The Highs and Lows of Meeting the Teacher and New Math

I look forward to meeting the teacher each year at the Open House. Last night I got to meet Krystal’s 3rd grade teacher.

Now, for most of the past year, Krystal has been saying “I hope I get Mrs. C. for 3rd grade!” I heard it so many times, and I kept telling her that I was sure all the teachers would be great and that she shouldn’t get her hopes up for one particular teacher. Class lists were posted at the school the week we were away on vacation, so the day we came home we didn’t even go home first – we went straight to the school to check whose class she was in.

Of course, she didn’t get Mrs. C. She got Mrs. M. Tears ensued. It was not a great homecoming. (Plus, it was cold and raining! Insult to injury I tell you!)

On the first day of school (last week), Krystal came home saying it was a horrible day because none of her friends were in her class, and oh yeah, her teacher yelled at her. Yelled at her? She says it was for putting a chair up on the desk the wrong way.

Two days later she was forgiving Mrs. M. for the chair incident, chalking it up to stress on the first day of school. By day 5 she was declaring her love for Mrs. M. Phew.

My first impressions: Wow, Krystal’s school grows some tall teachers. Her 2nd grade teacher was quite tall, and so is this one – 5’10” I want to say. I loved her attitude, her apparent sense of humor and her honesty. She described the curriculum and said it is heavily weighted to reading, writing and math (the ole 3 R’s haven’t gone out of style!). She said any social studies or science they do is usually tied into reading and math. She even said, quoting here as best I can – “Our social studies program is a little weak. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to say that.” I appreciate hearing that from her – I know she has to follow the guidelines she’s given, but it also gives me the chance to supplement it at home, especially since Krystal is interested in history and current events.

When talking about the math program, she said, “We use Everyday Math (which Krystal has been using since 1st grade) and a lot of parents hate it. The math is totally different from the way we all learned it.” The kids are thick into multiplication this year, which Krystal got a good head start on last year, but 3rd grade is the Year of Multiplication (or so I have deemed it). She said they use the lattice method to teach it. Hanging around the room were various things the kids had done in the first week of school, including a sheet on their expectations, hopes and dreams for the year. Krystal’s said she was excited about learning lattice math. So I asked her about it. Turns out she had no idea what it was, but thought it sounded cool.

So I looked it up. Let me see if I can give you a picture (you’re welcome to read more about it by following the link). Try this problem: 14 x 56.


Oh. My. God. What a mess! I get it…..but I don’t get why you would want to teach a child to use this method. It takes up a lot of scratch paper, way too much pencil lead and is confusing as heck! What’s wrong with the way I learned??

I suppose I’ll have to help Krystal work on her problems this way, but I think I’ll teach her my way too.

Crazy new math.

One response to “The Highs and Lows of Meeting the Teacher and New Math

  1. That was the song my parents sang when I was learning “new” math…then my kids learned a new “new” math…now kids are learning lattices that are just so amazingly complicated…the wheel goes round and round…

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