DIY Math Texts?

As I’ve mentioned several times already, I have an uneasy relationship with textbooks, and have chosen to do without them at times.  This is only partly due to a quality and cost analysis; I also worry that students and instructors can easily become dependent on The Book in a way that interferes with deep and lasting learning.  I haven’t (yet?) spent much time poring over K-12 curricular materials, but I have seen incoming college students with well-developed bad habits of treating textbooks as crutches rather than resources.

Hence it’s fascinating to watch as school textbook publishers try to adapt to the Common Core math standards.  Comparing the descriptions of adaptations (and declarations that “we were already there!”)  from Investigations, Everyday Math, Connected Mathematics, Pearson, and Saxon Math (I’m kidding — I can’t find any mention of the Common Core on the Saxon Math site except a tiny round logo on every page that says “Common Core” but doesn’t link anywhere), I’m most impressed by the thoughtful and careful process described by the Everyday Math folks.  I’m less impressed with the idea of “snap-in” units presented by Connected Mathematics, though to be fair there are more detailed descriptions available as PDF files.  Still, they could try a little harder to convince me that they were already aligned with the CCSSM practice standards.

In the midst of all this comes Educators Craft Own Math E-Books for Common Core.  Here’s one way to get teachers deeply involved in the details of CCSSM implementation, at least for those teachers doing the crafting. Their motivation:

“There was not a textbook out there that we felt reflected the common core,” said Janet M. Sutorius, a math teacher at Juab High School in Nephi, Utah, who is a co-author. “We felt like the textbook companies were just reorganizing the chapters of their old books.”

From my quick skim of the Introduction and Module 0 — the materials are freely available here — the project looks promising.  (Okay, I immediately noticed that a comma was missing in a problem description, but I’ve noticed such things in commercial texts as well.)  I do see links at the end of sections to Khan Academy videos, a subject I was planning to write about at some point.

Oh, and it’s an integrated math approach.  Any teachers out there in Algebra I/Geometry/Algebra II Land ready to start your own e-books?


About Priscilla Bremser

Professor of Mathematics Middlebury College
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1 Response to DIY Math Texts?

  1. fcmasonjr says:

    Curious. I’d hadn’t considered the possibility of an e-book. I’ve been happily busy with a complete rework of my geometry classes, and everything I’ve done resides on Google ( Google Drive is a wonderful tool for distribution of classroom materials, but perhaps I should work what I’ve got into e-book form too.

    I’ve been dissatisfied with the quality of the textbooks I’ve had available to me over the years. Thus I’ve felt is necessary to create a course of my own. The adoption of the Common Core Standards spurred me to work through all my materials again. I do hope that my state legislature (Indiana) doesn’t roll back adoption. They’ve hit pause and said they will return to the issue.

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