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Math Hall and Ball provides math enrichment, acceleration

Tarek Grantham and Jessica Luckey

May 1, 2017

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Origins of Math Hall and Ball

Math Hall and Ball

Math Hall and Ball was conceptualized by Tarek Grantham, professor in the department of educational psychology, when he worked as a middle school teacher and mentor program sponsor. His concern about the under-representation of African American students in advanced programs, particularly males in advanced foreign language and math classes, inspired him to create a Study Hall and Ball activity as part of the Kappa League mentoring program he directed.

A primary goal of the Study Hall and Ball activity was to promote high levels of achievement and academic engagement in culturally relevant ways. Dr. Grantham recruited African American male college students to provide academic tutoring for middle school African American males for one hour (study hall) and for the second hour, they played basketball. The success of Study Hall and Ball inspired the creation and piloting of Math Hall and Ball program at H.B. Stroud Elementary School in the Clarke County School District.

Math Hall and Ball Partnership and Goals

Math Hall and Ball was formed as a component of University-School Partnerships for Achievement, Rigor, and Creativity Project (U-SPARC), a partnership with Stroud Elementary School that is co-directed by Grantham and Meg Hines, faculty in the department of educational psychology. Grantham collaborated with administrators, teachers and parents to support school improvement goals at Stroud and to create a space where university faculty and students can work together and serve as math coaches to promote math talent development. MHB began in Spring 2015 with the goals to:

    1. increase students' motivation to learn and achieve in math
    1. cultivate positive bonds among students who can support each other's positive math scholar identity
    1. increase students' self-awareness of math abilities and their desire to engage in rigorous math experiences.

Math Hall and Ball in Action

MHB began with 5th grade boys, and has now expanded to 4th and 5th grade boys and girls. Stroud classroom teachers use a Math Traits, Aptitudes, and Behaviors referral tool (Grantham, 2016) to help Math Hall and Ball coaches identify students for the program who demonstrate high potential in mathematics. In addition, students' grades are taken into account along with their ability to work independently and to receive constructive feedback.

Math Hall and Ball involves a variety of curricular resources to enrich and accelerate students in math. Math Hall and Ball participants meet during extended learning time and after school, and they use online tools—such as IXL, Khan Academy, and the Georgia Virtual School, to practice on-grade level skills, to participate in mini-math lessons, and to engage in math competitions focusing on mastery, speed and accuracy. They also engage in enrichment lessons and practice with above grade level math concepts, which constitute the acceleration portion of the program. After 45-60 minutes of math enrichment and acceleration in the computer lab, Math Hall and Ball participants transition to the gymnasium where they engage in basketball drills and hone their team building skills through scrimmages and other fun basketball activities.

References: Grantham, T.C. (2016). Stroud Pilot Math Traits, Aptitudes, and Behaviors (TABs) Descriptions for Math Enrichment & Acceleration Student Referral Form (Abbreviated). Torrance Center for Creativity and Talent Development. University of Georgia, Athens, GA.