Frame around article about federal funding for MOVE IT Math

The key ... is that it attracts the student’s attention by asking the child to do more than just listen to a teacher talk. Instead the students are actively involved....

Mrs. Anderson says the program grew out of total frustration: “We had to do something to help these kids want to stay in school—so few graduated from high school.” ...

In Texas, the general guidelines for kindergarten are that students should be able to compare things, to recognize numbers one through 20, and to be familiar with circles, squares, and triangles.

By the end of kindergarten, most of the Port O’Connor kids are familiar with addition and subtraction of whole numbers, fractions, coordinate graphing, positive and negative integers, solving for one unknown in an algebraic equation, area and perimeter of polygons, symmetry, and place values of numbers into the thousands.

Bob Nielsen, a member of the Mathematical Sciences Education Board in Washington, DC, and … assistant to the president of the American Federation of Teachers, has visited the Port O’Connor School twice and is a strong advocate of both the Port O’Connor School and of Dr. Shoecraft’s work.

Nielsen says, “It’s the direction that school mathematics ought to go everywhere. … Port O’Connor has demonstrated that all kids can learn math.

“I hadn’t realized how dramatically things can change until I visited Port O’Connor School. I’m convinced that this stuff is so radically different from the way you and I learned math that the only way to convince people is for them to see it happen—if you haven’t seen it, you can’t believe it.

“There’s something wrong when math is a subject that almost all kids learn to hate—the Port O’Connor School is dramatic proof that it doesn’t have to be that way.” …

The University of Houston at Victoria honored the young mathematicians at the Port O’Connor School in 1989 by offering UHV scholarships to all of the students on the condition they finish junior college. (Italics added.) …

Texas Co-op Power, Swisher Electric Edition, March, 1992

A Revolution in Education

George Macias

A small rural school on the Texas Gulf Coast is helping revolutionize the way educators think about mathematics and education in general.

The Port O’Connor School … is a public school with classes from kindergarten through sixth grade. The school has a modest budget and limited resources, and students are typically from working class families, mostly the sons and daughters of shrimpers and farmers.

For two years in a row, third graders at Port O’Connor have scored 100 percentile on the state’s standardized third grade math test.

These young mathematicians not only add, subtract, multiply, and divide bigger numbers than much older students in other schools—they also enjoy learning.

And astonishingly, they are grasping and excited about algebra concepts—as early as kindergarten.

“Nothing sets these kids apart except for this new way of instruction: any child from any background can profit from this way of being taught,” says Mrs. Marilyn Bratcher, the principal of Port O’Connor School.

She says the Port O’Connor experience is proving that what schools and teachers usually expect of students is far, far below what they can accomplish. …

The significance of the Port O’Connor “experiment” became clear to Principal Bratcher one day while sitting on the floor with kindergarten students in Judy Anderson’s class. “I was assessing Judy for the career ladder. When I realized what was happening, I was so excited I crawled up to her and I sad, ‘Judy, you are teaching algebra to kindergarten kids—and it’s only October!’”

Mrs. Anderson began rethinking her approach to teaching after attending a three-week school presented by Dr. Paul Shoecraft at the University of Houston at Victoria. The program was funded with federal assistance made possible by Eisenhower Math/Science Grants and the Education for Economic Security Act.

Dr. Shoecraft promotes a revolutionary system of teaching math that is shaking the foundation of the educational hierarchy and drawing the interest of prestigious think tanks such as the National Science Foundation....

Dr. Shoecraft, who has been working on his educational revolution since the early 1970s, … says several South Texas Schools are part of this new cutting edge reform movement, but the Port O’Connor School was the first school to fully commit an entire school to this innovative teaching style....

Children adding long column of big numbers using Addition Facts Algorithm

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