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Everyday Mathematics builds a strong foundation for algebraic thinking

Students master key concepts as teachers easily track their progress

When Nita Cochran was district math coordinator for Norman Public Schools in Oklahoma, she was looking to help the district’s elementary school students improve their mathematical foundation. There are nearly 16,000 students in NPS, which is located in Oklahoma’s third-largest city and is also home to the University of Oklahoma. 

Cochran, who is currently math curriculum coordinator for Mustang Public Schools in Oklahoma, launched a pilot program in 2003 with Everyday Mathematics from McGraw-Hill at two of the district’s elementary schools. 

“Our goal was to have our ninth-grade students take Algebra I,” Cochran says. 

Cochran says Everyday Mathematics provides the best path for elementary school students to solidify their mathematical foundation.

Everyday Mathematics, which was developed by The University of Chicago’s School Mathematics Project, continually reinforces math concepts through concrete real-world applications. It helps students master key concepts by revisiting content in a variety of contexts over time, as opposed to rote memorization. Everyday Mathematics builds teachers’ confidence that students will master state standards for each grade. Teachers can see how content develops across lessons and pinpoint each student’s mastery level for standards at any point during the school year.

After a successful pilot, teachers from the two pilot schools championed Everyday Mathematics to fellow faculty members and convinced them to adopt it districtwide in 2004.

Beyond the classroom

Everyday Mathematics has both offline and online tools for students and teachers. Students can log into the platform to get extra practice or to play games online—games that reinforce what they’ve learned in class. Teachers can see students’ work and track their progress toward mastery of math concepts. This information is useful to teachers if they have to adjust what they’re teaching or to identify students who might need extra help.

Professional development

Cochran says the professional development component of Everyday Mathematics is one of the keys to the program’s success.

Everyday Mathematics trainers have all taught the program before becoming trainers, which adds crucial credibility and leads teachers to have a good response to continuing professional development, according to Cochran.

“They brought in trainers that were fantastic,” Cochran says. “The trainers used Everyday Mathematics as teachers in elementary schools and it shows.” 

Cochran says Everyday Mathematics deepens students’ knowledge of math and credits the program with pushing students to take more challenging math courses in middle school and high school. 

“We had huge numbers of students taking Algebra in middle school, and then taking Algebra II by ninth grade,” Cochran says. “That is a powerful endorsement of Everyday Mathematics.”

For more information, visit www.mheonline.com/everydaymath4

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