We have a new math curriculum (see previous post re: thumb tacks). It has been a huge adjustment for both the students and the teachers. We are trying. We are persevering. We are not being too successful.
One of the limitations to the program is that it is a whole new language. Granted, the mathematical language we have been using is still relevant, but each curriculum has its own jargon. What may have been called a "word problem" in the previous curriculum is now called a "math story"; an equation is now a 'open number sentence'. This is hard for all of us to get our heads around. I know what the differences are and how you may use the same term for different things, or use a more specific term instead of the more general. It is still confusing.
One of the selling points of this program is the 'on line component'. Each student is given a login and pass code, and they can access the student book, supplemental material and explanations, and play the games (that are an integral part of the program) against the computer. This is all extra support that the curriculum publisher and our district have provided for our students. Teachers can track how often, for how long, and how successfully, students log on and play games.
There is one problem with this on-line component. My students can't access it. Less than 10 of my 30 students have a computer that is fast enough to access and use this website. Some of my students have computers, but they are not new enough or fast enough to handle the website. I have other students who do have internet connections at thier house - dial up. I didn't even know you could DO dial-up any more. And I have some students who don't have a computer at home, or have a computer but they don't have internet access.
And who are the students who don't have access? They are the economically disadvantaged students. They are the underrepresented minority students. They are the students for whom I need to provide the most support. They are the ones who won't be able to access this 'support' from the new math curriculum.
And we are all having a hard time with the new program. Our last test results reflected badly on all of us. Conceptually, I think we are doing okay (and they all really like doing lattice multiplication), and I am not worried that we aren't learning anything. I am just afraid that we are not making progress with students who need the most support, and providing enrichment and support when they cannot access it.
I hate to stand by and watch my achievement gap become the Grand Canyon.