Please visit the RightStart Mathematics website here:
RightStart Mathematics uses the AL Abacus to provide
a visual, auditory, and kinesthetic experience. The
elementary and intermediate program lessons guide the
teacher day-by-day and year-by-year, helping children
understand, apply, and enjoy mathematics while surpassing
The AL Abacus is grouped in fives and tens for quick
recognition of quantities. Children develop visual
strategies as they use this ma nipulative. The back
side of the AL Abacus teaches place value to the thousands.
Practice is provided with math card games, minimizing
review worksheets and stressful flash cards, presenting
a variety of repetition, and creating hours of fun
learning math facts and concepts. Understanding and
problem solving are emphasized throughout the curriculum.
RightStart Mathematics follows the NCTM guidelines
and incorporates most state math standards. The website
has downloads available for each grade with the Objectives,
the Table of Contents, and sample lessons. NCTM also
has an electronic
abacus available for you to explore.
We recognize each classroom and school situation is
unique. If you would like to discuss your specific
needs, please contact Nancy or Kathleen at 866-354-9003
or email at Nancy@ALabacus.com or Kathleen@ALabacus.com .
Professional development is also available.
Explore our wealth of information found on our website .
Thank you for giving your children a RightStart in
The founder of RightStart Mathematics., Dr. Joan A.
Cotter holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering
from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an AMI Montessori
diploma for ages 3-6, a master's degree in curriculum
and instruction from College of St. Thomas, Minnesota,
(now University of St. Thomas) and an earned Ph.D.
in mathematics education from the University of Minnesota.
Joan worked as an engineer at Univac (now Unisys),
resigning when her children were born. She taught her
three children at home before and after school and
during summer vacations. To help them learn their arithmetic,
she devised card games that were published in her first
book, Math Card Games: 300 Games for Learning and Enjoying
After starting a Montessori preschool, Joan taught
in several Montessori schools and incorporated Suzuki
violin and piano. She also taught mathematics in grades
6-8 and worked with children with learning disabilities.
Dr. Cotter designed the double-sided AL Abacus and
wrote RightStart Mathematics, a comprehensive elementary
mathematics program that incorporates visualization,
the AL Abacus, and math card games. The RightStart
curriculum is an outgrowth of her doctoral research.
Having recently completed RightStart Geometric Approach
for middle school, she currently conducts workshops
and presents at conferences nationally and internationally.
Joan and her husband, Al, have three adult children
and four grandchildren. Dr. Joan A. Cotter can be reached
by email at JoanCotter@ALabacus.com .