• A Parent’s Guide to Math Recovery

What is Math Recovery?

Math Recovery is a program designed to help insure that all students will be successful in mathematics.   We know that when students first begin school there are already vast differences in their number knowledge.  Some students have not acquired the informal background knowledge needed to be successful in the more formal school mathematics.

If a student is not successful early in the school experience, negative feelings toward mathematics and a lack of self-confidence can emerge.  Over time, as the knowledge gap widens, finding success becomes even more difficult.

The aim of Math Recovery is to provide these students with assistance before they experience too much failure.  The goal is to help these students advance to the level at which they can successfully learn with their peers.

Number and number relationships that seem obvious to adults may not seem so for children.  Children’s understandings can vary greatly from the adult knowledge.
The development of this knowledge does not come from telling, but rather through the child’s personal construction of the knowledge.   Children must have personal experiences to learn and relate various forms of number.

Math Recovery has its focus in the number operation and concept strand of mathematics and its emphasis on assessment and intervention.  The instructional strategies include the following key topics:

• Forward and Backward Number Word Sequences

Verbal ability with number words
Counting forward and backward
Counting on or back from a given number
Skip counting (counting by 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s).

• Numeral Identification

• Structuring Numbers

Recognizing and using spatial patterns (such as dice, dominos, and finger patterns).
Relating quantity to numerals and verbal counting words.

Focusing on concepts and the development of strategies rather than mere memorization of number facts.

• Tens and Ones

Beginnings and basics of the place value system with knowledge of two digit numerals as related to quantity.

These early arithmetical concepts are the foundation for all future mathematics and learning in mathematics.   As Math Recovery students work one-on-one with the trained Math Recovery teacher, they gain confidence in their own abilities.   This confidence helps them find success not only in mathematics, but also in all curriculum areas.

What will my child do in Math Recovery?

A specially trained teacher meets one-on-one with each Math Recovery student 30 minutes daily, for 10-15 weeks.   The Math Recovery teacher develops individualized instructional plans based on the needs of each student.  Instructional settings are created and presented to the student.  These tasks are meant to provide a true challenge for the student but remain within their capabilities.  Student growth occurs when they are working at the cutting edge of their knowledge.

All teaching sessions are videotaped.  The purpose of this is to allow the teacher to closely study the student’s strategies and mathematical thinking for planning future instruction.    The videotapes are viewed only by Math Recovery teachers and are used to develop a deeper understanding of how to best assist the student.

What can we do at home?

Mathematics at home does not need to be formal pencil/paper instruction.  You can support the instruction taking place in Math Recovery, and in the classroom, through playing games and by talking about mathematics in day-to-day events.

Playing games with your child involving numbers, dice, and counting provides for important experiences in making sense of mathematics.

There are lots of opportunities around us for counting, reading numbers, comparing numbers, comparing quantities, adding and subtracting, and simply talking about mathematics.  These opportunities occur while at home, driving in the car, shopping, taking a walk……just about everywhere.

Encouraging your child to explain how they arrived at their answer can provide great information into their way of thinking.  Try to present a new opportunity for the child to correct the mathematical strategy rather than scolding and saying, “That’s wrong.”

During the course of Math Recovery you will be sent activities that you might do at home with your child.  These activities correspond with the work that we complete during the course of our daily lessons.  I encourage you to support the skills and strategies that your child is developing in order to assist your child’s growth in mathematical knowledge.

A strong partnership between school and home will have a positive impact on your child’s educational experience.  If you have any questions, please contact me at:  shawn.pedersonwalczy@ahschools.us or 763-506-8273

Mrs. Shawn Walczynski
Math Recovery Intervention Specialist
Rum River Elementary School

Copyright US Math Recovery Council 2006