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


Curriculum Details for
Afterschool KidzMath


Program
Description
Practitioner Expert
Review
Content Expert
Review
Afterschool KidzMath
Publication Date: 2003
Grade Level: K–6
Content Focus: Math
Costs: $360 - $1,240
The costs shown were accurate at the time of the review. Please check the publisher's web site for current prices.
Developer Contact Information
Developmental Studies Center
2000 Embarcadero, Suite 305
Oakland, CA, 94606
510-533-0213 or 800-666-7270
www.devstu.org/afterschool-kidzmath

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Program Description

Design Summary

KidzMath was designed specifically for afterschool.  The basic goals of the program are to build students’ confidence and skills in math and develop their ability to work in a team.  Lessons consist of cooperative games that are intended to be different from the traditional math curriculum but target and build upon traditional math skills.  Through these games, students also have an opportunity to have fun, feel successful, and build confidence as they work together toward a common goal. One of the strengths of the program is that teaches cognitive skills through physical activity and active games. KidzMath also has a strong social component that addresses children's moral and emotional needs. The structure of the program itself is designed to engage the whole child through indoor and outdoor games, whole group and small group games, exploration, drama movement, physical games, and art.

Curriculum materials include whole and small group games, story guides with a math theme, and a leader’s guide. Each story guide kit comes with 10 books and a guide for each book, as well as cards, dice, game boards, spinners, inchworms, calculators, and game cards.  The kits come as either primary level (grades K-2) or intermediate (grades 3-6).

Costs and Staff Training

The entire K-6 KidzMath set comes at a discounted cost of $1,240.  The curriculum can be purchased separately: Primary (K-2) game set is $360, and the Intermediate (3-6) game set is $435.  Primary story guides cost $260 and Intermediate are $335.

Training is available but not required, and can come in the form of on-site training or a support kit containing videos and training agendas.  On-site training, costing $1,500 plus expenses, consists of either a three or six hour workshop. The on-site support kit is $235. 

Staff Qualifications

Formal teaching experience is not required to implement KidzMath. Both practitioner and content expert reviews agree, emphasizing that the support kit provides plenty of information, and several mediums to help instructors learn how to teach the lessons. A strong background in math and classroom management skills would be helpful.

Standards Alignment

  • National: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)
  • State: Has been aligned to: Florida, Missouri, Georgia, and Maryland

Research Base

KidzMath is based on research supporting the effectiveness of activity-based learning on learning and sustaining math knowledge and skills.  Research linking math-related literature to sparking students’ imagination, engagement, and exploration of math concepts is also an important basis to the program.

Evaluation Details

A large-scale independent formal evaluation has been conducted by Sacramento Students Today Achieving Results for Tomorrow (START), with results forthcoming.  In addition, the developers have done internal evaluations assessing the impact of KidzMath on both staff and students.

Overall Strengths/Overall Challenges

Strengths
  • Materials are attractive and age appropriate.
  • Nearly all materials are provided, and are durable and useful.
  • Students gain social awareness and skills as they play the games.
  • The checklist, questionnaire, site planning sheet, math glossary and NCTM correlation list are helpful for keeping instructors organized and on-task.
Challenges
  • Students might disengage with a particular game or activity when they lose interest.
  • It is difficult to assess how much students are learning.
  • It can be difficult to see the big picture and overall goals.

Practitioner Expert Review

Practitioner Expert Background

This practitioner has her master’s degree and has been a special educator working with elementary aged students for 20 years.  For the past three years, she has been working at an afterschool program using KidzMath.  She uses it on a daily basis, for about a half hour at a time. Students in her program are elementary school aged. Most are on free and reduced lunch, and many are English language learners.

Logistics

Training
  • There are a number of standard trainings, about three hours long.
  • Trainings used many different means of teaching the curriculum, including videos and practicing the games. Also gave tips on how to engage students who usually do not like math.
Set-up/preparation
  • Preparation is minimal, and consists of a brief weekly staff meeting where instructors use and practice the games and activities they will be using for the week.
  • Guide is very clear in telling staff what they need to do. Once they are more familiar with it, they can then use a little more creativity in what they do.
  • All needed materials are provided.
  • Group size of 10-12 students is usually ideal, can break down into smaller groups for games.

Student Engagement

  • Students particularly enjoy the board games, activities and hands-on aspect of the program. Learning is fun and engaging for them.
  • Students help each other and feel like they can make mistakes and that no one will make fun of them.
  • Age-appropriate games and materials.
  • Parent involvement is a key aspect of this curriculum, and parents like the curriculum. Games can easily be taught to parents so they can play at home with their children.

Content

Adaptability to instructor needs
  • Teacher can make activities more or less challenging.
  • There are rules to follow for the KidzMath games, but not a lot of structure beyond this.
  • Very adaptable to the needs of the instructor or the students.
  • There are certain skills that need to be taught, but how they are taught is up to the instructor.
General skills taught
  • Demonstrates to students that learning is fun.
  • Demonstrates to students that it is okay to try new things and make mistakes.
  • Develops friendship skills.
Addressing diverse student needs
  • Games and activities are culturally sensitive.
  • Students of all backgrounds to enjoy and benefit from the curriculum.

Strengths and Challenges

Strengths
  • The materials are well-organized in the kits, and are easily accessible for the students.
  • Games are fun, interesting, and hands-on for the students.
  • Curriculum creates a safe atmosphere for students to explore and learn math skills.
  • Applies math to everyday life.
Challenges
  • Instructors need to have strong classroom management skills.

Content Expert Review

Content Expert Reviewer

Lisa Ting
Lisa Ting is currently involved with educational consulting projects and private tutoring. She previously taught first grade and fourth grade at Charles River School in Dover, Massachusetts. She was active in creating age-appropriate and engaging curricula in math, reading, writing and social studies. She is certified in Project Read and Math Curriculum at Dana Hall for grades 3-5. She received her Masters degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2004 with interests in developmental psychology and after school programs.

Content

  • This math curriculum is created for afterschool settings, summer classes, math clubs, or math camps.
  • It focuses on two independent parts: Interactive Games and Story Guides.  There are both quieter games and more physical games.
  • In K-2, the games focus on counting, number relationship, addition and subtraction.
  • In grades 3-6, the games focus on number sense, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, and percentages. 
  • The Story Guide involves reading out loud an engaging story with a math theme and then following up with three math activities, reinforcing their understanding of number sense, measurement, or geometry.
  • The content appears to be accurate and compelling. The games come in kits that are colorful, attractive, and well-organized. Organization makes it easy for instructors to quickly access the needed materials for their games, which is a big plus and can help keep the children focused during demonstrations.

Skills

Academic Skills
  • Counting, number relationship
  • Addition and subtraction
  • Number sense
  • Multiplication and division
  • Fraction, decimal, and percentage
  • Measurement and geometry
Study Skills
  • Students have to organize their materials and space while playing games and doing the activities.
Non-Academic Skills
  • Social skills
  • Problem solving and decision-making.
  • Nature of games is cooperative, not competitive. 
  • Working with others.

Alignment to Standards

  • KidzMath charts out a list of NCTM expectations for grades preK-2, 3-5, and 6-8, and identifies specific games that can help children with those skills.
  • The list is not comprehensive of all standards, therefore teachers would need to do research on their own to figure out what holes to fill.
  • There is a heavy emphasis on improving practical math skills.

Assessment

  • Students’ learning is not formally assessed with grades or math tests.
  • There is an informal questionnaire, which inquires about students’ enjoyment and self-perception of their ability at math. They are subjective in nature and open-ended.

Structure

  • This curriculum is moderately structured.
  • The games are structured with specific rules and the materials are ready in the kit.
  • Story guides are structured with three specific activities per story.
  • However, there are no calendar or lesson maps, leaving flexibility for the instructor to decide how much time to allocate to each part.
  • Students can have the fun and freedom to explore math while reinforcing certain math skills without making learning explicit.
  • Instructors teach the games or lead the activities in the Story Guide and then the students play the games. Students can explore, reinvent the games and take them to a different level as long as they are working cooperatively with others.

Addressing Diverse Student Needs

Adaptability
  • Some games are more challenging than others, so a more experienced teacher would be able to differentiate instruction.
  • There are quieter and noisier games for children who have varying levels of energy. 
  • The games include additional activity ideas if some kids need more challenge.
  • Behavioral issues could arise during the games or story activity times if students are not fully engaged.
Developmental level
  • The curriculum is tailored to grades K-2 and grades 3-6 with their developmental needs in mind.
Learning Styles Addressed
  • Movement/spatial learning: Students have to get up and move around for many of the game and story guide activities. The students can be on the ground or in the corner of the room learning math and exploring ideas with others.
  • Interpersonal learning: Group activities encourage the students to build interpersonal relationships, as they have to work and communicate with each other.  The manual includes a list of both math skills and social skills that students work on in the Story Guides and the games.
  • Artistic learning: There are some arts and crafts activities in the Story Guides.
Multiculturalism
  • The manual suggests grouping English language learners together and encourages them to speak in their native languages while playing the games.
  • Parent letters are printed in Spanish and English.

Strengths and Challenges

Strongest Features
  • Games are fun, interesting, and hands-on for the students.
  • Curriculum creates a safe atmosphere for students to explore and learn math skills.
  • Applies math to everyday life.
  • Students gain social awareness and skills as they play the games.
  • Materials are attractive and age appropriate for the students
  • Nearly all materials are provided and are durable and useful.
  • The materials are well-organized in the kits, and are easily accessible for the students.
  • The checklist, questionnaire, site planning sheet, math glossary and NCTM correlation list are particularly useful for keeping instructors organized and on-task.
Challenges and Drawbacks
  • Students might disengage with a particular game or activity when they lose interest.
  • It is difficult to assess how much students are learning.
  • It can be difficult to see the big picture and overall goals.

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