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Mathematics | Teaching Strategies | June 12, 2024

Unlock Mathematical Excellence with Math Intervention Programs

What qualities make excellent math intervention programs? This article explores the essentials of effective math intervention programs and shares the benefits for students of all ages. It also introduces Focused Mathematics Intervention, an evidence-based solution designed to build conceptual understanding and procedural fluency, while also developing students’ growth mindsets towards mathematics.

Encouraging Positive Mathematical Mindsets

When it comes to mathematics intervention programs, it’s essential that an effective solution develop a growth mindset towards mathematics in students.

Our rising and most vulnerable mathematics students often have negative perceptions of themselves as mathematicians. They view their struggles with mathematics not as part of the learning process but as an identity that they are bad at math or do not possess the fictitious "math gene." All mathematics learners need to view struggle and challenge in mathematics as the time when they learn and grow the most as mathematicians. 

For students to develop positive mathematical mindsets, they need scaffolded learning experiences that build their confidence and develop their problem-solving strategies so they can grapple productively. Through these experiences and a program grounded in the science of learning, students will develop both a love of and appreciation for mathematics and mastery of the standards.

TCM_FocusMathInterventionUnlockExcellence-650x520-2Reinforcing Key Concepts and Building Mathematical Fluency

Math intervention programs must also provide an evidence-based solution designed to build conceptual understanding and procedural fluency. A concrete, semi-concrete, abstract (C-R-A) instructional approach allows students to “see” the math first.  Once they can “see” the math, they can represent what they are seeing (semi-concrete) before shifting to using (abstract) numbers and symbols. A successful mathematics intervention solution must offer a comprehensive approach to increasing mathematical proficiency through several key areas.

Targeted Approach

Effective math intervention programs must accelerate students' mathematics achievement from kindergarten to grade 8. By focusing on the critical areas of mathematical learning at each grade, students receive the right intervention, tailored to their needs.

Grounded in Learning Science

Math intervention programs must incorporate effective, science-based intervention methods and techniques and draws from the latest educational research to provide students with the most effective tools and techniques. A strategic progression of math concepts and skills should guide students through a well-structured scope and sequence. This progression ensures that students build on their prior knowledge and develop a solid mathematical foundation.

Versatility and Flexibility 

A math intervention program must seamlessly integrate into various instructional frameworks, settings, and schedules, whether it's in summer school, during after-school programs, or as part of a more extensive math intervention curriculum. The best option is a resource that adapts to the needs of both teachers and students

Fun

Learning becomes fun with interactive math games. These games engage and motivate students and guide them toward independent computational fluency. Math becomes an enjoyable journey rather than a daunting task.

A Closer Look at Focused Mathematics Intervention

Focused Mathematics Intervention meets all the criteria of an excellent math intervention program. In fact, it is a game-changer in math education for four key reasons.

Easy-to-implement Lessons

Focused Mathematics Intervention minimizes prep time for teachers with ample content for daily intervention. The program offers easy-to-implement lessons with flexible pacing plans, allowing educators to focus on teaching rather than on planning.

Explicit and Systematic Strategy Instruction

The lesson plans in Focused Mathematics Intervention follow the gradual release of responsibility model. This includes teacher think-alouds, guided direct instruction, and collaborative/independent practice. The Warm-Up and Language and Vocabulary lesson components incorporate concepts and skills from previous grades to link understanding to grade-level curriculum. Students also apply their learning through Math in the Real-World Problem. The lesson concludes with a summary and reflection on key points to cement learning and build students' metacognitive power. It ensures that students receive the necessary support and gradually become independent learners.

Active Math Learning

The Student Guided Practice Book is a valuable resource that incorporates opportunities to work with visual representations of mathematical ideas. When used with the lessons, students attend to conceptual understanding, procedural proficiency, and problem-solving through rich tasks and active learning experiences. 

Assessment Tools

Focused Mathematics Intervention doesn't stop at teaching—it also includes a breadth of assessment tools for identifying students' needs and continuous progress monitoring. Diagnostic assessments, quick checks, real-world problems, and performance tasks provide guidance on the next steps based on evidence of individual student thinking. They also serve as opportunities to give students immediate feedback. Assessment results can also be shared through a variety of reporting options.

Effective math intervention programs will accelerate learning for striving and rising mathematics students. By constructing conceptual understanding, building fluency, and incorporating research-backed strategies, Focused Math Intervention empowers students to excel in mathematics and develops mathematical mindsets. With its versatility and adaptability, it can be seamlessly integrated into various educational settings, making it an ideal choice for math intervention.

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Karie Gladis, Educational Consultant

Karie Gladis is an educational consultant and former classroom educator with extensive professional development training experiences with administrators, teachers, and parents across all content areas. Karie is the author and editor of several mathematics and language development resources. She has a Masters Degree in Urban Education with an emphasis in Teaching English as a Second Language and a BS in Elementary Education with a minor in Teaching Spanish.

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