**Q: Why Math in Focus?**- Our math curriculum was using multiple supplemental resources to meet the needs of the PA Core Standards. Math in Focus provides an appropriately rigorous and standards-aligned math program for students and includes rich problems and appropriate structure for all students.
- All students will be challenged with an emphasis on problem solving and thinking skills.
- Utilizing the strategies that are emphasized in Math in Focus, students will be able to begin thinking abstractly at an earlier age to assist them in building their bridge to Algebraic reasoning.
- Singapore students who have been exposed to these strategies have measured higher than US students on international benchmarks.

**Q: What is Bar Modeling?**- Bar Modeling is one strategy to help students visualize math. By drawing models of numbers, students can build a deeper understanding of a number and its relationship to another.
- Presentation by Dr. Yeap Ban Har who is a leading force in bringing Singapore strategies to the US: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Em2yERb3Kfs

*Q: This math looks different from how I learned math. Is this the “new” math?*- No, but there are certain strategies for modeling math (bar modeling & number bonds for example) that might be different from
current adults learned math when in school. These are the strategies that have garnered the most excitement from our teachers and best meet the requirements of the PA Core Standards.__how__ - There isn’t a “new” math. 2 plus 2 still equals 4. The strategies used to help students understand math have evolved.

*Q: How does instruction differ in classrooms using Math in Focus?*- There are several key ways in which the instruction and learning in a Math in Focus classroom are unique. The underlying pedagogy, based on a concrete-pictorial-abstract approach to learning mathematics, advises that every concept be taught first at the concrete level with the use of manipulatives. The implications for instruction are that teachers model mathematical concepts using manipulatives and provide students with ongoing opportunities to develop understanding through their own experience with concrete materials. Instruction in a Math in Focus classroom also leads students to make lasting connections between concrete materials, visual representation and abstract algorithms. In addition to this, consistent and carefully structured lessons provide children with a systematic way to learn, and the time and opportunities do so.

**Q: What type of homework can I expect from Math in Focus?**- Homework is time for independent student work to “prove it”. Students need to demonstrate their level of independent understanding. When students struggle, encourage them to develop persistence to solve problems. Asking students questions about their math homework is helpful:

o Can you show me….?

o Can you explain this….?

o What is the difference between…?

o How many ….would be needed for…?

o What is/are missing…..?

o Please teach me what you know….

- Mathematically proficient students check their answers to problems using a different method, and they continually ask themselves, "Does this make sense?". Teachers use the homework to inform them about teacher instruction (i.e., what the students know, what they don’t know).

*Q: If I don’t understand the method that my child learns in class, can’t I just show my child the way that I learned how to do math?*- Math in Focus uses a carefully crafted progression that creates an understanding using concrete manipulatives, then pictorial models, building to the abstract understanding.
- There is research behind this methodology and why it works. It is also included as an appropriate progression in the Core Standards.

*Q: What research supports the Math in Focus program?*- American Institutes for Research : What can be learned from high-performing Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea
- NY Times : Making Math Lessons as Easy as 1, Pause, 2, Pause…
- NJ district sees great gains using Math in Focus

*Q: How are teachers trained to adjust to the differences in program expectations?*- Math in Focus professional development has included specialized trainers who provided WCASD teachers with an in-depth understanding of the curriculum in addition to suggestions for smoothing the transition into the program. The workshops provided WCASD teachers the opportunity to think about their current classroom practices, recognize the importance of exceptional math instruction, and explore what might shift for their students and themselves when Math in Focus is implemented in their classrooms. These professional development workshops will continue throughout the school year to provide teachers with the resources needed to best prepare their instruction.

*Q: What if I have more questions?*- If your question is related to your individual child’s progress in math, please contact your child’s teacher.
- If you have further questions regarding the program or WCASD math curriculum, please contact Ian Kerr (WCASD Math Supervisor - ikerr@wcasd.net) and/or visit the publishing company’s website, ThinkCentral, for video tutorials.