SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The Bedtime Math Foundation, a New Jersey-based national nonprofit that helps kids love numbers, has partnered with the South Plainfield School District to launch ‘Fun Factor,’ a series of hands-on, standards-based math lessons that align with the kindergarten through 5th grade (K-5) elementary math curriculum. 

“For seven years we’ve overhauled how kids think about math outside of the classroom. Fun Factor is the natural evolution of that work,” said Laura Overdeck, the organization’s founder, in a prepared statement. 

Since 2012, Bedtime Math has developed content to reduce math anxiety for children and improve math performance. Fun Factor will offer a suite of hands-on activities, modeled after Bedtime Math’s popular Crazy 8s Club games and each lesson is aligned to K-5 standards to allow teachers to select the content that best serves the range of their students’ needs. 

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“By presenting math inside the classroom in a fun, hands-on way, we can stoke student engagement and serve different styles of learners,” added Overdeck. “This will help frustrated students catch up and lay the foundation for greater math achievement. We’re excited to bring these innovative math experiences to the South Plainfield School District.”

Bedtime Math will lead in-person professional development (PD) sessions to show teachers how Fun Factor taps common-sense, research-proven practices. On Nov. 5, two PD sessions – one for kindergarten through second grade and another for third through fifth grade – were held in South Plainfield and conducted by Bedtime Math and Columbia Teachers College to help K-5 teachers implement the program effectively. 

“The professional development focus was on using math manipulations, games, and stations-based learning activities during math lessons,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Noreen Lishak. 

According to the superintendent, each teacher left with a bag of materials with all the games and the manipulations that were used in the professional development; one specific activity featured a ball with different numbers on it; wherever the student’s fingers landed were the numbers they had to plug into a math equation – be it addition, subtraction, multiplication – whatever the lesson content covered.

“Teachers communicated that they felt it was ‘engaging,’” Lishak said. 

“Bedtime Math has a great collaborative team to work with. Their professional development is hands-on and provides great tools and takeaways for our elementary teachers to bring into the classroom,” added Anu Garrison, director of grants and math for the South Plainfield School District. “We’re looking forward to implementing Fun Factor and empowering our students to experience math in a whole new way.”

Bedtime Math Foundation is a nonprofit funded by private donations; for more information, visit www.bedtimemath.org.

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