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Long on abstract fluff, short on substance
on July 28, 2014
It's difficult to disagree with Fosnot's abstractions: recent headlines echo the common refrain than US math instruction "sucks." But...
Teachers don't need more books (a) repeating that the "old ways" don't work, (b) filled with overly-long quotes and stories of "super teachers," and (c) promoting some 5-point, abstract model for how to make every math minute count.
Teachers need support in real classrooms: easily accessible materials, gobs of concrete, nitty-gritty examples, help with the inevitable bumps in the road.
And if US teachers fail to teach math well because we weren't well taught, then what we need is support increasing our mathematical thinking.
Impressed by Fosnot materials sent by a math teacher, I bought this book (Constructing Number Sense) hoping to "get the meat." But... there is no meat, nothing I can use tomorrow in my elementary classroom. I've rarely read a book and underlined less. My copy's in the box for Goodwill.
Any teacher serious about teaching math better should consider Hung-Hsi Wu's, Understanding Numbers in Elementary School Mathematics. Yes, it's expensive. But unlike Constructing Number Sense, it's worth every penny and gets reached for on a daily basis.