For struggling students to grasp math in any form, they need a tie-in to the world around them. Though this sounds simple enough, it really isn't addressed much in textbooks and teachers are overwhelmed trying to prep kids for high stakes tests. There is a need to demonstrate with real world references students can relate to how algebra, geometry, and calculus do have out-of-class applications.
An example of this that I remember from my high school geometry class years ago was how knowing the rules for AREA would help me figure out how the cost in painting a wall in my bedroom. I would figure out the area of a wall and then compute the area of the window in that wall. I would then subtract the area of the window from the area of the one wall. Then I would be able to figure how more accurately how much paint I would need to buy for that space. This way I would not buy more paint than what I needed. That was a real world application of LENGTH X WIDTH=AREA. Take the abstract and tie it to the concrete topics and students will remember the material. Fail to do that and they won't. Let your students share the same enthusiasm about math that you have--that same zest that led you into becoming a math teacher:)
MATH IN THE REAL WORLD!
Notice in this video how the teacher ties parabolas to throwing a basketball into a hoop. Kids are encouraged to guess the height of the parabola needed to make the basket. Taking real world applications for things students are familiar with to use in math class leads to better comprehension of those complex topics AND kids are having fun! Try some similar multi-media applications in your class and see student interest sky rocket.
If you have any other resources in this area, please share them. Also, I have added GOOGLE+ to the blog as a way to open up a channel of communication among the educators on the site. I also plan on uploading some videos in the next two months on my experiences in coaching math teachers. Should be fun:)
ELL TEACHER PROS