LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Teachers from around Oklahoma have teamed up to author math textbooks that are tailored to the state's standards, and two of the teachers are right here in Lawton.
Donna Cook and Nicole Hall both teach at Eisenhower Middle School. With the help of eight other teachers, they are tailoring the math curriculum for grades Pre-k through eighth, to fit the state's academic standards, and Oklahoma is the first state to do this. Textbooks used now are written to the national academic standards, and teachers are forced to search through the books to find the material that covers our state's standards, but these teachers say once they're done that will become a thing of the past.
The objectives will be listed at the top of each page, so the students and their parents know exactly what the child is learning. It also gives step by step instructions, and uses real world problems. The students are going to see references to Oklahoma landmarks and cities throughout the textbook, making it more interesting. If you were one of Mrs. Cook or Mrs. Hall's students, you might even see your name.
Eisenhower Middle School teacher Donna Cook says the group of teachers working on the project are top notch. Cook is the EMS Mathematics Department Chair and she says when she was asked to write the eighth grade textbook, she wholeheartedly accepted.
"It's our heart, it's our passion," Cook said. "We're not doing it for a paycheck, we're not doing it to go 'hey this book started here, this book ended here, we're done, move on.' Because we do want to make sure that all students, all teachers, all parents in the state of Oklahoma are successful in the work force and are avid members of society."
The textbooks connect math to real world situations. Nicole Hall teaches math and special education, and she says it can be challenging to keep students engaged. Hall says her students always ask questions about how math relates to the real world.
"'How am I going to use this Mrs. Hall? Why is this important?' You know, I see on Facebook that nobody ever uses algebra again. And I'm like, 'yes, you are.' You're using it every single day. So this textbook gives those students before they even start, their real world connection of why they're doing it," Hall said.
The project is headed by Dr. Edna Manning, who was the founding President of the Oklahoma School of Math and Science and has been working in education for over 50 years. Dr. Manning says they looked for teachers who have stood out in the classroom, and she is pleased with the team they have.
"We looked around the state and tried to find people who have been very successful in teaching math," Manning said. "Quality first grade teachers, and of course two of those teachers are right here in Lawton Public Schools, and Nicole Hall and Donna Cook are working on this project and doing an excellent job."
These textbooks will cost half as much as textbooks from national publishing companies. Cook says she is excited to be a part of the first ever textbook written by teachers from Oklahoma.
"I've always believed that Oklahoma had the best teachers," Cook said. "Lawton has the best representation in Oklahoma and to be able to be a part of a project that does it the right way...they take our standards, what our students are supposed to know and make the textbook fit. No brainer, I was ready."
The textbooks will be finished in the next few months and will be tested in the field this upcoming school year. It will be the individual school district's decision whether the textbooks will be purchased and used, or not.
The project is being funded by Alpha Plus, which is a company that helps to improve schools performance under the states academic standards.