Formulae for Math Success

A selection of products designed to help English learners master the nuances of the new math standards

Do The Math
Created by Marilyn Burns, Do The Math was designed to provide maximum access for English language learners. Students in Grades 1–5 build numerical reasoning and problem-solving skills while developing a love of math. Teachers receive comprehensive support to help students develop a strong foundation.

Math vocabulary is explicitly taught using a consistent routine. First, students experience the math concept. Next, students learn through a see it, hear it, say it, write it, read it routine. Throughout the module, opportunities are built in for receptive and expressive use of vocabulary. Language Development boxes present point-of-use instructional support for teachers during each lesson. Spanish translations of math vocabulary are provided for both students and teachers.

Working in pairs allows students to speak their first language or segue to practice English before speaking in front of the whole group. Visual representations of concepts are embedded throughout the program. Hands-on materials help students build understanding and practice skills.

In Miami-Dade County Public Schools, underperforming math students who were enrolled in Do The Math were more likely than their counterparts at the same schools to show growth on the FCAT.

Math Upgrade
Math Upgrade’s curriculum comprises over 400 lessons from kindergarten to algebra featuring songs, video, and games. The goal is simple: engage English language and struggling learners in a course of step-by-step lessons that engages and provides their pathway to success in mathematics, despite potential language barriers. Math Upgrade is unique in its approach to learning; students visually follow their own academic path to success through a map of lessons to be completed. A song with animated visuals teaches a new skill and guides the student through each lesson. If a student commits an error, the system automatically and immediately guides the student to appropriate remediation tasks through a careful explanation of how to solve the problem, with voice and animated visuals. Songs and videos are a universal language that any student can identify with, providing a non-threatening environment that encourages students to take risks. Playing interactive video games involving manipulating on-screen objects, drag-and-drop activities, and solving multi-step problems give students the varied practice needed to succeed in math. Learning Upgrade offers a free school license giving 20 students access to the complete curriculum for a full school year.

Number Worlds
Number Worlds is a research- and standards-based intervention math curriculum intended to develop student math proficiency for all students, pre-K through eighth grade. Based on findings from field tests, effectiveness studies, educational research, and research around how children learn, Number Worlds and Building Blocks are curriculum intervention solutions to bring students struggling in mathematics up to par with their peers in math literacy and fluency. A math interventionist in the Ladue School District in Missouri, Lindsey Mayer, uses playing cards, board games, and manipulatives to reinforce tricky math concepts for struggling elementary school students. Guided by Number Worlds, Mayer presents lesson plans aligned with the Common Core and bolstered by hands-on activities that engage her students. “Our students love coming to Number Worlds,” Mayer says. “I have seen tremendous results, with a great number of students moving closer to grade level and some exiting math intervention altogether because they have reached the target grade level.”

Language Central for Math
Language Central for Math helps English language learners and struggling students in grades 3–8 develop the academic vocabulary necessary to master math. Oftentimes it’s the math vocabulary, not the mathematical concepts, that hinder student mastery. Dr. Jim Cummins and a team of ELL educators designed the curriculum to directly address this issue, supporting the core instruction given in the math classroom and developing the academic language of math for English language learners. The program utilizes accessible math examples that allow students to focus on the language development in preparation for their core math curriculum. Key vocabulary and concepts are presented with multiple learning styles: hands on, visual, and verbal.

Implementation is a flexible model as the four-part lessons can be completed weekly in a one-hour class period or in four 15-minute blocks. Teachers receive strong pedagogical support with easy-to-follow instructional steps that support research-based principles. The annotated teacher’s edition supports all language-proficiency levels, identifies confusing vocabulary, and highlights cultural considerations.

Khan Academy
Over the past few years, Khan Academy has worked with a team of over 40 math educators to create thousands of new practice problems fully aligned to every K–12 Common Core math standard. These interactive problems focus on conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, and real-world application. To ensure the rigor of the materials and their alignment to the Common Core, Khan Academy worked with organizations involved in the design and assessment of the new standards, including the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and Illustrative Mathematics. The site has been fully translated into Spanish, French, and Brazilian Portuguese. For many other languages — from Arabic to Zulu — translation efforts are well underway, with a wide selection of translated practice problems and dubbed or subtitled videos available. These efforts are largely volunteer driven, and anyone can contribute as a translator.

JUMP Math is an evidence-based classroom numeracy program that is designed to nurture success and confidence in both teachers and students. With embedded review, scaffolding of concepts, rigorous use of language, and opportunities for continuous assessment and practice, the program is suited to accommodate diverse student needs and abilities to close the achievement gap. The U.S. Common Core Edition, offering CCSS-aligned lessons from Grades 1–8, was evaluated by Learning List and scored 92%-97% alignment to the standards.

Opportunities to develop or assess the mathematical practice standards occur throughout the materials, in all lessons. JUMP Math follows the sequence for introducing concepts that is outlined in the progressions documents and includes the methods and tools for instruction. With comprehensive teacher resources that include detailed lesson plans, curriculum correlations, blackline masters, unit quizzes and tests, and answer Keys, teachers are prepared and supported in teaching the mathematical standards and practices. The U.S. SMART lesson materials offer an interactive and fully aligned suite of Notebook files, corresponding to each and every lesson. The program helps educators teach each standard and meet the range of needs and skills in the classroom.

Let’s Go Learn
ADAM Foundational Math is Let’s Go Learn’s K–8 adaptive diagnostic assessment. It provides objective, individualized assessment data across five domains: numbers and operations, measurement, data analysis, geometry, and algebra. ADAM contains 44 subtests which allow the Let’s Go Learn system to build a profile for each student that is aligned to the scope and sequence for each strand. After students complete an assessment, teachers can immediately retrieve a series of reports. These describe each student’s math proficiency in quantitative and qualitative formats and provide teachers with important instructional recommendations specific to the profile. LGL Math Edge is the perfect accompaniment to ADAM Foundational Math. The Edge courses are assigned based on a student’s assessment data from ADAM’s 44 math subtests. Lessons in these courses build on a scope and sequence for each math domain. Students can also access Khan Academy videos that are aligned to their diagnostic assessment data.

ST Math
ST Math is the leading blended-learning math solution in K–12 education, used by more than 800,000 students in 40 states. Because the program doesn’t rely on language proficiency, it’s ideal for English language learners. Designed by neuroscientists, ST Math (ST stands for spatial-temporal) uses interactive, animated games to develop deep, conceptual understanding of math concepts covered by new college- and career-ready state standards. Once the student masters the visual representation, language and symbols are gradually integrated into the puzzles. Students progressing at their own pace reach tantalizingly tricky puzzles that even challenge gifted students. A 2014 study by the third-party education-research firm WestEd evaluated California schools using ST Math and found the proportion of students who scored either proficient or advanced on the California Standards Test after fully implementing ST Math were, on average, 6.38 percentage points higher than students in the comparison grades. The WestEd study showed a 0.47 effect size, well beyond the What Works Clearinghouse’s criteria of 0.25 for “substantively important effect.” Students use ST Math on computers or tablets, with teacher facilitation, in a blended learning environment. Teachers are trained to connect the visual puzzles to their conventional texts and classroom math lessons and coached on how to guide children through challenging sections by getting them to express their thinking.

SumBlox are a new math manipulative made entirely from numbers. Each number block has its value represented by its height, so that no matter how you stack them, if the numbers add up, so will the heights. Addition is as simple as stacking the 2 block on top of the 3 block and seeing that they are the same height as a 5 block. When doing multiplication, three 3 blocks stack up to the same height as a 9 block, and common denominators in fractions can easily be found by scaling up each fraction. SumBlox is the first math manipulative ever to show value and symbol at the same time and in such an intuitive way. By allowing each number to stack one on top of the other, kids can explore these concepts through structure building and other fun activities that make learning math more like a game than a part of homework.

Math is a language all its own. This language is all about numbers, values, shapes, and space and their interrelationship with each other. For math students whose first language isn’t English, this means they are learning three (or more) languages at the same time. Teachers today need tools that help bridge the language barrier and clearly demonstrate math concepts and processes.

MasterPieces cross the language barrier and clearly demonstrate numbers, values, shapes, and space without words. Made of ABS plastic, these blocks make concrete, representational, and abstract math concepts easier to comprehend. Each value for numerals of ones, twos, threes, fours, fives, sixes, sevens, eights, nines, tens, and hundres is represented by a brightly colored individual block. Each block has unique characteristics that serve a specific purpose, such as abstract numbers (e.g., 1, 2, 8), concrete positive values (raised circles), concrete negative values (holes), and algebraic value (unknowns), so they can quickly demonstrate concepts from counting to algebra. Teach4Mastery offers additional resources to develop skills using the MasterPieces.

Hooda Math
As the school year winds down, parents are planning their children’s summers and fretting that the kids will forget what they’ve learned over the three-month break. Thanks to Hooda Math, they can relax. Math just got easier to practice — more fun and free. Hooda Math has more than 500 web-based and mobile games, ranging from basic skill practice to brain-challenging “escape” games, which take place in fun locations like the Old West, a pirate ship, and Yosemite National Park, and are a favorite among older students. Its most popular games — Ice Cream Truck, Dublox, Multiplication Game, Fraction Poker, and hundreds of others — work on their mobile site, so kids on the go this summer can play anytime. Hooda Math takes pride in being a reliable, trustworthy, educational, and safe resource. Students accessing math games from their tablets’ browsers are automatically routed to the mobile site. The mobile games can be accessed through any browser, from any device. Hooda Math also has a downloadable iOS app that includes more than 50 games. All are free to download, and new games are released weekly on their website.

Number Sense Teaching Cards
Lakeshore’s Number Sense Teaching Cards use kid-friendly tools — such as dot patterns, number lines and ten-frames — to help students learn functions such as grouping by fives and tens, adding and subtracting, and making ten. Each set includes 40 write-and-wipe question cards for quizzing students individually, or they can be used with a document camera for whole-class math lessons. And since the cards are write and wipe, you can easily show sequences on a number line, fill in frames, or circle groups of objects — then wipe them clean to use again, making them perfect for developing skills in counting and cardinality, operations and algebraic thinking.