Eric S. Smith Middle School, Ramsey School District, New Jersey
eMATH Provides Opportunities for Critical Thinking in the Classroom
Scott Sirota, a 16-year veteran math educator at Eric S. Smith Middle School, says he began using eMATHinstruction (eMATH) materials because he was looking for a curriculum for Algebra I that encouraged critical thinking skills. The Algebra I teachers at the school have now used the curriculum for years and they have continued to see success with it. Scott says that students in the school always perform well on standardized tests, but the teachers have seen an improvement in the students’ thinking skills since switching to eMATH, which is harder to measure.
The eMATH curricula provides students with thought-provoking problems and the materials are accessible for students. The focus on problems that require students to think carefully rather than problems that rely on rote memorization is one of the reasons that Scott says he has enjoyed using eMATH materials. The eMATH videos also include these elements, which Scott says makes it effective for him to refer students to the videos when they are absent from class or need a refresher.
We were looking for a curriculum that would offer students an opportunity to think. I’ve always viewed curriculum as a good springboard for discussion and more thought in the classroom. When I looked at eMATHinstruction, I thought it had really great thinking pieces.Scott Sirota, Math Teacher & Instructional Coach
eMATH Materials are Accessible and Cost-Effective
Scott says another benefit of eMATH materials is how accessible and affordable they are for educators. eMATH materials are inexpensive for schools to purchase or for an individual teacher to buy as a supplement, which is part of the appeal. In fact, all of the lessons, homework sets, and videos are available to download for free online. Smith Middle School purchases yearly paid memberships for the Algebra I teachers, so they can also access the answer keys, assessments and more, which Scott says has been beneficial.
The eMATH materials are also easy for educators to implement. Scott appreciates how clearly the lessons are laid out and the way they are aligned to the learning standards. He says that this helps ensure that he is addressing all of the standards.
eMATH Offers Connection
Kirk Weiler, who provides all of the instruction on the eMATH videos, has become a celebrity among the students, according to Scott. For the students, Scott says that it feels like Kirk is their math teacher and they can ask him questions, which has created a sense of community.
Scott feels like he’s also a part of the eMATH community. He has appreciated that Kirk has been available to answer questions about lessons and has responded personally to emails. Scott also enjoys engaging with eMATH on social media and feels more of a connection to eMATH than other education publishers.
The kids like [Kirk’s] videos. They joke about the things he does. He’s that goofy math teacher, but he backs it up with quality. It’s all well-thought-out.Scott Sirota, Math Teacher & Instructional Coach