down and skip count. Once these are mastered, students gain a rapid understanding of equality and base and place value, an early ability to solve and graph algebraic equations, a natural facility with fractions, the mastery of whole number addition and subtraction by grade one and the mastery of whole number multiplication and division by grade two. By grades three and four students master fractions, decimals and percentages.
Approximately 20 schools in this area have implemented MOVE IT Math successfully. But Shoecraft operates with no illusions about the mechanics that propel school districts. Currently seven textbooks are on the TEA [Texas Education Agency] state adoption list until 1995. These texts represent “probably 90 percent of what most children experience in material in grades one through six,” said Shoecraft. Most of the material is redundant.
Interested in all aspects of student learning outcomes, Shoecraft combed through these seven texts, counting the number of pages devoted to [just] addition and subtraction of whole numbers for grades one through six. The numbers are revealing. Scott, Foresman now devotes 534 pages to just addition and subtraction; Silver Burdett and Ginn, 574; Addison-Wesley, 584; Harcourt Brace and Jovanovich, 515.
Within the MOVE IT Math program students master whole number addition, subtraction, multiplication and division by third grade. Years saved with no redundancy of curriculum.
According to Shoecraft, the key to a successful relationship between a student and his or her math is to identify that which doesn’t work and try that which will work. Since students today will be competing for opportunities in a global economy tomorrow, school districts must address the declining performance of U.S. students in the fields of math and science.
One recent survey of 13-year-olds from six countries, including the United Kingdom and Canada, placed U.S. students last in math and below mean in science. In another recent survey of 13 countries, U.S. high school seniors placed twelfth in algebra, eleventh in geometry and chemistry, last in calculus and ninth in physics.
Shoecraft woiuld like to remove the barriers that keep students from succeeding in mathematics He believes that his MOVE IT Math program is a far more positive step in learning than the traditional curriculum.
In his recent video Shoecraft challenges his viewers. “You pick the most impoverished school district in this country, and pick from that some grade one children who heretofore have had no hope of succeeding in the school system, and you give us 10 weeks 3 hours a day with those children, and we’ll show you children that will knock the socks off any other first graders in this nation,” said Shoecraft.
Mathematics Made Easy with MOVE IT!
Barbara Gorzycki, Staff Reporter, UHCLIDIAN University of Houston–Clear Lake, February 4, 1991
Travel back for a moment. You’re in third grade and the room is deathly quiet. Heads are down and eyes focus blankly on anything—anything, that is, but the teacher. You know to avoid her eyes because if you look up, she just might call on you. Oh, no. A churning gut. Fear. Sweat. Dizziness.
It’s the dreaded mathematics lessons. Remember?
If you’re like millions of Americans who have an aversion to math, you’ve probably experienced at least some of these emotions. But numbers don’t have to be such scary business. In fact, Dr. Paul Shoecraft, professor of math education at UH-Victoria, is currently proving that learning mathematics in today’s classrooms can be downright fun.
For the past 20 years, Shoecraft … [has] worked to put together a professional development program for elementary school teachers and students that emphasizes understanding math concepts instead of memorizing basic math facts. His MOVE IT (Math Opportunities, Valuable Experiences—Innovative Teaching) Math program may well be revolutionizing the teaching of math.
In the standard memory-based curriculum now taught statewide, students don’t learn basic number facts until grades seven or eight, but in the MOVE IT Math program, students master these number facts by grades two or three through the use of manipulatives, including objects, games, examples and the kinds of activities that move students from abstract ideas of numbers to real-world applications of math.
“We remove the hurdle of the basic facts,” said Shoecraft. “There are 390 of those to learn. We use a Tap and Tally approach [the number facts component of TouchMath]. With this the children learn to figure out all 390 basic facts. By grade one students can master the 200 addition and subtraction facts. By grade two it’s easy for all students to master [the 190] multiplication and division facts.”
According to Shoecraft and his teachers, the students not only learn math, but they love the whole process. Robert Haas, superintendent of Hallettsville I.S.D., saw firsthand the advantages of MOVE IT Math when the district implemented the program.
“I had observed a true breakthrough as far as students’ interest and ability to do math at the lower grade levels,” said Haas. The success rates included students from all socioeconomic levels.
Essentially the MOVE IT Math program uses manipulatives and the three skills of count up, count xxxxx
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