Thursday, March 18, 2010

NCTM article

Switzer, M.J. (2010). Bridging the math gap. Mathematics teaching in the middle school, 15(7), 400-405.

This article had two main ideas, first there is a gap between elementary and middle school learning, and second there are ways to bridge that gap. The author addressed the issue of a gap by stating that middle school experiences don't connect with elementary experiences. Often times middle school teachers don't quite know their students' prior knowledge. He did recognize that even though middle school teachers will often have a basic idea of what the students have or should have learned in elementary school, the school structure differences and other factors make it hard to communicate between elementary and middle school teachers. One of the ways he mentioned that can help fill this gap is for middle school teachers to become better acquainted with their students' prior knowledge. A way to do this is to encourage middle and elementary school teachers to work together and communicate students' learning. Much of the paper consisted of algorithms and methods to teach these algorithms that would help students better transition into middle school, thus helping to bridge the gap.

I agree with the author that there is a gap between middle and elementary school, and there are multiple ways to bridge that gap. More than just a gap between middle school and elementary school, there can be a gap between middle and high school learning of mathematics. From my own experience going into middle school is hard enough but sometimes the teachers presented material in a way we had never seen before in elementary school. Had they started with the math we knew and built off of that I would have felt much better equipped to learn. I found that to be the same when going into high school. For example I remember getting into high school and feeling as though I had never learned slope before. However I had learned it in middle school, it just wasn't taught the same way as it was in middle school so I had a hard time making that connectoin. Some of the ways this could have been fixed were mentioned in the article. It would be beneficial for the middle school teachers to communicate with the elementary teachers. This could have both schools working to better student learning in order to have a smooth transition between schools. Along with that I think that teachers should make an effort to figure out what their students know, and then build off that knowledge.

Haley Bly


  1. I thought that you did a nice job of summarizing the main ideas in your summary paragraph. The two main points were very clear. I wondered if he was specific about ways that elementary and middle school teachers might establish communication about student learning. I think that would be particularly helpful in addressing the gap.

    I had a hard time identifying a specific topic sentence for the second paragraph. I agreed with the points you made. I just had a hard time understanding the overall structure of your argument. What exactly were you trying to accomplish in this paragraph? Is it possible that you have two or maybe even three paragraphs worth of ideas in this single paragraph? Do you think that you established a position toward the author's main point and supported that position throughout the paragraph?

  2. I think you did a good job. Your main points were very easy to pick out. It was helpful that you put in a summary of the article and examples of ways that the gap can be bridged. It was also very helpful that you put in examples from your life. I would check your spelling a little closer next time. You spelled connection wrong. Altogether, I think you did a good job :)