Weekly Math Updates

May 31, 2006

There will be no weekly update next week to give you extra time to contact your teachers and principals.

  • The Norton Plan for ASD
  • Orem Petition Mailing Address
  • Media Articles
  • Salem, Utah store
  • E.D. Hirsch addresses the California State Board of Education
  • Blueberry Games
  • Summer Tutors
  • Birch Beer (Off-topic)
  • Weekly Comic

The Norton Plan for ASD

Well, for lack of a better name, I've called this the Norton plan since my name is fairly well recognized by many in the district. If you want a real win-win situation for your children next year, I encourage you with all the strength I can to read this next document and then immediately contact your children's teachers and principal and ask them to review it over the summer (before they are done with the school year). A number of teachers and principals have expressed a desire to learn more about Singapore math and if we can direct them to make the choices for next year's math decision between Singapore and Saxon, I have no doubt about our children's math futures. However, for this to work, we all really need YOU to take the step before school is out and encourage your children's teachers and principals to read this web page. I have placed it prominently on my home page so people can easily find it if they come to the site.


The more requests from parents to have principals and teachers study Singapore and Saxon math over the summer the better the odds some of them will actually do it, and then some of them will be selected to be on the panel selecting the two programs next fall and there will be a much better chance that these excellent programs will have at least been considered. This effort has to come from all of you. Please do your part and send a note such as the following:

Dear [name],

I am a member of Oak Norton's math petition and would like you to review his proposal for the two math curriculum choices that will be offered next year. Please go to this web page and consider these excellent programs.



[your name]

Orem Petition Mailing Address

For those of you collecting names on the Orem petition to get the measure put onto the ballot this November, please send all your completed petitions to:

Beau Sorenson
388 West 100 North
Orem, UT 84057

I just want to add that it is my understanding that this effort is merely to put the measure on the ballot, not a petition to split off. Everyone involved in Orem wants to know the results of the feasibility study before they made a decision to break from ASD, but they don't want to be in a position where the feasibility study gives them the green light to split, but something happens and the measure doesn't make it to the ballot this November and they have to wait a couple more years for an election.

Media Articles

Here's the roundup from the last week.

5/25/06 Provo Daily Herald - District Reviews Math Options

5/26/06 Deseret News - Alpine opts for choice in its math programs

5/28/06 Salt Lake Tribune - Alpine School District relents and will change its math offerings

5/26/06 Deseret News - Alpine [city] slaps a moratorium on big buildings (best understatement in print "There may be the perception that we're trying to stall (Mountainville Academy)")

Salem, Utah store

A petition signer sent me information this week concerning a store in Salem, Utah by Spanish Fork. If you are interested in seeing Singapore math materials up close before you purchase some for doing some summer work with your kids, you should stop in at their store sometime.

Hi Oak, There is a store in Salem that sells Singapore and Saxon Math programs. It's called "Love to Learn" and is located at 741 N State Rd #198 Salem, UT. If you get off the freeway at the Spanish Fork Main Street exit and continue South on Main Street, this store will be on your right as you enter Salem. Their phone number is (801) 423-2009. They open at 9 a.m. I've purchase many math books and games at this store to supplement my kids schooling thanks to the "Investigations Nightmare". Here's a link to their web site: http://www.lovetolearn.net/

I've never ordered anything online from them, but I've been happy with the service I've received in the store and their prices aren't that bad. Just thought you might want to pass this info along in your weekly email updates for people who may prefer to view Singapore and Saxon Math products in person. THANKS!!! for your hard work and for holding ASD's feet to the fire.

E.D. Hirsch addresses the CA State Board of Education (4/1997)


(clip 1)

"To this Board I hardly need to restate the details of the math debate. The NCTM group stresses conceptual understanding over mindless drill and practice, while the dissident group stresses the need for drill and practice leading to mastery. To resolve the issue, which researchers should you listen to? Here are three suggestions: John Anderson, David Geary, and Robert Siegler -- three highly distinguished scientists in the psychology of math education. What are they likely to tell you? I believe you will get strong agreement from them on the following points: that varied and repeated practice leading to rapid recall and automaticity is necessary to higher-order problem-solving skills in both mathematics and the sciences."

(clip 2)

"I have saved this supremely important topic for my final example of the pervasive conflict between science and educational ideology. The doctrine of Developmentally Appropriate Practice is drummed into almost all teachers who take early education courses. The intention is to insure caring treatment for young children, yet the ultimate effect of the doctrine is to cause social harm. To withhold demanding content from young children between preschool and third grade has an effect which is quite different from the one intended. It leaves advantaged children (who get knowledge at home) with boring pablum, and it condemns disadvantaged children to a permanent educational handicap that grows worse over time. We know that early education can overcome many of these deficits, and we also know that what is called Developmentally Appropriate Practice can not."

Blueberry Games

I got a call last week from the developer of the Blueberry Games website which aims to have math drills and other fun games for kids online. Check it out here:


Summer Tutors

I received notice from someone about this tutor opportunity in Lindon if any of you are interested. There's also a couple of individual tutors listed on this page of my site which you may want to consider for summer review programs with your children:

Math Tutors

Josh Tervort is a high school student that tutors in math and charges $10/session. He lives in Highland (he's my neighbor). If you are interested in having him tutor your child over the summer he can be reached at 801-763-8424.

Sherrie Worley is the director of My Smart World Pre-school in Lindon (40 South 100 East). She is offering the following summer math workshops:

. Math Skills Camps: Sharpen your Child's fundamental math skills.
This musical math program makes learning math facts fun and easy to
understand. One hour each day. $75
o June 19-30; July 10-21; July 25-Aug. 4; Aug.7-18th. Mon-Fri
o 9:30 am Algebra
o 10:30am Addition & Subtraction
o 11:30 Multiplication/Division

She also offers tutoring in math, reading and spelling.
. Tutoring in Math: grades K-9 $20/hr.
. Tutoring in Spelling/Reading: all ages and grade levels $20/hr.

Sherrie can be contacted by calling 796-0599 or parents can check out her website, www.mysmartworld.com

Birch Beer (Off-topic)

OK, I'm an Easterner. I grew up in Pennsylvania and migrated West in 1991 so I consider myself a Utahn with roots in the East. One of my favorite things growing up in State College (home of Penn State where we had real math), was to go downtown for lunch to Arby's and get a big birch beer drink. Birch beer is a soda like root beer and comes in either red or clear colorations. I can't really recall the difference in taste...both are good. Ever since moving to Utah I have missed birch beer and tried getting it into stores wherever possible. A couple months ago a very kind neighbor was in PA and actually brought me back some birch beer. One day later I had them written into my will.

Monday, I was in the Highland Kohler's grocery store getting last minute things for our Memorial Day barbeque and nestled in by the cool aid drink mixes was Sioux City Birch Beer bottles. I'm not sure why I only purchased two, four-packs but I guess I thought I'd leave a little for someone else. If you've never tried birch beer before, I hope you'll give it a shot the next time you're in Kohler's. If they don't have it, ask the manager when it'll be in again to help generate the interest in keeping it around. If you don't like the stuff, let me know and I'll schedule an appointment with the Alpine School District psychologist who is sure to find something wrong with you (at least for being on this petition). I think you'll like it...(plus the more of you that buy it the better the odds it'll stick around for a while).

Weekly Comic

No comic per se this week, but here's a few jokes to tide you over (they might have been true stories from ASD...):

Teacher: "Who can tell me what 7 times 6 is?"
Student: "It's 42!"
Teacher: "Very good! - And who can tell me what 6 times 7 is?"
Same student: "It's 24!"

Q: What do you get if you divide the circumference of a jack-o-lantern by its diameter?
A: Pumpkin Pi!

Q: What does the zero say to the the eight?
A: Nice belt!

The chef instructs his apprentice: "You take two thirds of water, one third of cream, one third of broth..."
The apprentice: "But that makes four thirds already!"
"Well - just take a larger pot!"

Archive: http://www.oaknorton.com/weaponsofmathdestruction.cfm

Till next week,

Oak Norton


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