2016 Curriculum Extension Welcome Letter

Upper Merion Area School District
August 31, 2015
Dear Parents/Guardians/Caregivers,
Congratulations! Your son/daughter has been selected to participate in our redesigned Math
Curriculum Extension class. Using a thorough process of analyzing historical data, student
achievement, and overall math ability, we have selected a small group of students who will have
the opportunity to participate in a hybrid class combining support for current math concepts and
basic fact skills. It is with great excitement that we are writing to you to explain this amazing
The Math Curriculum Extension class will serve two purposes this year. The class will alternate
between developing math fact skills and supporting specific concepts from the regular
mathematics class. Each classroom mathematics teacher has identified three specific concepts
from the entire year where students have traditionally struggled. When these concepts are being
taught in the regular mathematics class the Curriculum Extension class will teach these concepts
as well. After the unit is complete the Curriculum Extension class will return to a focus on math
fact skills utilizing First in Math and the 24 Challenge game.
If you are not familiar with the 24 Challenge game, here is some background:
“In 1988, inventor Robert Sun created the Math 24 card game, a unique mathematics teaching
tool. The 24 Game helps train young minds in the processes and patterns of mathematics, what
Sun calls 'the method behind the math.’ As the original Single Digits 24 game evolved into nine
different editions, Sun also created 24 Challenge Math Program competitions—or
‘tournaments’ as they came to be known—based on the games.”
This Spring each student in the Curriculum Extension classes will have the opportunity to
participate in a class Math 24 Challenge tournament. Students will compete against each other in
their own class. Only students enrolled in the Math Curriculum Extension class will be competitors
in the Math 24 classroom Challenge tournament in May. Winners in each class will earn a Gold or
Silver medal to celebrate their accomplishment as a Math 24 Champion.
In addition to using the Math 24 playing cards, your son/daughter will have 24/7 access to the
First in Math website from school, home, or any location with wifi access. “Visit any school that
uses First in Math and you will find students who are engaged, empowered and energized. A
friendly competition component helps students become motivated and energized to sustain
accelerated effort over time. Students forge a bond at the classroom level, help one another, and
become better critical thinkers.
“The foundation of the course is built on the idea of fluency with rational numbers and skill in
manipulating rational expressions as the foundation for Algebra I and II. First in Math modules
are designed to reinforce mastery of basic facts, decimals, fractions, integers, exponents, variables
and order of operations. First In Math online problems provide immediate feedback so practice is
meaningful and engaging. Through the Deep Practice techniques, skills that might take months of
435 Crossfield Road King of Prussia PA 19406 610-205-6400 www.umasd.org
Upper Merion Area School District
conventional practice can be mastered in a matter of days. Improvement is self-directed and new
habits replace old, unproductive habits—driving success in every academic area. Significant
results can be achieved in minutes a day” (http://explore.firstinmath.com/about-fim/24-game/).
The Math Curriculum Extension class will use a blended learning model to maximize the
opportunity for students to accelerate their learning. This model has been shown to increase
student engagement, motivation, and success. In a blended learning model students will work
through three specific centers using a rotation system. The three center rotation system allows
for small groups of students to have personal attention and a focus on their specific needs in the
When students are working on their math fact skills the three centers will be a teacher-led center,
an online center (www.firstinmath.com), and a Math 24 playing card center. In the centers where
online learning and Math 24 playing cards are used, students will be able to work at their own
pace to truly personalize their learning. In the online center, students will earn stickers, rewards,
and recognition on the First in Math website. Although students will work on the website during
class time, students will have access to the website 24/7 to ensure they can continue having fun
with mathematics on their own schedule.
The grading of the class will be a combination of note taking/study skills, engagement/
participation, and short assessments. Our goal is to ensure ALL students will earn an “O” in this
class. The Math Curriculum Extension teachers are excited to implement this blended learning
model and believe by increasing our students’ mathematical fluency we will see increased success
in all subjects.
Your son/daughter will receive two t-shirts during the first week of school they can wear proudly
to signify their selection to the 2015 – 2016 Upper Merion Area Middle School Math Curriculum
Extension class. If you should have any questions about your child’s Math Curriculum Extension
class, please contact your child’s teacher at your convenience.
Please sign below, cut at the dotted line, and have your child return the signed portion to his/her
Math Curriculum Extension teacher.
Christine Schmolz (7th grade) [email protected]
Laura Mooney (5th – 8th grade) [email protected]
-----------------------------------------------------------I have read and understand the opportunity for the Math Curriculum Extension class for the 2015
– 2016 school year.
___________________________________ ____________________________________ ____________________
(Parent/Guardian Signature)
(Student Signature)
E-Mail Address: __________________________________________________________________________
435 Crossfield Road King of Prussia PA 19406 610-205-6400 www.umasd.org
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