Friday, October 31, 2014

Common enVision Questions & Answers

Q: Why did the district do away with Saxon?

A: A majority of K-5 teachers found a need for a resource that allows better differentiation for the various types of learners in their classrooms.  In addition, when Kansas adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), we knew we needed a resource that addressed the new standards.  All school districts in Kansas (and 43 other states) will be teaching to these K-12 standards within the next three years. 


Q:  Why does enVision math seem to be so much more challenging than Saxon?

A:  A common parent and teacher criticism of Saxon was that it didn’t include as much higher-level thinking.  enVision includes much more, so students are experiencing some struggles.  With struggle comes growth, and our teachers are working to ensure that the struggle is healthy and not detrimental.  With time, these types of problems will become less challenging due to the increased exposure.  Furthermore, your child will become more adept at higher level critical thinking and develop problem solving abilities, which translate to the real world.


Q: What is Horizon doing to help my child through this transition?

A:  We have added 30 minutes of math to the schedule at grades 1-5 to allow extra time to pull students in small groups for re-teaching/extension. We anticipate that this time will remain in the schedule in following years, as math continues to be a focus district-, state-, and nation-wide.  Furthermore, teachers are making math the primary focus of their weekly meetings.


Q: What can I do to help my child through the transition?

A:  Keep a positive attitude.  Convey to your child that challenges are expected and working through this math is going to make her smarter in all areas.  Be cautious about using phrases like, “I was not a math person either,” and “You’ve got your father’s math brain.” Instead emphasize effort over intelligence because math aptitude is learned through practice and experience; it's not genetic.  For more information, see the article “The Power and Peril of Praise” attached below.


Q: What resources can I use to help my child with specific homework questions?

A: If your child’s homework includes a page labeled “Reteaching,” you can review the top half of the page to see examples of how the concept was taught.  A sample is attached below.  You can also access the “learning bridge” video for the particular lesson.  Instructions for doing this are attached at the bottom of the enVision information page.


Q: Why is my student occasionally bringing home worksheets from other resources as well?

A: Every math resource requires some degree of supplementing, and enVision is no exception.  Teachers may come across a resource that reinforces the concepts well and choose to use it for a given day's homework.  In fact, in grades 1 and 2, teachers have Smart Sums and Smart Subtract kits to help with basic computation strategies like regrouping.  It is important to note that these specific resources apply only to problems where regrouping may be necessary.


Q: What if I have a different way of doing the math than what was taught to my student?  Can I still show him my method?

A: Yes.  Your child will not learn all concepts in the same manner you learned it.  Since we were in school, a great deal of research has been focused on how students conceptualize math.  The resources we use are based upon that research; however, it is perfectly fine to share a more efficient method of computing with your child provided that she understands it.  Common Core literature suggests that there are multiple means to a solution and that students should find the method that works best for them.  If you have questions regarding why a concept is taught in a certain way, please submit it through the enVision Question Submission page.