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American Educator
Fall 2009


Table of Contents

What's Sophisticated about Elementary Mathematics?
Plenty—That's Why Elementary Schools Need Math Teachers
By Hung-Hsi Wu

Improving mathematics instruction is a priority in the United States, but there's little agreement on how to do it. Here's an idea that is rarely discussed: starting no later than fourth grade, math should be taught by math teachers (who teach only math). Teaching elementary math in a way that prepares students for algebra is more challenging than many people realize. Given the deep content knowledge that teaching math requires—not to mention the expertise that teaching reading demands—it's time to reconsider the generalist elementary teacher's role.

Understanding Place Value

Teaching the Standard Algorithms

Defining Fractions

Piece by Piece
How Schools Solved the Achievement Puzzle and Soared
By Karin Chenoweth

After five years of visiting high-poverty and high-minority schools that have demonstrated success, Karin Chenoweth has noticed a handful of key characteristics that these schools share: genuine teacher collaboration, a sharp focus on what students must learn, assessments that inform instruction, and strong relationships between adults and children.

A Model Solution

Coaxing the Soul of America Back to Life
How the New Deal Sustained, and Was Sustained by, Artists
By Roger G. Kennedy

During the Great Depression, thousands of artists were hired to depict "the American Scene." While the works revealed much suffering, they also captured the hard-working, self-reliant spirit of the people.

Growing Together
American Teachers Embrace the Japanese Art of Lesson Study
By Jennifer Dubin

Lesson study is a form of professional development in which teachers work together to develop a lesson and think about how students learn. The point is not the resulting lesson so much as what teachers learn as they study the content, consider instructional methods, and reflect on how their chosen approaches influence student understanding.

Learning Science
Content—With Reason
By Paul R. Gross

A recent study claimed that learning scientific content does not give students an edge in scientific reasoning. But the preponderance of the evidence clearly indicates that learning scientific content does enhance scientific reasoning—and students and scientists need both.

All articles available in PDF format only.

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About American Educator

American Educator is a quarterly journal of educational research and ideas published by the American Federation of Teachers. Recent articles have focused on such topics as reducing the achievement gap between poor and affluent students, heading off student discipline problems, teaching an appreciation and understanding of democracy, the benefits of a common coherent curriculum, and other issues affecting children and education here and abroad. Total circulation, as of our most recent issue, is over 900,000.

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