Tiffany Ward, Canberra achieves Mathletics Lead Educator Certification

Ward TiffanyMy name is Tiffany Ward and I have been in the teaching profession for 4 ½ years. The Mathletics Lead Educator Program has provided me with a chance to implement, deliver and evaluate a school wide action plan. I currently teach a Year 5 enrichment class which is a part of the Gifted and Talented Education Program at Amaroo School, ACT. Mathletics is one of the leading online mathematics programs available which supports student learning. I consistently use Mathletics in the classroom as it is not only fully aligned to the Australian Curriculum but also gives students the opportunities to develop mathematical skills and mental computation strategies. Mathletics is a user-friendly, student-directed approach to learning.

As an educator, I believe it is essential to teach students a love of life-long learning as well as the 21st century skills of problem solving, communication, personal and social online responsibilities as well as tools for working with information and communication technology and information literacy.

Using Mathletics in my classroom enables students to interact with their learning. Not only this, but it allows me to plan lessons based on the needs of the students. Dylan Wiliam (2011)1 states that the attention to the use of assessment to inform instruction, particularly at the classroom level, in many cases effectively doubles the speed of student learning. Using the results and reports produced by Mathletics, I am able to analyse activities and assessments completed by the students to inform my teaching and the students learning. I am able to differentiate their learning based on their strengths and weaknesses. Wiliam goes on to say that we must be ‘finding out where learners are in their learning, finding out where they are going, and finding out how to get there’. I believe Mathletics allows us this opportunity and supports teaching in differentiating the learning of all students.

As a part of Amaroo School’s Mathletics action plan, we have incorporated Mathletics into our homework from Kindergarten to Year 8 to promote the use of Mathletics at home. Not only this, but I have begun to celebrate the students successes in the school community by including fortnightly newsletter blogs as well as updates on both our schools Facebook (Amaroo School) and twitter (@AmarooSchool) accounts. These updates have reached approximately 600 members of our school community and the Gungahlin area. We also celebrate our students by presenting them with their earned certificates during sector assemblies. This recognition supports student engagement within our school and promotes the positive use of Mathletics as an educational tool.

With students completing set homework tasks at home and collaboratively at school during Maths rotations, I am consistently able to see student results and adjust my teaching based on this formative assessment tool. As we head into Term 4, we will be using the assessment function through Mathletics to inform our teaching and develop plans to support individual student needs.

Learning is the main purpose of Amaroo School for both students and teachers. As such we have embedded Professional Learning Communities within our school and support the ideas of Richard and Rebecca DuFour’s model which supports ensuring students learn, focussing on their results and a culture of collaboration. I believe that Mathletics fully supports these ideas and aligns with the beliefs of student centred learning, results-orientated feedback and developing collaboration through shared teaching sequences, Mathletics Live and working together during rotation based activities.

1Wiliam, Dylan (2011) Embedded Formative Assessment, National Education Service