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Singapore Math Means Hope

Wilton schools dropping Chicago Math for Singapore Math offer hope that change really happens...and maybe hope for efforts to get our kids to exercise and move more.

I recently heard that the Wilton schools are dropping Chicago math in favor of Singapore math. This gives me hope for the future in ways that have nothing to do with how kids are taught to multiply.

First, as a parent, I have been appalled by Chicago math.  The "logorythmic spiral" approach described by teachers just never made sense to me.  (I can't think of other areas in life where important skill sets are taught in fragments and where necessary practice and repetition are derided as mindless memorization --what's wrong with memorization?) I am impressed that the powers that be at the Wilton schools woke up to the fact that the Singapore kids are cleaning up on math skills while U.S. kids have been languishing near the bottom of the heap internationally.

So this development gives me hope that there could be progress in other areas as well. Here's one:  the childhood obesity epidemic.

Hans Kraus, whom I wrote about in my book, JFK'S SECRET DOCTOR, back in the 1950s was the first to identify the problem that American children weren't getting enough exercise, and that there was a direct correlation between sedentary lifestyles, not enough exercise, fitness, and mental and physical health.  True, Wilton kids seem fitter than most in the U.S., but we still have a long way to go.  Many kids, unless they are on a sports team or doing exercise outside of the schools, are too sedentary. So here's a proposal for getting our kids to exercise more, submitted in the spirit that if our schools can drop Chicago math for Singapore math, anything, even extremely unlikely, can happen.

Bike lanes for kids to bike to school.

Granted, this would mean some major overhauls. Wilton isn't set up for kids biking to school. We don't have the dedicated bike lanes, houses are sprawled around our beautiful town, there is the question of what they would do with their 238 pound backpacks on the bike and at the school...

Lots of challenges with this one, I realize. But I toss it out for a starting point for discussion: How can we get more exercise built into our kids' lives?  How can we get our kids to move more?

I'd love your comments on this.

 

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Sharon Hunt July 06, 2012 at 03:11 PM
I complained for years to teachers and administrators about Chicago Math. I sat through a evening of attending middle school math classes designed to "enlighten" parents as to the virtues of this program. There are few. Its too late for my children but I'm glad younger students will benefit from this change. I have recently moved to an area where students ride bikes and walk to school and while its wonderful and healthy, we are still trying to figure out how to reduce heavy backpacks.
Amo Probus July 06, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Chicago math was terrible...glad my kids avoided it. Be interesting to see how our teachers compare to those in Singapore...
Cathy July 07, 2012 at 12:08 PM
About time!
Liliya July 26, 2012 at 05:28 AM
I delighted to hear that they are switching from Chicago math to Singapore! My youngest struggled with math in 1st grade. I absolutely hate it. We moved here from California and that is the 1st thing I noticed here in Wilton - no sidewalks, no bike lanes, ticks issues. It's depressing. How in the world are kids suppose to play outside???? It's definitely more beautiful here than in California but the everyday simple things that make life easier for kids are not here :-((
let your kids be kids July 26, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Why do you need a sidewalk to play outside? 2 acres of backyard is not enough room? You would rather live in suburbia where the houses are on top of each other than live here where there is space to run free? Why do you need a bike lane to ride to school? I went to Wilton schools and my friends and I used to ride our bikes to school and all over town quite often. The problem today is not lack of bike lanes, it is over-protective parents who do not want their kids doing anything that has the slightest chance of them getting hurt. I know parents who will not let their kids outside for fear of them getting stung by a bee.
Franklin Wong July 26, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Chicago math has many good aspects and has produced overall good results, I.e., the percentage of student achieving goal or put another way everyone gets a passing grade. In Singapore there is a very competitive education system educational advancement is based solely on "testing". If you do not "pass" you left to your own devices, left beyond as it were. It is very different philosopically.

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