Tag Archives: T1

John Mighton and his JUMP Program

also posted on my bportfolio


I’ve been doing some research lately on John Mighton and his JUMP Math program.

David Ornstein wrote an article on JUMP in the New York Times. Mighton, the founder of the program, has written a curriculum for grades 1-8 in which he has broken down key mathematics algorithms into steps that ensure more mastery and learning.

Mighton states "Before children can read, they must acquire an extraordinary number of visual, auditory and cognitive skills. But children can master a great deal of mathematics simply by counting on their fingers (something we have evolved to excel at)." For example, the JUMP method teaches multiplication by repeated addition on fingers. As students get proficient with this, they can learn division and are soon passing standardardized tests on fractions with ease.

Mighton argues that all children can succeed. This has been supported by some preliminary studies and by the success of the program in some schools that have been early adopters of JUMP. The results have shocked some teachers who are not used to giving out all A’s to their *whole* class. This has been observed in classes with children of diverse abilities and SES. Mighton makes particulary strong claims that his curriculum can help even those who have long given up on mathematics, i.e. adults.

The part that I thought particularly relevant to our EDU6132 discussions was the cognitive justification that Mighton makes for his methods. By using micro-steps to teach algorithms and processes and by not moving on until everyone in the class has successfully achieved competency, he argues that the cognitive overload is decreased which fosters more learning. This intense scaffolding of the procedures to be learned ensures student success, which increases confidence. By building upon a chain of successes, all students are able to achieve at higher levels.

For more information, i.e. free download of teacher workbooks, see http://www.jumpmath.org


Mighton, J. (2004). The myth of ability: Nurturing mathematical talent in every child. Walker & Company.

Ornstein, D. (2011, April 11). A Better Way to Teach Math. The New York Times. Retrieved online April 30, 2011 from


April 13 Journalizing




Taking Sides

Issue 11:  Should Comprehensive Sexuality Education Be Taught in Public Schools?

SIECUS Report, from “Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education:  Kindergarten through 12th Grade”  (2004)

SIECUS chair of the board since June 1, 2009 is JoAnn M. Smith here’s a blurb from the web site:

“Ms. Smith served as President of the Board of Directors of the National Planned Parenthood Action Fund (2003-2004), served as Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Empire Justice Center (2007), and was appointed to New York State’s Medical Malpractice Task Force (2007). In addition, Ms. Smith has received a national award for advocacy from the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (2004).”

Robert E. Rector, from “The Effectiveness of Abstinence Education Programs in Reducing Sexual Activity among Youth”.  Heritage Foundation (April 8, 2002)

“Those favoring comprehensive sex education claim that by not providing such information to our children we are putting them in great danger and may be violating their constitutional rights.” p.201.

“SIECUS believes that comprehensive school-based sexuality education should be part of the education program at every grade.”  p.202.

“The primary goal of sexuality education is to promote adult sexual health.”  p.208.

“Abstinence education programs for youth have been proven to be effective in reducing early sexual activity.”  p.211.

“Young people who become sexually active enter an arena of high-risk behavior that leads to physical and emotional damage.” p.212.

“Real abstinence education is essential to reducing out-of-wedlock childbearing, preventing sexually transmitted diseases, and improving emotional and physical well-being among the nations youth.” p.218.

Personal Opinion (before reading):  I think I definitely come down on the No side here.  With a culture and society so sex-crazed (to the befuddlement of our European contemporaries), I’d like to declare schools as Abstinence Zones.  I think the clearest benefit is more class time for real education.  I hope that the Yes side has some clear statistics on the benefits of comprehensive sexual education.  Without having formal classes about it, we make the point that public education is not really the right forum for that topic, but risk keeping it unnecessarily as taboo.  Furthermore, I doubt really that facts should be presented devoid of ethics or morality.  Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating a gag rule, I intend to be frank about the benefits (emotional, health, spiritual) to abstinence before marriage if I am asked on the topic, but don’t want whole classes or assemblies that don’t present the spectrum of views.  For example, there are plenty of folks throughout history who have felt that a higher calling supersedes sexual urges.  I think those voices need to be given some air-time.   The other side gets plenty of air time in the media, which actually I believe causes more anxiety and angst for kids who feel they are “missing something” and thus are easy victims of peer pressure.

Personal Opinion (after reading):  After reading the arguments for and against I was reminded that I was in sexuality education in 1980 in middle school.

Issue 18:  Are Character/Moral Education Programs Effective?

Tom Lickona,
Eric Schaps, and
Catherine Lewis, from “CEP’s Eleven Principles of Effective Character Education.”  Character Education Partnership (2003)

Patriotism for All, from “The Problem with Character Education”.  (2004-2006);  Patriotism for All, from “Responsibility?  You’ve Got to Be Kidding” (2004-2007)

[type summary of arguments here]

“[W]hat we get are arbitrarily chosen, ill-defined pillars and folksy slogans whose language seems to be an appeal to a nebulous, sentimental, touchy-feely sensibility—stuffed with culturally idiosyncratic assumptions.” p.344.

Personal Opinion (before reading):  Whereas I am not opposed to teaching morality in school, the dilemma inevitably arises of who the parent wants to be giving this type of instruction to their children.  The question of whether standards or some type of EALRs need to be generated for character/moral education, and if so, what should they be based on.  I think all education is inherently moral, and that all traditions share some fundamental principles and which no tradition would take issue with. I just don’t want teachers to have to tack some extra education onto their already busy schedules.  I will be curious to see if there are statistics either way on what is successful and what is not.

Personal Opinion (after reading): 

Evans, D. (2008).  Taking sides:  Clashing views in teaching and educational practice.  (3rd ed.).  New York, NY:  McGraw Hill.

Teaching to Change the World

Chapter 4:  The Subject Matters

Personal Opinion (before reading):   Looking forward to reading about all the subject and how our exemplary teachers have approached the adaptation of the instruction in those subjects to a diverse classroom.

Personal Opinion (after reading):

I like this quote and especially how it shows you can “teach to the test” and still teach good mathematics:

Even under the worst political deluge, teachers like Mark Hill weather the storm and teach math well.  In Mark’s case, he tested various teaching approaches and found that his students actually had an easier time learning the mathematics [sic] procedures that are on the state test when he spends time helping them develop critical thinking skills.  He concluded:  Problem solving strategies enable students to remember and use the procedural knowledge they are exposed to.

Perhaps the best defense, and weapon as well, against politically driven mandates is an articulate and highly competent generation of teachers of mathematics—elementary and high school—who know more about math and hot to teach it than their critics.  With care and competence such teachers can negotiate traditional mandates and still serve their students well.



Chapter 6:  Assessment:  Measuring What Matters

Personal Opinion (before reading):  Definitely another hot button issue.  Philosophically, I believe assessment is crucial to understanding when teaching is working and making corrections if it is not.

Personal Opinion (after reading): 

Oakes, J. and Lipton, M. (2008).  Teaching to change the world.  (3rd ed.).  New York, NY:  McGraw Hill.

Some Final Items for EDU6133

Here are links to my Sample Lesson Plan Packet, and the Powerpoint for my Presentation in fulfillment of classroom requirements for EDU6133.

Showcase Lesson Packet (Lesson Justification, Lesson Plan, Unit Plan, Classroom and Student Characteristics)

Class Presentation (120 MB PowerPoint, has the movie in it)

Achieve.org and Common Core Standards for Mathematics

A great overview here.  (Taken from a meeting of PhysTEC/Noyce)

Plenary Panel B — Kaye Forgione, Jean Slattery
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Mathematics:  An Overview of the Standards, How They Were Developed, and Their Potential Impacts on Teaching, Learning, Assessment and Professional Development

Garrett Keizer, No Place But Here, last paragraph from the chapter “Souls in Prison”

Dr Samuel Johnson 1709 - 84, John Opie RA




Opie’s portrait of Dr Johnson shows the brooding intensity and uncompromising directness of the celebrated lexicographer. His original compositions are seldom read these days, but his observations on life, his contemporaries and English literary have become gnomic and he occupies a central a position in the development of English literary criticism. He was also, of course, a superb conversationalist, and the members of his Club included some of the foremost figures of the mid-georgian intellegentsia, men such a Sir Joshua Reynolds and David Garrick.


Dr Samuel Johnson
1709 –84 

John Opie RA 
1761 – 1807


Keizer, G. (1988). No Place But Here. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England. 159

Rosie, the Dutch Belt, of Brownington Vermont.

well not really, but at least a reasonable facsimile

A good read, left me wishing for more, or more of me left wishing for time to read it all again and be struck as I was the first time.

Recommended Reading

Book Recommended By
A Special Mother, Anne Ford Laurie Reed:  “

The book is an outstanding resource for getting through the IEP process, and making sure that the services that your child is receiving are the services that your child needs.  “

The Pact:  Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream, Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, Rameck Hunt, Lisa Frazier Vanessa Tucker

Amazon:  “As teenagers from a rough part of Newark, New Jersey, Sampson Davis, Rameck Hunt, and George Jenkins had nothing special going for them except loving mothers (one of whom was a drug user) and above-average intelligence. Their first stroke of luck was testing into University High, one of Newark’s three magnet high schools, and their second was finding each other. They were busy staying out of trouble (most of the time), and discovering the usual ways to skip class and do as little schoolwork as possible, when a recruitment presentation on Seton Hall University reignited George’s childhood dream of becoming a dentist. The college was offering a tempting assistance package for minorities in its Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Plus Program. George convinced his two friends to go to college with him. They would help each other through. None of them would be allowed to drop out and be reabsorbed by the Newark streets.”

Letters to a Young Teacher, Jonathan Kozol, 2007  
Why Great Teachers Quit:  And How We Might Stop the Exodus, Katy Farber, 2010  
The Paideia Proposal, Mortimer J. Adler, 1984 Dr. S. held up in lecture 11/1/2010
Dostoyevsky as Teacher (essay?, book?) Dr. S. mentioned in lecture 11/1/2010
WWhatever it Takes, (2009) Paul Tough Diane Ravitch recommends this book about Geoffrey Canada and HCZ in her NYT Review of Books article.
Among Schoolchildren (1990) Tracy Kidder In an Essay by Arthur Ellis, read for EDU 6120 week of 11/1/2010.

" Christine Zajac teaches fifth grade in a racially mixed school in a poor district of Holyoke, Mass. . . . Through Kidder’s calmly detailed re-creation of Zajac’s daily round we come to know her students’ fears and inmost strivings; we also share this teacher’s frustrations, loneliness and the rush of satisfaction that comes with helping students learn," wrote PW. "A compelling microcosm of what is wrong–and right–with our educational system."
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Schoolteacher.  (1975) Dan C. Lortie Recommended by Tracy Kidder
How Teachers Taught:  Constancy and Change in the American Classroom 1890-1980. (1984) Larry Cuban Recommended by Tracy Kidder
A Place Called School:  Prospects for the Future. (1984) John I Goodlad Recommended by Tracy Kidder.
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