This post is slightly different today, as I describe the numbers involved in my job, not my real life. I got a letter from a visitor to our Excel Math website. She posed a fascinating and very reasonable question:
QUESTION: I used Excel Math 10 years ago and it had 175 lessons per year. We are looking at Excel Math again, and wondered - what was cut out to bring it down to 155 lessons?
Sheesh. You have to remember that to a teacher, Cutting Stuff Out is not always a good thing. Especially when it comes to books.
Could this be a "when did you stop beating your wife?" sort of question?
I wasn't sure, but reasoning that the facts (numbers) were my best defense, I responded like this:
ANSWER: You are getting a similar amount of material, assembled in a different way:
- All of the Excel Math grades have 155 lessons for 31 weeks of instruction
- We don't provide homework on Fridays, so we created longer, in-depth lessons on Fridays, occupying the Homework space
- Grades 2-6 have 30 tests which formerly appeared on the back of Lesson Sheets but they are now on their own pages
- On the back of 24 tests are "Create A Problems" which assess students' higher-level thinking and reasoning skills; they delve into concepts not easily managed in regular lessons
- We provide 12-24 activities or exercises, introducing kids to measuring, reasoning, graphing, research projects, and so on.
- Glossaries of Math Terms cross-referenced to the lessons in which a word is introduced
- Test Question Concept Tables indicate on which lesson we taught a concept, so you can support students who didn't master that part of the curriculum content
- Projectable Lessons so you can put a lesson up on a screen while you present it to the class
ANSWER: There are other changes:
- We simplified some of the layout of the pages
- We put the answers in different type fonts, so they are easier for the teacher to read
- We "show the work" so teachers can instruct without having to do calculations themselves
- We gave the students a bit more room to write their answers
- We reduced the amount of space used for practicing basic math facts
- We reduced the number of problems teachers were expected to read aloud to the class
- We put in all the modern quarters, nickels, other coins and paper currency
- We tightened up the writing in the Lesson Plans and instructional material
- We improved our description of and teaching of probability
- We adjusted our subject matter content to meet state standards
- We adjusted our "social content" and "political correctness"
- we removed 44 lessons, all repeats on previously-taught subjects
- we added 21 lessons, mostly new topics and/or repeats on other difficult subjects
- we added 36 bonus exercises and activities
- we provided about 7500 total problems (in Lessons, Guided Practice, Homework and Tests)
|Click to enlarge|
"And so Your Honor, I think the numbers will show that I never actually started beating my wife..."