Promising Practices in Math

April 4, 2006

As soon as you hear squeals of delight from students after their teacher calls out a math problem, you know this isn't an ordinary math class. The students are playing a competitive game called "bacon and egg" in their afterschool program at an elementary school in Houston, Texas. For these students learning mathematics doesn't end as soon as class is dismissed -- and that is the philosophy behind the mathematics toolkit created by The National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning. Filled with lesson plans for different grade levels and for different mathematics skills, the Afterschool Training Toolkit was designed for afterschool program staff around the country. It highlights best practices for supporting mathematics learning and meeting standards. The toolkit features several videos of lesson plans and math games in action, including the bacon and egg game enjoyed by Houston students. Deborah Donnelly, who contributed to the toolkit, sees an advantage in learning subject matter afterschool. "While student engagement may be a challenge in the school day given time constraints and the number of topics to be covered, in afterschool it's much easier. Content matter can be included in fun formats that would be difficult in a regular classroom setting. This focus on engagement is key to the lesson plans in the mathematics toolkit.