More About Mountain Math

I have written recently about a new program we’ve been informed that we have to incorporate into our first grade math curriculum called Mountain Math. Some have asked about what it is and truthfully, I’ve been hard pressed to explain. Initially what I understood about Mountain Math is that someone tossed me a large packet of card stock, rather resembling 9×12 construction paper, and told me, “We’re doing this now.  Laminate and cut it out.”  And said packet was grotesquely sparse in terms of directions.  I’m a reasonably intelligent instructional warrior.  I’m hell at reading and following instructions.  Alas, there were few.

Mountain MathMy knowledge grew to understand that it’s a system of twenty-four math concepts.  One way to utilize the material is to set up a twenty-four section bulletin board to display the concepts all at once, the idea being that after you use the specific problems, you replace them with new ones.

Well that ain’t happening, I said to myself.  A twenty-four section bulletin board?  With my literacy word wall, math word wall, science word wall, social studies word wall, anchor charts, procedural charts, oh, and alphabet and number line, my walls are pretty much used up.

Some other grade levels were militant about getting this crap up asap, before they even knew how to use it, which I thought was pretty dumb.  Just because someone says you have to do something, it doesn’t mean that you do.  So, investigating the wee instructions, I discovered that there were options to creating a huge bulletin board that looks like Walt Disney threw up.  You can also display a few of the twenty-four concepts at a time on a pocket chart, which I thought was much more feasible.  I have space for one more pocket chart.  Also, a sweet colleague from fifth grade shared a YouTube video from Teacher Tipster which was a HUGE help.  God bless Teacher Tipster!

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not that I hate the program.  It’s probably going to be useful, once I understand the most efficient way to utilize it.  It’s that I hate being told by people who have no idea what I already do that I have to do something different.  Can I get an amen?

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4 thoughts on “More About Mountain Math

  1. I had the unfortunate experience of being a parent of a child who was taught using Mountain Math. Now, I am good at math — I am a Ph.D. scientist and took math through calculus, differential equations, and advanced statistics. I also have an MBA in finance.. But my daughter would bring home these worksheets from elementary school that she had no idea how to complete, and I had to help her. There was no textbook to use as a guide, and no hint for the parent (or my daughter) as to what underlying concepts were being taught — just this set of problems that often seemed entirely unrelated to each other. Often I had no clue about the process for solution, let alone the answers. So from a parent’s perspective it was a terrible experience. Moreover, I expect my daughter learned very little, as there was no apparent structure or principles to what was being taught.

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