Sunday, February 05, 2006

Harry Potter Math

At Polski's school, a first-year math teacher recently left a lesson plan for a substitute that was more hocus-pocus than math:
Many of our students arrive as seventh graders with a severe lack of basic math skills. Our students consistently score 1's and 2's (failing and approaching basic) on a four scale scoring rubric for the district math assessment. Most score in the 20-30th percentile range on any national standardized test of mathematics.

So, what is this post about? As today progressed through class periods 3-4-5 and 6, I heard all about the wonderful fun day my students had in their required "Pre-Algebra" class. They had a sub today. Today's lesson plan was to watch some of a Harry Potter movie. "We got to watch Harry Potter in Math," I heard over and over.

IMO, this is a total crock of caca. These kids should have had SOME mathematics instruction, even delivered/supervised by a sub., a person required to have at least a BA degree and having passed the CBEST exam. Even if it was review of basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, decimals, fractions or some other math skill in which many of them are deficient. But no, they wasted a whole day of instruction on a video. (Actually, a video, being rated PG-13, that would require parental permission for students to view in a classroom) IMO, Our principal is responsible for this; it is his school and he should be closely monitoring a classroom with a first year math teacher, AUGHHHH !
Polski notes that the math department has been like a "revolving door" when it comes to teacher turnover. He then poses an interesting question: When a school can't recruit and retain good math teachers, who should be held accountable?
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