Printed from Afterschool Curriculum Choice - Math
Location: http://www.sedl.org/afterschool/guide/math/


Curriculum Details for
Afterschool Achievers Math


Program
Description
Practitioner Expert
Review
Content Expert
Review
Afterschool Achievers Math
Publication Date: 2002
Grade Level: K–8
Content Focus: Math
Costs: $160 per classroom kit, $4.95 per student book
The costs shown were accurate at the time of the review. Please check the publisher's web site for current prices.
Developer Contact Information
Great Source Education Group
181 Ballardvale Street
Wilmington, MA, 01887
800-289-4490 www.greatsource.com/grants/aa-math.html

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Program Description

Design Summary

This program is designed specifically for afterschool.  The goal of Afterschool Achievers Math is to help students improve their skills in math by reinforcing grade-level curriculum with 30 minutes of math activities a day.  The curriculum uses alternative approaches, such as games, puzzles, and hands-on activities, as well as group work, to motivate and engage students.  Such games and activities encourage skill development as well as listening, quick thinking, analyzing data, and problem-solving.  Lessons involve direct instruction, modeling, and opportunities for individual and group work.  There is also opportunity for students to self-assess their progress.

The curriculum comes in the form of a kit, available for each grade level. Each kit includes a teacher’s guide with lesson plans and materials for 180 after school activities and one copy of the student book.

Costs and Staff Training

Afterschool Achievers Math kits cost $160 per classroom and $4.95 for each additional student book. Some discounts may be available for bulk orders.  There is no training required.

Staff Qualifications

No formal teaching experience is required to implement Afterschool Achievers Math.  Many types of practitioners, including classroom teachers, aides, tutors, and college students, have successfully implemented the program in the past.  Content expert reviews agree.

Standards Alignment

  • National: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)
  • State: None specified.

Research Base

Information about the research on which Afterschool Achievers was based can be found on the developer’s website (www.greatsource.com) in the document “Afterschool Achievers Math: Research Base and Program Efficacy.”

Evaluation Details

None specified.

Overall Strengths/Overall Challenges

Strengths
  • Variety of instructional strategies.
  • Many different types of games are included.  These games are challenging and thought-provoking for students.
  • Suggested questions seem useful.
  • Covers a wide range of skills, including critical thinking skills.
  • Easy to implement and requires only 30 minutes per lesson.
  • Designed to reinforce standards-based curriculum.
  • Uses alternative approaches and group interaction to motivate students to work on math in an afterschool setting.

Challenges
  • Teacher’s Guide can be difficult to follow at times.
  • Relies primarily on worksheets.

Practitioner Expert Review

Practitioner Expert Background

Two practitioners were interviewed for this review of Afterschool Achievers Math.  One practitioner has been working for twelve years as an instructional support teacher, specifically with math.  She works with Title I schools in her district to help maintain high math scores on standardized tests.  She started using Afterschool Achievers math about three years ago as an intervention curriculum with third, fourth, and fifth graders who are struggling with math.  Students use it for hour and a half sessions, three times per week. Her population of students varies greatly in terms of both economic and racial background.  The second practitioner has been teaching for the past nine years, and has been teaching Afterschool Achievers in an afterschool environment for the past five years.  She has used it with second and third grade students, who are primarily from lower or middle income Caucasian backgrounds.

Logistics

Training
  • Training was a three-hour session.  It was sufficient to get started using the curriculum.
Set-up/preparation
  • Initial preparation requires investing time in organizing activities, such as sorting and bagging cards, etc.
  • Preparation time is shorter when an instructor follows the manual directly.
  • The program is written for a five-day a week program, so it might need to adapted for a program with fewer days per week.
  • Ten students would be an ideal group size for this curriculum.

Student Engagement

  • Games are particularly enjoyable for students, competition helps to spark their interest.  They enjoy the change from their regular school day.
  • Variety of content is engaging for students.
  • Content is mostly age-appropriate.

Content

Adaptability to instructor needs
  • Adaptable to classroom needs.
  • Can pick and choose topics and games to fit the needs of the students.
General skills taught
  • The curriculum can teach some social skills.
  • Can adapt the curriculum to help teach study skills.
  • Helps with critical thinking and problem solving.
Addressing diverse student needs
  • Games seem to be engaging for students of all backgrounds.
  • Effective with students who have not traditionally succeeded with math.

Strengths and Challenges

Strengths
  • Variety of instructional strategies.
  • Many different types of games are included.  These games are challenging and thought-provoking for students.
  • Suggested questions are useful.
  • Covers a wide range of skills, including critical thinking skills.
Challenges
  • Teacher’s Guide can be hard to follow at times.

Content Expert Review

Content Expert Reviewer

Maggie Myers
Dr. Maggie Myers is a lecturer at The University of Texas and a mathematics education consultant. As a mathematics content specialist with the SEDL National Center for Quality Afterschool, she observes promising afterschool programs to identify effective practices, guides materials development for disseminating research-based supports, and conducts training. Maggie has a Ph.D. in Mathematical Statistics and extensive experiences in mathematics education, from developing educational materials for young children and their families to teaching high school through graduate-level mathematics. She was the site director for Family Math in Austin, Texas, a math coach, and the creator of materials for informal settings as well as materials for the implementation of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Mathematics, the curriculum for the state of Texas. Recently, she led a writing team for revising the grades 3-5 Washington State Mathematics Standards.

Content

  • The materials in this program, specifically designed for afterschool, cover number sense, geometry, basic operations, algebra, measurement, mental math, and problem solving.
  • It covers topics by grade from K-8th grade, and the content appears to be accurate.

Skills

1.    Academic Skills
  • Number sense, geometry, basic operations, algebra, pattern recognition, measurement.
  • Mental math and problem solving
  • Writing to communicate
2.    Study Skills
  • These were not explicitly addressed by the curriculum.
3.    Non-Academic Skills
  • Test-taking skills

Alignment to Standards

Materials are built around national standards for math curriculum, however, the materials might be different from the expectations for a given grade level for a given state.

Assessment

  • There are pre- and post-tests to measure growth.
  • There are also opportunities for students to self-assess.

Structure

  • The curriculum is scripted and sequenced.
  • There are opportunities in the “Go Further” section where students can create unpredictable problems.
  • The content is entirely defined through worksheets, cards, etc.
  • Lessons are interactive but teacher-directed and scripted.
  • Lessons involve direct instruction, models, and examples.

Addressing Diverse Student Needs

Adaptability
  • The pre- and post-tests are designed to measure abilities in depth and offer useful feedback to instructors.
  • Every day there is opportunity for whole-group and individual work.
Developmental level
  • The materials are targeted toward K-8 students, and the activities are likely developmentally appropriate for students.
  • Young children may struggle with the pencil and paper activities.
Learning Styles Addressed
  • The curriculum consists of five different types of activities that may appeal to different learning styles.
  • Movement/spatial learning: Student might sit in circles, use cards, etc.
  • Interpersonal learning: Games and activities seem to be individual challenges. Students also work along side one another.
Multiculturalism
  • There are a variety of games and activities that might appeal to different students.
  • The curriculum does not explicitly address students’ diverse backgrounds.

Strengths and Challenges

Strongest Features
  • Easy to implement and requires only 30 minutes per lesson.
  • Designed to reinforce standards-based curriculum.
  • Uses alternative approaches and group interaction to motivate students to work on math in an afterschool setting.
Challenges and Drawbacks
  • Can be challenging to adapt to students’ individual needs and interests.
  • Relies primarily on worksheets.

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