To provide a foundation in numeric literacy, Pineapple Cove Classical Academy will adopt Singapore Math. Singapore Math is a program that presents mathematical skill building and problem solving from a conceptual viewpoint. It saves instructional time by focusing on mastery of essential math skills, not on re-teaching skills that should have been mastered in prior grades. The program’s detailed instruction, questions, problem solving, and visual and hands-on aids ensure that students master the material. Ideally, students do not move on until they have thoroughly learned a topic. Singapore textbooks are designed to build a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts as opposed to just memorizing algorithms and formulas. The focus on number sense, geometry, spatial relationships and measurement in the early grades make it a perfect match for the new Florida State Standards. Additionally, the coherence of the strategies used build from one idea to the next and is carried throughout all grade levels, giving students the tools needed for confidence in mathematical concepts.
Singapore Math’s placement tests facilitate ability grouping for optimal student success. A daily math block will be scheduled for the purpose of ability-grouping students in K-8th grades, allowing for the needs of both mathematically- competent students as well as struggling learners to be met. Indeed, the country of Singapore embraced a common core standard for mathematics years before the United States proposed such action. In Singapore math, each element of the system — the framework, a common set of national standards, texts, tests, and teacher preparation programs — is carefully aligned to clear and common goals. Each semester-level Singapore Math textbook builds upon preceding levels, and assumes that what was taught need not be taught again. Consequently, it is necessary to assign Singapore Math students to a textbook that matches what they are ready to learn next. By contrast, the typical US classroom offers the same grade-level math instruction to all students, reviews previously taught math skills before teaching new skills, and gives more emphasis to topics that don’t build on previously taught math skills (bar graphs, geometric shapes, measurement units).
A great deal of instructional time is saved by focusing on essential math skills, and by not re-teaching what has been taught before. In fact, some teachers report that Singapore Math feels slower paced than what they’re used to. However, the result is that students master essential math skills at a more rapid pace. By the end of sixth grade, Singapore Math students have mastered multiplication and division of fractions, and they are comfortable doing difficult multi-step word problems. With that foundation, they are well prepared to complete Algebra 1 in middle school.
The hallmark of the curriculum is the careful guidance of students, done in a child-friendly pictorial language, not only to technical mastery, but to complete understanding of all the “whys”. This differs from typical U.S. curricula, which either aim for dogmatic memorization of “rules,” or expect students to reconstruct mathematical ideas from hands-on activities without much guidance.