Additional Math Pages & Resources

Monday, November 17, 2014

Excel Math Helps Students Raise Test Scores

Prediction: Half of math students will not meet
grade-level proficiency marks this spring

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium today announced cut scores for its spring test, and released data projecting that more than half of students will not meet grade-level-proficiency marks in mathematics on its test this spring.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is a group that is designing assessments for the Common Core State Standards.

Since many students are not doing well on Common Core pretests, it is easy to see why parents and teachers may be getting nervous about how well their students will do on these assessments.

Even so, Excel Math lessons continue to build student confidence and success in math— including success on these new assessments. As a result, Excel Math students are testing off the charts in mathematics.

Here's what one mom wrote to tell us:

"My children have been using Excel Math Standard Edition at home for the last year to supplement the math curriculum they have at school (which isn't very effective). This year they took the Common Core Math pretest for the first time. We had been warned that our children would probably not score very well on these tests.
However, my fourth grader scored 83% and my third grader (who is not a math genius) scored 98%!
When people asked me if he was a math whiz, I had to tell them, "Not at all. It was the Excel Math Lesson Sheets!"
— Wendy Ullrich, grateful parent

Parents across the country are discovering that Excel Math lessons help students retain concepts into long-term memory so they can recall those concepts when assessed. Other math lessons can't even compare. As a result, Excel Math students are scoring well on Iowa Basic Skills Tests, Texas STAAR tests and even Common Core pretests!

Read more . . .

Questions about how Excel Math lessons work? Leave a comment below.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Word Problems for Math Storytelling Day


September 25 is celebrated as Math Storytelling Day. On this day, those of us who love math can have fun making up and sharing math-related stories.

Stories can involve puzzles, logic problems, brain teasers, human relationships—just about anything, as long as math is involved.

Excel Math lessons not only include math word problems, but also more in-depth Create A Problem stories with math problems that are created by the students. 
Here's one you can use to challenge your students with today.
Click on the image title below to try it out for yourself.
Grade 3 Excel Math Create A Problem (Click here to download)

In the Excel Math Teacher Editions you'll also find brainteasers and logic story problems called Stretches.

These problems can be written on the board and left up all day for students to solve. Here's an example of a Stretch:

Carl is a carpenter who makes wooden stools. He has 10 stools. Some are three-legged and some are four-legged stools. They have a total of 36 legs. How many four-legged and three-legged stools does Carl have? (The answer is given below.)

And we'll end with a famous math riddle:

As I was going to St. Ives,
I met a man with seven wives.
Every wife had seven sacks,
Every sack had seven cats.
Every cat had seven kits.
Kits, cats, sacks, and wives,
How many were going to St. Ives?
The answer is one! Only "I" was going to St. Ives. The others were people he met along the way.

Read more . . .

Questions about how Excel Math lessons work? Leave a comment below.

Stretch Answer: Carl has 4 three-legged stools and 6 four-legged stools

For more Storytelling Day ideas, see our previous blog post: Storytelling Day Ideas for the Math Classroom

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students with

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Math Placement Tests: Off to a Great Start!

For over 35 years Excel Math has been helping students in Kindergarten through Grade 6 build solid math skills.

Did you know?

Excel Math provides grade level evaluation tools in English and in Spanish to help you determine where each student should begin with the program. These easy-to-use placement tests can be combined with basic fact skills tests to assess your students' readiness for math.

Use the placement tests to determine where a student should start in the Excel Math program.

Each Placement Test file contains six tests that evaluate a student's preparedness for Excel Math Grades 1 - 6.

Instructions for using the tests are included. 

Just send us an email when you're ready for the answers and we'll send them to you.

Read more . . .

Questions about how Excel Math lessons work? Leave a comment below.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Back to (Math) Basics

For over 35 years Excel Math has been helping students build solid math skills. And those rigorous math lessons continue to help students succeed today

In Excel Math our Student Lesson Sheets include a section called Basic Fact Practice. Students complete these problems after the Lesson section and before the Guided Practice (unless you choose to use these problems as bell work).

Excel Math Student Lesson Sheet with Basic Fact Practice

In this way, basic math facts are practiced regularly. Students have a chance to get basic facts into their long-term memory and continue reviewing them throughout the year.

The Basic Fact Practice portion of the Student Lesson Sheet can be used as a way to start your math period or as bell work so students are on task the minute they enter the classroom. The problems will be fairly easy at first (helping students build confidence) but will increase in difficulty during the year. Excel Math gives students a chance to practice basic facts for several weeks before we ask them to use those facts in complex problems.

Basic Fact Practice is included on the Excel Math Projectable Lesson CDs. The facts can be projected onto a white board or wall so the class can focus together on the problems. The first slide shows the problems and the next slide shows the problems with the answers in red. You can use this section as a daily timed quiz or read the problems aloud before projecting them for aural practice of basic math facts.

Download a Basic Math Fact Practice worksheet from our website: http://www.excelmath.com/downloads/manipulatives.html

Or try our Online Timed Fact Practice:
http://excelmath.com/practice.html

Choose the Excel Math lessons that best fit your students' needs and let us send you a sample:

Common Core Editions—written to guide teachers and students through the new Common Core Standards. Teacher Editions include quarterly test tables that show the CCS concepts covered and in which lesson they were initially taught. See Common Core samples . . .

Texas Editions—a smooth transition to the new TEKS, introducing the new math skills now required at each grade level with our unique spiraling approach to get those concepts into your students' long-term memory. Texas Teacher Editions include quarterly test tables that show the TEKS concepts covered and in which lesson they were initially taught. See Texas samples . . .

Standard Excel Math Editions—our proven lessons with new teacher tips and online resources. Teacher friendly lessons and student successes make it a good fit for any classroom or homeschool situation. See Excel Math Standard Edition samples . . .

Questions about how Excel Math lessons work? Leave a comment below.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

ALL Students Can Succeed with Excel Math!

In a recent blog post from Edutopia, Jennifer Bay-Williams, mathematics teacher educator at the University of Louisville, shares three lessons she hopes pre-service teachers in her mathematics methods course will take away from the class. 

Some of her suggestions are already written into Excel Math lessons for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade.

Her tips include:
  • engaging students in challenging tasks
  • using higher-level questions in the classroom and 
  • tailoring instruction to students' specific needs. 
Read more: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/takeaways-math-methods-teach-effectively-jennifer-bay-williams
Excel Math gives teachers at all grade levels from Kindergarten through Grade ) the ability to tailor instruction to student's needs. (We'll take a look at the the other tips in future blog posts.)

Here's what one teacher wrote to tell us:

For me, the key difference your Excel Math program offers is the consumable worksheets with CheckAnswers. This cultivates three key aspects of my classes that no one else can match.

The first part is increased rigor which is one of the three key Common Core shifts. Copying out of the book or from the front board is a low level skill that wastes time and promotes errors. My students spend zero time doing that. They go right to thinking and solving problems. Issues with penmanship and such are no longer a problem using your system resulting in more time spent on thinking and learning. The CheckAnswers further promote this rigor because students are immediately forced to confront their thinking and errors such that they have a limited clue as to the correct outcome. My students typically grow in their ability to persevere (CCSS Math Practice 1) as a result of this.
—Dana Menck, Vista Middle School, Van Nuys, California

With Excel Math lessons, mastery is not expected during the initial lesson where a concept is first introduced. 

For this reason, students have a chance to retain the concept for the long term as they practice it over the next few days and weeks during Guided Practice and Homework. After a couple of weeks, the concept finally turns up on an assessment. But Excel Math lessons don't stop there! That same concept will continue to spiral throughout the curriculum during the remainder of the year. 

Here's an example of what educators are telling us about how well the spiraling process in Excel Math works for their students:

“Our teachers, students and parents love Excel Math. Excel Math has provided an incredible boost to our math test scores and has given the students the confidence to successfully solve math problems. The review (spiraling) format assures that concepts learned are practiced throughout the year. We will keep making Excel Math an essential part of our Math curriculum.”


—Principal Villar, John Logan Elementary School, California
 Here's a diagram showing how this spiraling process works into the Excel Math program:


The school year spiraling strategy is broken down into a weekly spiraling strategy of each concept. As a result, student retain math concepts for the long term. Because concepts gradually build on each other, students experience success with learning math. Students begin to feel confident about their math skills as they discover, "I can do this!"

 http://www.excelmath.com/downloads/spiralingstrategy.pdf
Download a copy of our Spiraling Strategy from our website: http://www.excelmath.com/downloads/spiralingstrategy.pdf

Share your own math success  story with us by filling out the comment box below.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

6 Steps for Engaging Elementary Math Students

Jennifer Bay-Williams, mathematics teacher educator at the University of Louisville, shares three lessons she hopes pre-service teachers in her mathematics methods course take away from the class.

Her tips include:
  • engaging students in challenging tasks
  • using higher-level questions in the classroom and
  • tailoring instruction to students' specific needs.
Read more: http://www.edutopia.org


Excel Math lessons give teachers the resources they need to engage elementary math students in challenging mathematics tasks without the frustration and anxiety they often experience when learning math.

Here are six steps for engaging elementary students in math tasks:

1. Begin with Bell Work. Help students get on task as soon as they enter your classroom by giving them a specific "go-to" assignment each day. 

You could write a few problems on the board or use the Excel Math Basic Fact Practice section of the Student Lesson Sheets. Younger students could begin by copying numbers from the board or writing numbers you say aloud and then using counters or Ten Frames to represent those numbers. Math games for individual and partner play are also great ways to engage students at the beginning of class. Prepare to give the class a 2-minute warning when bell work time is almost up so they can prepare to transition to the next activity.

2. Let students solve real-world problems. Let your students count a dozen eggs (or donuts), figure out the cost per egg or donut when given the cost for a dozen, measure the perimeter of the classroom (or their desktops), estimate the length of the hallway, measure planks of wood and determine how many would be needed to lay a new classroom floor, calculate the time they have to wait from the first bell until recess or lunch, figure out how many square feet of tiles would be needed to tile the classroom, etc.
 
3. Include Hands-on Activities. Give your students a chance to form cubes and prisms, use art materials to create numbers, play cooperative math games (and make up some of their own), use measuring devices to make snacks and then divide the snacks evenly among their classmates, , in each Teacher Guide give students new ways to explore mathematics and solve real-world math problems.

4. Merge math with literacy. Share some of your favorite math poems and songs, read math stories, give your students word problems and let them write some of their own, merge math with literacy and challenge students to create and solve their own word problems. Create A Problem exercises in Excel Math give students a chance to figure out more complex word problems and create their own problems (and the solutions) for their classmates to solve.

5. Use discussion starters to help students collaborate, share ideas, talk about different ways to solve a problem and analyze various problem-solving techniques. Let students explain their thinking to each other as they tackle math problems and look for solutions. Set up brain-storming sessions, partner sharing and small-group discussions. Teach your students to listen actively and to summarize the other person's comments before sharing their own ideas. Students develop critical-thinking skills and begin to be willing to share their ideas with their classmates as you give then opportunities to talk about the steps they took to explore and solve math problems in a safe and open environment.

6. Give students opportunities to be successful. Before we challenge students, we can build their confidence by letting them solve easier problems, find and correct their mistakes, and encourage a growth mindset (I can do this). Your example will encourage your students to understand that there can often be more than one way to solve a problem and that we can learn from our mistakes (share the story of how Post-It Notes were invented by accident). As your students grow in confidence, they will be more willing to take risks and try more difficult tasks. Excel Math Stretches (brain teasers) beginning with Grade 2 challenge students to solve more complex problems and find solutions to logic questions and word problems.

The Assess As You Go feature of Excel Math lets students check their work and correct their own mistakes using the CheckAnswer (built into Student Lesson Sheets beginning in Grade 2). Students are usually able to find and correct their mistakes on their own. When they do get stumped by a problem, the teacher or parent can step in to help. Being able to self-assess encourage a growth mindset in students who realize they can figure things out on their own. Students discover that mistakes can actually enhance the learning process and we can learn from them.

Excel Math has a unique spiraling strategy that produces confident students who become successful at mathematics. Some students find they begin to love math after learning with Excel Math!

Just look what happened in Texas at Longworth Elementary after using Excel Math for just one year—test scores for their fifth grade students increased 25%!

Take a look at these amazing results:
Choose the Excel Math lessons that best fit your students' needs and let us send you a sample:

Common Core Editions—written to guide teachers and students through the new Common Core Standards. Teacher Editions include quarterly test tables that show the CCS concepts covered and in which lesson they were initially taught. See Common Core samples . . .

Texas Editions—a smooth transition to the new TEKS, introducing the new math skills now required at each grade level with our unique spiraling approach to get those concepts into your students' long-term memory. Texas Teacher Editions include quarterly test tables that show the TEKS concepts covered and in which lesson they were initially taught. See Texas samples . . .

Standard Excel Math Editions—our proven lessons with new teacher tips and online resources. Teacher friendly lessons and student successes make it a good fit for any classroom or homeschool situation. See Excel Math Standard Edition samples . . .
Read more . . .

Questions about how Excel Math lessons work? Leave a comment below.

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