Ping – In School Systems, Slow Progress for Open-Source Textbooks – NYTimes.com

Publishers have started de-emphasizing the textbook in favor of selling a package of supporting materials like teaching aids and training. And companies like Houghton Mifflin have created internal start-ups to embrace technology and capture for themselves some of the emerging online business.

via Ping – In School Systems, Slow Progress for Open-Source Textbooks – NYTimes.com.

INFURIATING Scott G. McNealy has never been easier. Just bring up math textbooks.

Mr. McNealy, the fiery co-founder and former chief executive of Sun Microsystems, shuns basic math textbooks as bloated monstrosities: their price keeps rising while the core information inside of them stays the same.

“Ten plus 10 has been 20 for a long time,” Mr. McNealy says.

Early this year, Oracle, the database software maker, acquired Sun for $7.4 billion, leaving Mr. McNealy without a job. He has since decided to aim his energy and some money at Curriki, an online hub for free textbooks and other course material that he spearheaded six years ago.

“We are spending $8 billion to $15 billion per year on textbooks” in the United States, Mr. McNealy says. “It seems to me we could put that all online for free.”

Texas Instruments Activities Exchange: “Learning Focused Schools” and Saxon Math

Activity Overview

For teachers who use Saxon Math and are utilizing Learning Focused Schools concepts, an application of Essential Questions, Vocabulary development, and Preview/Acceleration can be addressed by using this process of preview handout, vocabulary quiz, and answers to Essential Questions on test day.

Before the Activity

As students complete and turn in their test over four lessons, they pick up their Essential Questions and Vocabulary handout for the next four lessons. Their homework assignment is to read the next four lessons and define and study the terms on the vocabulary list in context of the lessons.

Continue reading

Summary: Mathematically Correct 7th Grade Math Textbook Reviews

Comparative Summary for Seventh Grade


The books under study break down easily into 5 groups. The top (A) group consists of true pre-Algebra texts. The next (B) group consists of books at a lower level of content that might work as pre-Algebra texts under certain situations, but which would better serve as pre-pre-Algebra texts. Given the quality of these books, a true pre-Algebra book in the same series might well score in the same range as other pre-Algebra books. The third (C) group contains books that are not suited for pre-Algebra relative to any of the books above them, but which, under certain circumstances, might work for pre-pre-Algebra. The final two groups (D, F) are unlikely to allow any significant number of students to meet our criteria for even pre-pre-Algebra.

Overall Ratings

Please read the individual reviews to determine if a particular book is likely to meet the needs of a particular school or district. As noted below, not all books with the same grade are equivalent in presentation or organization.

A – Well suited to pre-Algebra. These books may be considered 8th grade texts in some areas, but should be considered for seventh grade students where possible, and were evaluated based on seventh grade criteria.

    4.8 A Glencoe/McGraw-Hill Pre-Algebra, an Integrated Transition to Algebra and Geometry

    4.6 A McDougal Littell Passport to Algebra and Geometry

    4.3 A Saxon Publishers Algebra 1/2

B – Possibly suited to pre-Algebra. Definitely suited to pre-pre-Algebra. A true pre-Algebra book in the same series would probably rate at the A level

    3.8 B+ Scott Foresman/Addison Wesley Middle School Math Course 2

    3.6 B Glencoe/McGraw-Hill Mathematics: Applications and Connections, Course 2

    3.5 B Harcourt Brace Math Advantage Middle School II Preparation for Algebra

    3.5 B Prentice Hall Middle Grades Math: Tools for Success Course 2

C – Not suited to pre-Algebra. May do well in certain pre-pre-algebra situations

    2.8 C+ Saxon Publishers Math 87

via Mathematically Correct Mathematics Program Reviews.

2.7 C McDougal Littell Passport to Mathematics, Book 2

Mathematically Correct Saxon Math Algebra 1/2 Reviews

Overall Program Evaluation: A

Overall Evaluation [4.3]

This high overall rating reflects a high level of content and particularly effective presentation and student work ratings.

This book is among the top three rated books in this survey. The level of content is more than adequate to prepare students for algebra, although it is not as high as in the other two books in the top tier. On the other hand, the presentation and student work make it more likely that more students will actually master the material at an appropriate level in the average classroom. Continue reading

Mathematically Correct Saxon Math 87 Textbook Reviews

Overall Program Evaluation C+

Overall Evaluation [2.8]

As noted in the preface, this is a “pre-pre-algebra” book, not a pre-algebra book. The preface also makes the important point that mastery of an appropriate pre-algebra course, no matter what the name, is important for success in algebra. Thus, this is not the book to use immediately before algebra, although it could reasonably be used with students, at any grade, who are not yet ready for pre-algebra but would be on course to take algebra in two years. The relatively low expected level of teacher to teacher variance and the clarity of the lessons might make this an excellent pre-pre-algebra choice for many districts.

via Mathematically Correct Mathematics Program Reviews.

Strogatz on Math-The Hilbert Hotel – Infiniti

Infinity can be mind-boggling.

Some of its strangest aspects first came to light in the late 1800s, with Georg Cantor’s groundbreaking work on “set theory.” Cantor was particularly interested in infinite sets of numbers and points, like the set {1, 2, 3, 4,…} of “natural numbers” and the set of points on a line. He defined a rigorous way to compare different infinite sets and discovered, shockingly, that some infinities are bigger than others.

via The Hilbert Hotel – Opinionator Blog – NYTimes.com.