Professor B math sets out to “structure the content of arithmetic so it becomes as connected and flowing as a story.” And I must say, I really liked the way concepts were interwoven and presented in this curriculum.
“The program thoroughly structures the content of arithmetic as a developmental, contextual flow (like a story), allowing children’s minds to assimilate its content more quickly (in the same natural way they assimilate stories rapidly) without any gaps in their knowledge.”
Professor B math is a power point curriculum that allows you, the “instant master teacher,” to sit down with your child and work through a presentation together. “Together” is the key, and the slides do not have any sound to ensure that the work is done together. The slides present the new math concept through directions for hands-on illustrations, similar to finger-play, and speech-bubble instruction, “spoken” by the professor bee and read by either the teacher or student.
My preschooler especially loved the finger-play, and as a part of the math story, addition was presented at the same time as number recognition. She would play by making different combinations of two or three (or whatever number the lesson was presenting) with her fingers; by the end of the lesson, the bee was introducing “one and one make two” as the different finger combinations were shown in the slides. It made perfect sense to her, and my three (almost four) year old quickly grasped the addition.
The same was true for my almost-first grader, who was introduced to adding and subtracting by twos in the same series of lessons where skip counting was introduced. He could immediately see the connection between this skip counting and the addition/subtraction being taught.
Once the slide presentation is complete, the student is then given an assignment. Sometimes, the assignment was to continue drilling the material until mastery was achieved. Other times, certain worksheets were assigned at the end of the slide; just open the pdf and print off the correct pages. An answer key for the worksheets is also provided, though there are no testing materials besides the placement tests for each level.
This curriculum is definitely intended to aid the teacher not replace her, and at first, the lack of sound and lack of achievement reports was rather unsettling. It felt like something was missing. But I did appreciate the approach to mathematics, and in the end, as I read the script to my children, it gave the feeling of all of us experiencing math together. I was still the teacher, narrating the lesson and answering questions, correcting when incorrect answers were given, etc. But there was a “togetherness” about the lessons that I enjoyed. I even had my oldest sit in on his sister’s lessons and read some of the script for her; it gave him reading practice and allowed him to review earlier concepts.
Also, the power point was not just text to be read; the lessons are interactive. The professor bee often asks questions for the child to answer or gives directions for the child to do something. My kids loved this interaction, and my oldest even asked me during one lesson how the bee could hear him.
Also, there is a ton of information packed into this program! Each of the three levels covers three grades: Level I (k-2nd); Level II (3rd-5th); Level III (6th-8th). Consequently, I felt that both of my children were adequately challenged even while using the same level of material. I will definitely continue using this as my primary math instruction for Middlest and let Oldest sit in on the lessons as much as he wants.
The program can now be purchased for $40 for each level, plus $13.95 for an accompanying workbook (updated as of 2/2017).
Though the program took a little getting used to, I’d definitely say that the little bee won me over in just a few short lessons. The logical presentation and the “togetherness” were both elements that I really appreciated. Visit the Professor B website and click on “Sample Lessons” to check it out for yourself.
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