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29 Dec 2005 - 16:18 local coffee shop not far from my son's middle school (if you look at the second picture on the coffee shop's website, imagine us sitting in that room -- but the paintings in that photo are long gone). Greta is working on a Master's (and perhaps a Ph.D.) in curricular studies at CU in the school of education; when she met me, she had a copy of Parker and Baldridge in hand in case I hadn't seen it, and another book I actually hadn't seen (The Man Who Counted, by Malba Tahan). What a good time! It's rare that I get the chance to talk in the flesh with someone who is as interested in this stuff as I am! We yakked nonstop for perhaps an hour and a half. Greta's undergraduate degree is in civil engineering, and she has worked in the aerospace industry, so she is someone who has really used math. Although we never talked about this explicitly, I imagine she left her aerospace job because she loved teaching math and wanted to go back into it; now she is drawn to teaching teachers about mathematics (an idea that appeals to me as well; but unlike me, Greta has the courage of her convictions and is actually studying to do this). In her experience, teachers of elementary school math are eager to learn more mathematics so they can teach kids more effectively; not resistant, as one might fear. Greta was excited by the TeachingMathToTeachers post -- discussing the idea that what's required in order to have racial equity in performance on mathematics standards (which is an important issue in schools of education these days) is to have elementary school teachers who know more math. Greta and I agreed that mathematical weakness in kids -- whether it's procedural weakness (which she has seen in many students over the years) or conceptual weakness -- follows from a lack of access to adults who can teach math. It's just as Catherine said in the post I mentioned above -- if we are to assume that any child can learn math, then surely any teacher should also be able to learn math. Surely a good way to enable kids to learn math is to empower their teachers with knowledge of the mathematics they need to teach. Greta also gave me some advice on pre-algebar and beginning algebra texts, which I've been sorely wanting. Ben is doing pre-algebra this year -- next year, he'll need a pre-algebra/beginning algebra text. Most of the books that Greta recommended to me are from the 70s; from a time before math texts were full of colorful graphic distractors. She had good things to say about the Smith, Brown, and Dolciani algebra text, and about Paul Foerster's Algebra 1 text (which also received a high rating at Mathematically Correct). She recommended a Holt pre-algebra textbook from the 1970s ("it had a space shuttle on the cover," she said, "you know the one?" ... I didn't.. does anyone else?). You know, I just went looking for a place where I could buy the Dolciani text -- is that as hard a book to find as it appears to be? Back to main page.
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Greta, in case you're reading this -- is this also one of the texts you recommended? -- CarolynJohnston - 24 Dec 2005
The comment box disappeared. I must have done something wrong. Sorry! CharlesH
Hi Charles, Not to worry -- easy enough to put it back. :-) -- CarolynJohnston - 24 Dec 2005
But here's the mystery -- you must have written something, if you edited the comment box away. But clearly you wrote what you wrote above after the comment box went away (this kind of deep thinking is what I get the big bucks for, here at KTM). So did something else that you wrote get lost? -- CarolynJohnston - 24 Dec 2005
Hmm... looks like it was 'test test test'. -- CarolynJohnston - 24 Dec 2005
Thanks for getting the comment box back. I am relieved. I'll try to shed light on the mystery. I did indeed write "test" (once). [I thought I had lost my cookies but then it turned out I had only lost my marbles]. For some reason "test" posted three times. I then went to delete and must have accidentally deleted the box. In desperation I went into edit and piggybacked on your message. This gave me boxless entry. -- CharlesH - 24 Dec 2005
I have here a number of syllabi that show what real teacher training could be like What Elementary Teachers Need to Know. Instead we get education "majors" who are little more than coloring experts and poster makers indoctrinated to regurgitate constructivist phrases and mumbo-jumbo. See Prof. Plum's collection here and here. (Unfortunately requires major horizontal scrolling). While looking at the math syllabus I was led to David Klein's site and found modules to teach a deep understanding of math to teachers. Overhead Slides from TheWinning Equation Now this would be true professional development for a change. -- CharlesH - 24 Dec 2005
Here's contact info for Dolciani: Algebra 1 isbn 0-395-97722-3
[Catherine here: I have this book] -- VerghisKoshi - 24 Dec 2005
The comments box is gone on the Prentice Hall homework post, too, I think. I couldn't get it back— -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Dec 2005
I have The Man Who Counted, but so far Christopher has refused to have anything to do with it. Now I'm inspired to a) find the book inside my house b) read it out loud to Christopher -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Dec 2005
Anyone want to lay odds on which book we'll finish first? The Bible and its Influence or The Man Who Counts? -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Dec 2005
I also have Dolciani's pre-algebra text, which looks fantastic. My neighbor's son loved it. (She was using it to try to teach him pre-algebra last year when he was in the course Christopher is in now.) Pre-Algebra: An Accelerated Course by Dolciani, Sorgenfrey, Graham ISBN: 0-395-59123-6 be sure to get ISBN numbers These texts go through so many editions, it's impossible to know if you've got the real thing or a revised-beyond-recognition version. -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Dec 2005
How come you get to have all the fun? -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Dec 2005
I also like Basic Algebra by Brown, Smith, & Dolciani.
I ordered it because I read (in some trustworthy source I've now lost) that a math teacher used it with LD kids; she may have used it in her tutoring work as well. Any book used with LD kids is almost certainly going to be very clear in its presentation, and I think Basic Algebra is. Another thought: I used lots of problems from Basic Algebra in my Singapore Math class this year. The kids were TAG 9-year olds, and they loved the problems—and could do them, for the most part. Lastly, I suspect this is a terrific book for parents needing to review their long-lost algebra skills, or 'help' with homework when they haven't done any math in 20 years. The teacher's edition is easy to find, too. ISBN in my copy of Basic Algebra Teacher's Edition: 0-395-63747-3 -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Dec 2005
I take it back. I'm having a hard time scaring up copies of the Teacher's edition There were zillions on Amazon about a year ago. -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Dec 2005
Plus, The ISBN number in my copy is completely different from the ISBN number at Froogle, which is: ISBN 0-395-32113-1 -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Dec 2005
I never could find the teacher's edition (for under 50 bucks.) The odd numbered answers should be in the back, though. -- SusanS - 24 Dec 2005
Here's the one I have: Basic Algebra: Teacher's Edition by Brown, Richard G., Geraldine D. Smith & Mary P. Dolciani ISBN: 0395637473 at abebooks.com This is a used copy. My copy is brand new (date: 1997) from McDougall Littell Houghton Mifflin I'm wondering if the book is now out of print. -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Dec 2005
Just noticed: mathematicallycorrect lists Basic Algebra as 'not approved.' (They don't give the authors.) I still think it's great. My guess would be that the book is too low-level to be approved as a statewide Algebra 1 book. However, IMO, 'low-level' doesn't mean 'dumb.' Richard Brown, btw, is (or was?) a teacher at Exeter. And of course Dolciani was the original author. -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Dec 2005
Russian Math is pre-algebra. -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Dec 2005
I'm confused. Did someone recommend this book? Intermediate Algebra : Functions and Graphs (with CD-ROM, BCA/iLrn Tutorial, and InfoTrac) (Paperback) -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Dec 2005
or did I just stumble across it by accident? -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Dec 2005
I think Greta recommended it, but I'm not sure this is the text she recommended. Perhaps she'll show up and clear up the confusion, but she's got a lot of guests for Xmas so perhaps not. -- CarolynJohnston - 24 Dec 2005
How come you get to have all the fun? The fun goes where I go, baby. -- CarolynJohnston - 24 Dec 2005
The fun goes where I go, baby. snort— -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Dec 2005
obviously, you're right -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Dec 2005
I just discovered that the TOC you linked to is from Basic Algebra by Brown, Smith & Dolciani. this book: -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Dec 2005
Here's what that site says about their 'Basic Algebra' course (which I assume uses Brown, Smith & Dolciani): Basic Algebra is similar to Algebra I but at a less rigorous pace. This course will prepare students for mathematics courses requiring basic algebraic skills. -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Dec 2005
alright attempting to be clear (MORE school trauma today.....ON CHRISTMAS EVE.....brain cells on the fritz) The link above is the course outline, not the TOC. The course outline for Lincoln High School's "Basic Algebra" course closely follows the TOC for Brown, Smith & Dolciani's book BASIC ALGEBRA. -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Dec 2005
The algebra book I recommended to Carolyn is Intermediate Algebra: Graphs and Functions, by Larson, Hostetler and Neptune. The one I taught from must be an earlier edition as the cover was gray, not multicolored, so I can't vouch for the third edition. I found the explanations to be very clear, it had lots of problems at a wide range of challenge levels, and it was free of fluff as far as I remember. There were a few references to graphing calculators but they were easy to ignore. This may have changed in the later edition. Catherine, please dig out The Man Who Counted. I have read it to many sixth graders and the vast majority of them love it. There's some fun math in it that is perfect for that age. I could go on and on about this book--it is great in so many ways. I could do a review of it for KTM if you would like. I wish eveyone safe travels and a happy New Year! Greta -- GretaFrohbieter - 29 Dec 2005