Anne Austin has been teaching for 27 years, mainly in the upper primary grades, so we were keen for her to share her experiences with Mathletics as a freshly minted Lead Educator.
“My daughter was struggling with Maths in year three and my husband heard about Mathletics on the radio. I signed her up and she went from almost failing to achieve an ‘A’ in maths for the rest of her primary school education and great results in high school as well. I have now been using Mathletics for nine years, firstly as a parent and then with my classes.”
Anne states that she uses Mathletics in her classroom because it allows her to differentiate and ensure that every student has success in maths. Students find the online format highly motivational and they love the live aspect.
“Students can take charge of their learning and become very independent. Even the students who struggle in maths improve because of the differentiation and being able to click on the task instructions and hearing the task rather than having to guess because they cannot read. This has been particularly useful when encouraging some of the younger grades in our school and our many special needs students.”
Anne is happy to share more of her her top tips with Mathletics.
- Personalisation I set courses that relate to our curriculum needs each term or five week cycle. I am able to draw tasks from the lower, middle and upper areas of the curriculum. Those who need to practice the lower concepts can stay at that level and those who are ready to move on can do the harder tasks. I often find activities that are in the lower areas that all my students need work on such as “partitioning” this year. Some students needed to do this task many times. They would not have had the opportunity to develop this important concept if I had only stuck to my year level work. The other great thing is that I can create the course at the start of a term and “hide” activities until I want the students to practice them.
- Ownership My students regularly e-mail me asking to have tasks assigned to them. We regularly discuss the weekly scores, progress towards their gold certificate and the results of their tasks. They are able to discuss their weaknesses and strengths and work on areas that they are having problems or pair up with students who have achieved the gold bars and take advantage of peer tutoring. My class has a weekly “Mathlete” award and earning points gets raffle tickets in a prize draw.
- Recognition I have increased the school usage quite considerably. I speak on parade each week and have a trophy for a class or student who have achieved that week. The criterion varies so that I have flexibility to encourage everyone not just the high flyers. When students achieve their gold certificate, I laminate it on gold card and present it on parade as well.
- Holiday Consolidation During the holidays I make a course that has many easy activities for students. This encourages revision, builds confidence and allows success including achieving the weekly certificate without any struggles. School holiday participation rose considerably during the last school holidays. It is very satisfying to have students from all grades come up to me and tell me what they have achieved in Mathletics.
- Mentoring I regularly work with other teachers and classes. I have trained my class to mentor students while I mentor their teachers at the same time. They have worked with classes of year five and six students even though they are only in year four. My class enjoy the challenge of getting other students to achieve their certificate in a session and it is very rewarding for all.
- Modelling I use the demonstration tool regularly to model using the “I Do”, “We Do” steps in maths lessons and then students feel confident to work independently at home or in our computer lab time. I use their results to set tasks that they are performing below the 85% mark and then can assist individually during lab time or in class rotations with a buddy. The offline option with iPads has been particularly helpful when our Internet speed has been slow and also encouraged home work as parents do not have to use up large amounts of their Internet time.
- Reporting I use the reports to show parents how their child is going and they appreciate having a regular report without putting more work on me. It is easy to print of a report at the end of a unit. It shows parents their strengths and weaknesses as well as how much time and effort their child is putting into their work.
- Consolidation With our crowded curriculum some children fall behind because they need longer to practice and consolidate a concept. Mathletics gives you that opportunity. When I see that a lot of children are struggling with a concept, I model and set the tasks for practice. Even though I may not be able to spend a lot of class time on revising the concept, I can set it each week until I am sure that they all understand it.
Do you think you could be a Mathletics Lead Educator? Find out about Mathletics Certification here.