can see students responding to the program with a richer understanding of math.