Product or Book Review: STAMS- Strategies to Achieve Mathematics Success

Mar 7, 2012 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

Recently, I was asked to review something referred to as STAMS (Strategies to Achieve Mathematics Success ). I was pleasantly surprised. This series is put out by Curriculum Associates and I reviewed Level A, B and C…each of which came with a Teacher’s Guide.

Apparently, there are 8 Books, in alphabetical order for grades 1 through 8. I have reviewed Levels A, B and C and will discuss these three grade levels. There apparently is some on-line training at I did not visit this web site however. There is also an assessment program called CAMS ( Comprehensive Assessment of Mathematics Strategies) but I did not review this part of the package.

Let me review some of the features of this CAMS and STAMS program- there apparently is an emphasis on data driven instruction with your good old pre- and post test and benchmarks. They see errors as an “opportunity for learning “ and indicate that there are “highly scaffolded lessons with a “ gradual release of responsibility” and lastly “ embedded professional development in terms of the teachers guide “. The texts refer to “ data driven instruction “ and comprehensive instruction with suggested pacing charts. And the CAMS AND STAMS is trying to address Common Core State Standards. There are some lesson features for differentiated instruction, and related STAMS lessons for remediation (this is one of my own issues- if pupils are monitored consistently, reliably, accurately and validly, there should not be a real need for remediation- review perhaps, but not necessarily remediation- except in the rare case of a transfer student.

I was impressed that they include vocabulary terms as this is often a stumbling block for some students- they simply do not have a good grasp of the vocabulary words used in math. Further they supply some math background, which in many cases is sorely needed. I also was impressed that they have the word “metacognition” in term to facilitate and expedite problem solving skills. And, they have a section on “ family involvement “ which is becoming more and more critical in this day and age of inclusion and differentiated instruction.

In perusing Book A, I found the following domains addressed- Understanding Addition and Subtraction, Fact Families, Make Tens to Add and Subtract, Solve Word Problems, Add Three Numbers, Count to 120, Place Value, Compare Numbers, Add and Subtract Ten, Add 2 digit Numbers, Subtract Ten, Shapes, Equal Parts and lastly length , time and data. Very ambitious schedule for first grade students !

There are some icons integrated into the text books- Connect, Explore, Think, Solve, Check, Think it Through. And subtly integrated into the book is a small part called “Prepare for a Test”

In this program is also a “Classroom Math Intervention Program” with Interactive White Board Lessons” for teachers of students grades 3-8, who have access to this technology. The “assessment, instruction and practice” theme apparently runs through this K-8. While not in full color, there are some pages that are nicely done in shades of red.

For teachers of math, who are looking for a good comprehensive math program for grades 1-8, this is certainly a viable alternative to various other programs out there. With the increasing emphasis on math, and the use of calculators and the pending Common Core Standards, teachers need to have a plethora of tools at their disposal.

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