East Hartford Public Schools have adopted Illustrative Mathematics as our core mathematics curriculum in grades K-8. Illustrative Mathematics is a problem-based curriculum in which students spend most of their class time working on carefully crafted and sequenced problems. Teachers help students understand the problems, ask questions to push their thinking, and orchestrate discussions to be sure that the mathematical takeaways are clear. Students frequently collaborate with their classmates, listen to each other’s ideas, justify their thinking, and critique the reasoning of others.

Current research says that students need to be able to think flexibly in order to use mathematical skills in their lives (and also on the types of tests they will encounter throughout their schooling). Through Illustrative Mathematics, learners gain a rich and lasting understanding of mathematical concepts and procedures, along with the skills and confidence to apply this knowledge to new situations.

What can my student do to be successful?

The faculty and staff of East Hartford Public Schools are excited to support your student in their journey toward knowing, using, and enjoying mathematics. Learning how to learn in a problem-based classroom can be a challenge for students at first. Over time, students gain independence as learners when they share their rough drafts of ideas, compare their existing ideas to new things they are learning, and revise their thinking.

Here are some ideas for encouraging your student:

  • If you’re not sure how to get started on a problem, that’s okay! What can you try? Could you draw a picture or diagram? Could you make a guess? Could you describe an answer that’s definitely wrong?
  • If you’re feeling stuck, write down what you notice and what you wonder, or a question you have, and then share that when it’s time to work with others or discuss.
  • Your job when working on problems in this class is to come up with ideas and share them. You don’t have to be right or confident at first, but sharing your thinking will help everyone learn. If that feels hard or scary, it’s okay to say, “This is just an idea…” or “I’m not really sure but I think…”
  • Whether you’re feeling stuck or feeling confident with the material, listen to your classmates and ask them about their ideas. One way that learning happens is by comparing your ideas to other people’s ideas.

How can I learn more?

Below are family support documents for each grade level. Within each document, you will find links to videos and PDFs that explain the mathematics your student will be working on in each unit, how it connects to what they have learned in prior grade levels, and specific steps you can take to help them at home.