Part 1: Textbooks and "Oregon Focus"

I am about to be the critic so brace yourself especially if you teach 6th-8th grade math in Oregon.  Those who teach outside of Oregon here is the background story.  Oregon Focus is a textbook published by Shannon McCaw and a series of other Oregon teachers. Their backgrounds range from elementary to high school. The text is directly aligned to Oregon Standards and mirrors the state assessment in mathematics almost to a T.

Well I am about to share my dislike for this text.

1) The first current problem with this text is her textbook and her supplement do NOT align to the Common Core State Standards of Mathematics (Important to note the original text wasn't meant to; however, the supplement was suppose to fill in the gaps).  The level of content within the books are not sufficient for all populations. The idea of taking many of the chapters and re-arranging them for the different grades that the standards moved to is not sufficient. How I teach a 6th grader is far different than how I teach an 8th grader; as well as my interactions and topics that are had with these students. The topics also are not in depth enough for the CCSS. The models in it are not enough or are wrong (See #3)

2) This leads to the 2nd problem. This book was seen as an answer for the new Oregon standards not so many years ago. It gained popular attention with Oregon educators as everything was right there lesson by lesson and it was increasing test scores by having alignment to what was on the test taking the guess work out of teaching. Seems wonderful huh? Well news to Oregon Educators this text will not work alone for the CCSS!  Many educators are so closed off to this notion that they refuse to let this text go and expand and adapt with new materials available for free with some easy internet searching.

3) Thirdly, yes I am only going to list three, since if anyone who reads this teaches in Oregon probably hates me enough.  There are pieces of the text that are wrong. I am not talking about the state assessment practice problems with wrong multiple choice answers. I am talking about models with manipulatives. In the 7th grade book 1 rational numbers and equations take a careful look at the diagram using chips to show "adding the opposite".  The text starts with a problem such as -2 - (6). Then next to it shows the problem re-written -2 + -6. On the manipulatives mat all the problem shows is -2 + -6. Why use the manipulatives when all you are doing is showing students rules.  Instead this problem should be showing that we do not have 6 positive chips to take away so we add "zero pairs" thus not changing the original problem, but making available six positive chips to take away leaving only red chips in a pile.

If you are interested in seeing the text or info. on it it can be found at
Lastly, wake up educators and be knowledgeable in your field. Learn to read, explore, and stay current.

-Further questions direct to the comments...there will be follow up parts.


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