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Julie Sarama

“Teachers are the key to academic achievement for students.” This statement is widely accepted, but professional development in early childhood mathematics education faces a number of barriers. What are those barriers? What do teachers have to say about developing their own knowledge of the teaching and learning of mathematics? What should be done to address these problems? Answering these questions was the goal of a recent project funded by the National Science Foundation called “Planning for Professional Development in Pre-School Mathematics: Meeting the Challenge of Standards 2000.” This article shares some of the answers I found in the course of that project.

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Douglas H. Clements and Julie Sarama

This study evaluated the efficacy of a preschool mathematics program based on a comprehensive model of developing research-based software and print curricula. Building Blocks, funded by the National Science Foundation, is a curriculum development project focused on creating research-based, technology-enhanced mathematics materials for pre-K through grade 2. In this article, we describe the underlying principles, development, and initial summative evaluation of the first set of resulting materials as they were used in classrooms with children at risk for later school failure. Experimental and comparison classrooms included two principal types of public preschool programs serving low-income families: state funded and Head Start prekindergarten programs. The experimental treatment group score increased significantly more than the comparison group score; achievement gains of the experimental group approached the sought-after 2-sigma effect of individual tutoring. This study contributes to research showing that focused early mathematical interventions help young children develop a foundation of informal mathematics knowledge, especially for children at risk for later school failure.

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Douglas H. Clements and Julie Sarama

In their Research Commentary, Kitchen and Berk (2016) argue that educational technology may focus only on skills for low-income students and students of color, further limiting their opportunities to learn mathematical reasoning, and thus pose a challenge to realizing standards-based reforms. Although the authors share the concern about equity and about funds wasted by inappropriate purchases of technology before planning based on research and the wisdom of expert practice, including inadequate professional development, they believe that Kitchen and Berk's commentary contains several limitations that could be misconstrued and thus misdirect policy and practice.

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Douglas H. Clements and Julie Sarama

This is the second in a series of articles exploring the use of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics' (NCTM's) 2006 publication, Curriculum Focal Points for Prekindergarten through Grade 8 Mathematics: A Quest for Coherence. The series introduction by NCTM President Skip Fennell, explaining what Curriculum Focal Points are and why NCTM developed them, appeared in the December 2007/January 2008 issue of Teaching Children Mathematics (page 315). In this and subsequent TCM articles, the authors of the various grade bands discuss the Focal Points for one or two grade levels. Because one principle of Curriculum Focal Points is that of cohesive curriculum, in which ideas develop across the grades, we encourage teachers of all grade levels to read the full series.

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Julie Sarama and Douglas H. Clements

This is the third in a series of articles exploring the use of the 2006 National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) publication, Curriculum Focal Points for Prekindergarten through Grade 8 Mathematics: A Quest for Coherence. The series introduction from NCTM President Skip Fennell, explaining what the Curriculum Focal Points are and why NCTM developed them, appeared in the December 2007/January 2008 issue of Teaching Children Mathematics (page 315). In subsequent TCM articles, the authors of the various grade bands discuss focal points for one or two grade levels. Because one principle of Curriculum Focal Points is that of cohesive curriculum, in which ideas develop across the grades, we encourage teachers of all grade levels to read the full series.

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Douglas H. Clements and Julie Sarama

“I'm first today!” “Then I want to be second. You gotta be third, Joon.”

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Julie Sarama and Douglas H. Clements

Zachary's grandmother was walking him out of preschool. He looked at the tiled walk-way and yelled, “Look, Grandma! Hexagons! Hexagons all over the walk. You can put them together with no spaces!”

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Douglas H. Clements and Julie Sarama

When we talk about our prekindergarten curriculum development project,

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Douglas Clements and Julie Sarama

What position does Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM 2000) take on appropriate standards, goals, and activities for preschoolers? This article is a sample of the information from chapter 4, “Standards for Grades Pre-K–2,” which has been selected and annotated by the editors. Please read the chapter for the full story. You can find it on the World Web Web at standards.nctm.org.

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Douglas H. Clements and Julie Sarama

In keeping with the early childhood chapter of Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, this department examines activities and children's thinking in geometry and, in the next issue, number. From prekindergarten to grade 12, the Geometry Standard addresses four main areas: properties of shapes, location and spatial relationships, transformations and symmetry, and visualization. For each area, we quote the goal of the Standard and the associated early-childhood expectations. We then present snippets of research and sample activities to develop ideas within each area with students.