This review comes from an independent source
A Review of Camelot Learning Math Intervention
Camelot Learning Math Intervention introduces itself by sharing its inspiration-the mythology and magic of King Arthur’s court. Clearly evident within the program are the discipline and ideals set forth in this famous kingdom. This program reshapes the idea of ancient quests for fairness into journeys to gain knowledge. The Camelot Program is ideally suited for math intervention in any setting: summer school, pull-out sessions during the school day, 21st CCLC programs, RTI, and other educational support structures embedded into students’ lives, both inside and outside of the traditional classroom setting. For the following evaluation, we analyzed the Fractions and Decimals theme of Camelot Learning’s Math Intervention curriculum.
The Camelot Program includes one set of resources for the teacher and a separate set of resources for each student enrolled in the program. The Teacher Resources include a Teacher Guide, Student Workbook, and Appendix, all encased with student flashcards in a 3-inch binder. The spiral bound Teacher Guide, which is 1 inch thick with a laminated cover, contains a table of contents, program overview, all the lessons teachers will use throughout the program, and a glossary of all math terms used within each lesson. A bonus inclusion in the Guide are several games that are effective math teaching strategies which transfer easily to the classroom, and can be used for extension of lessons.Additionally, the teacher resources feature a bag (which, conveniently, is really a backpack). This bag includes all of the manipulatives, computation devices, etc. used throughout the lessons. The Appendix features cut-away cards to be used in many of the Camelot Learning games.
The Student Resources include a bag (backpack) for each student, inside of which are the same Student Workbook and Appendix, plus additional manipulatives, computation devices, cards and other items used within the lessons of the program. The consumable Student Workbook-¾-inch thick, laminate-covered and spiral bound-is far sturdier and much more attractive than a typical paper-bound, consumable notebook. It even includes on its first page a personal growth chart where students graph the successes of each lesson’s warm-up. Of course, the workbook also serves as a reminder, when needed over time, of specific concepts that are embedded in each lesson, as well as game boards for practicing the skills taught.
The Camelot Learning Program’s lessons are innovative, creative, and fun. They incorporate multiple learning styles, competition, game-playing, and best practices that rely on the latest in classroom-tested and research-based teacher methodology. Still, we found implementation of these lesson plans to be remarkably easy and user friendly for two primary reasons: 1) all of materials necessary for the lessons are provided (including traditional and non-traditional classroom items), and 2) the lesson plans are outlined in the Teacher Guide in a very clear and attractive manner with a simple, standard format to follow. For each lesson, the Teacher Guide opens with the program overview, followed by the materials list, a sampling of mathematics games, and a clearly outlined chart that matches the skill indicators with the lessons included in the Camelot Program.
Each lesson (there are forty lessons included in each theme, Number Friends, Number Sense, Computation, Fractions and Decimals and Geometry and Measurement) builds upon the one it follows to create a logical progression of math skills that will strengthen the learners’ core understanding of first basic and then increasingly difficult concepts. The directions are explicit, starting with the objective, which is stated in question format, followed by a Learning Quest (to follow the Camelot theme). Next, the lesson summary explains the skill, the time and materials required, and the vocabulary used within that lesson. The lessons are organized in specific components, beginning with the Warm-up and Introduction. The next component is “Let’s Learn Something New” in odd numbered lessons,and “Let’s Review” in even numbered lessons, followed by “Let’s Practice,” always ending with a vocabulary segment and a conclusion. This standard format repeated throughout all 40 lessons makes the program easy to implement. It also gives the teacher a clear understanding of the goals of each lesson and the purposes for each component. Each section gives clear lesson delivery instructions to guarantee that the lesson will be delivered expertly by even the most novice teacher, while allowing for modifications for the more experienced educators.
Finally, in every other lesson (all of the even-numbered lessons from 2 – 40 in the Fractions and Decimals program), the conclusion consists of an “It’s Tournament Time!” segment. The class is divided into two teams, each gets a math question, and a game is played where computations are made, reported to the group, evaluated by the opposing team, and points are awarded for both teams for correct computation and evaluation. The extraordinary thing about this component is that it engages students on multiple levels. Students are given the opportunity to:
- thrive in a competitive atmosphere with rewards that pique learners’ interests;
- develop leadership skills (each team has to choose a leader for each “Tournament Time”);
- practice teamwork-peers must trust their team members, work together under their leaders’ direction, and communicate their solutions correctly;
- evaluate the team members’ conclusions (which embeds analysis into the game);
- justify answers in written format in their workbook, which fosters metacognition and prepares students to justify answers in BCR format in much the same way that they would for elementary and middle school standardized tests; and
- track their own progress-the instructor logs the results of all students’ performance in the “Tournament Time” game on a “Tournament Time Scorecard” (provided in the Teacher Resources binder).
By applying so many various modalities in a user-friendly and highly professional format, the Camelot Learning Program has proven to be an invaluable resource in raising student achievement. Educational research has shown that when students are engaged, held accountable, and buy into their own learning, their academic success rates are higher. Camelot Learning is specifically designed to create exactly those conditions for success in every young learner fortunate enough to experience the memorable journey that Camelot provides.
The convenience of reinforcing identified students through Camelot Learning Math Intervention became an effortless process due to the essential alignment to the common core standards, and teaching strategies.
Carolyn L. Smith, Principal
The Empowerment Academy Charter School