# Everyday Mathematics Grade K-3. Parent Resource Guide

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1 Everyday Mathematics Grade K-3 Parent Resource Guide

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7 Why Everyday Mathematics? Philosophy What is Everyday Mathematics, and how will it help my child? Everyday Mathematics is the elementary program of the University of Chicago School of Mathematics Project (UCSMP), which is a long-term project designed to improvement mathematics at all grade levels. International studies show that U.S. students learn much less math than students in other countries. Several corporations and organizations saw the need for a reform in mathematics and combined with the UCSMP to develop this program one grade level at a time. Everyday Math is designed to encourage children to think mathematically and to develop confidence and familiarity with math concepts and skills by using numbers and activities that have meaning in children s lives. Children learn about inches and centimeters by measuring their own hands. They discover negative numbers by reading an outdoor thermometer and charting the daily temperatures. In kindergarten through second grades, classroom routines reinforce this every day learning, At all grade levels, students play a variety of math games that give them plenty of practice using numbers. Everyday Mathematics, which is based on research about how children learn best, is structured differently from the math programs many parents encountered in elementary school. It does not involve presenting a skill or concept to students, expecting them to master within a certain time frame, and then moving on to the next skill. Instead, a teacher introduces a mathematical idea that children will come back to again and again. This ensures that your child has many exposures to these mathematical ideas before mastery is expected. A high priority is placed on children developing automatic recall of the basic number facts and recognizes that computation is an important and practical part of mathematics. The Everyday Math program is designed to ensure all students can compute accurately in a variety of ways. Of course, with any subject area, practice is necessary in order to develop competency. Your child will explore, learn and practice mathematics in a variety of settings including whole class, small groups, partners and individually. They will learn to work cooperatively and independently as they solve problems based on real-life situations. The math classroom has changed dramatically. Students need a variety of instructional techniques tailored to their developmental levels. The Everyday Math program understands that students learn in different ways and that topics need to be approached differently. It provides a reasonable balance between discovery learning and direct teaching approaches. Students are challenged to apply their mathematical knowledge to solve real-life problems. These problems are presented in a variety of contexts and solved in a variety of ways. Students are taught to question and verify the reasonableness of their own and others strategies and conclusions. This mix of techniques helps with the ultimate goal that students really understand and are successful at math. 1

8 Curriculum Features There are a number of features that distinguish the Everyday Mathematics curriculum. These include: Real-life Problem Solving Everyday Mathematics emphasizes the application of mathematics to real world situations. Numbers, skills and mathematical concepts are not presented in isolation, but are linked to situations and contexts that are relevant to everyday lives. The curriculum also provides numerous suggestions for incorporating mathematics into daily classroom routines and other subject areas. Balanced Instruction Each Everyday Mathematics lesson includes time for whole-group instruction as well as small group, partner, or individual activities. These activities balance teacher-directed instruction with opportunities for open-ended, hands-on explorations, long-term projects and on-going practice. Multiple Methods for Basic Skills Practice Everyday Mathematics provides numerous methods for basic skills practice and review. These include written and choral fact drills, mental math routines, practice with fact triangles (flash cards of fact families), daily sets of review problems called math boxes, homework, timed tests and a wide variety of math games. Emphasis on Communication Throughout the Everyday Mathematics curriculum students are encouraged to explain and discuss their mathematical thinking, in their own words. Opportunities to verbalize their thoughts and strategies give children the chance to clarify their thinking and gain insights from others. Enhanced Home/School Partnerships For grades 1-3, daily Home Links provide opportunities for family members to participate in the students mathematical learning. Study Links are provided for most lessons in grades 4-6, and all grades include periodic letters to help keep parents informed about their children s experience with Everyday Mathematics. Appropriate Use of Technology Everyday Mathematics teaches students how to use technology appropriately. The curriculum includes many activities in which learning is extended and enhanced through the use of calculators. At the same time, all activities in which calculators would function simply as crutches for basic computation are clearly marked with a no calculator sign. 2

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12 Lesson Features And Classroom Routines In grades K-2, classroom routines and daily activities show students how math is used in every day life and help them practice skills, such as: Calendar activities. Students practice recognizing numbers on a calendar. Taking attendance. Each day, children record the number of students who are present and the number who are absent. Recording the weather. The students will record the temperature every day in both Fahrenheit and Celsius. They will discuss the type of weather- cloudy, sunny, rainy, snowy- and record on a number line or graph. Number line activities. For many activities, the students will refer to a number line that is posted around the room. They will be counting off days of the school year or using it to skip count, for example. Daily schedule. The daily schedule gives students the chance to practice telling time. Calculators Evidence is growing that students intelligent use of calculators enhances understanding and mastery of arithmetic and helps develop good number sense. Moreover, teacher experience and considerable research show that most children develop good judgment about when to use and when not to use calculators. Students learn how to decide when it is appropriate to solve an arithmetic problem by estimating or mentally calculating, by using paper and pencil, or by using a calculator. Calculators are useful teaching tools. They make it possible for young children to display and read numbers before they are skilled at writing numbers. Calculators can be used to count by any number, forward and backward. They also allow children to solve interesting, everyday problems requiring calculations that might otherwise be too difficult for them to perform. Please encourage children to use their calculators whenever they encounter interesting numbers or problems that may be easier to handle with calculators than without them. This includes numbers or problems that may come up outside of the mathematics period. Encourage them also to think about when not to use a calculator because it is easier and faster to solve a problem mentally. Explorations Explorations are independent or small-group activities that allow children to investigate, develop and extend math concepts. These are a key part of the math program in the early grades and often involve manipulating materials. During this time teachers interact with students, both for teaching and for assessment. Games Mathematical games are an important part of the Everyday Mathematics program. They reinforce math fact computation and provide an alternative form of practice. They build fact and operation skills, but also reinforce other skills: for example, calculator skills, money exchange and shopping skills, logic, geometric intuition, and probability and chance intuition. Games can be repeated without repeating the same problem since most games involve generating numbers randomly. Rules can be altered to allow players to progress from easy to more challenging versions. Games are fun; families can play them at home to provide additional practice in an interesting way. Some games can be played by students 6

13 across a variety of grade levels. Here are some games you can play at home.the numbers in parentheses indicate the appropriate grade level for each game. Sample Games Odd One Out (K) Concentration (K) Go Fish (K) Disappearing Train (K) Beat the Calculator (1-5) Broken Calculator (1-5) Two-Fisted Pennies/Dimes Games Making Change Game (2-4) Money Exchange Collection Game (2-4) Take-Apart Game (2-4) Top-it Number Top-it (K) Addition Top-it (1-3) Subtraction Top-it (1-3) Name that Number (2-5) Pick-a-Coin (2-3) Home Links/Study Links: These provide an important connection between home and school Most are activities that require interaction with parents, other adults, or another child. They are designed to provide follow-up and review of skills and concepts, and an extension of the material covered in the daily lessons. Journal: The journal contains the problem material and pages on which the children record the results of their activities. It provides a record of their mathematical growth over time and is used in place of student worksheets, workbook, and textbook. Math Boxes: Math Boxes are 4 6 short problems on a page used on a regular basis for review and practice. Many of these worksheets have blank boxes so teachers can individualize work for students. Math Messages: Many teachers begin each day with a Math Message to be completed by the children before the start of the lesson for that day. Math Messages vary. They consist of problems to solve, directions to follow, tasks to complete, notes to copy, sentences to complete or correct, or brief quizzes. Most are used as lead-in activities for the lessons of the day or as reviews of previously learned topics. Follow-ups to the Math Messages usually occur during the lesson itself. Math Tool Kit: Students use a variety of math tools throughout the year. Ruler, tape measure, geometry template, counters, money, and calculators are among the items kept in the math tool kit. Children learn responsibility for their learning tools and have them available when needed. Minute Math: (Kindergarten 3rd grade) Minute Math are brief activities for transition times and for spare moments throughout the day. The activities serve as a source of continuous review and provide problems for mental problem solving and arithmetic. Projects: Projects cover an assortment of mathematics activities and concepts, and are built around various themes that interest children. The projects are cross-curricular in nature and often include the following science processes: Determining patterns and relationships Collecting, organizing, and graphing data Observing Using numbers Communicating Measuring Identifying 7

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