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Transcript of Mathletics
Enhancing Your Math Class with Mathletics
by Steven Gabrys
How it all Began
Two years ago the Alberta Conference Department of Education signed a contract with Mathletics as an added resource to help build the mathematics skills in the students across our Alberta schools.
Little did I know that this was going to take me on an incredible journey over the next two years that eventually led me to this presentation today on this cruise ship.
I had barely become familiar with the program when I had my students log in for their first time.
I find with many things that my students can help me learn a lot about something and then show me what they've learned. You don't have to become a master at everything before you let them try it.
We log-in and learn together.
Mathletics brought excitement and enjoyment to our math class right away.
The first thing my students were drawn to was the "Live Mathletics". They loved competing with other students "live" in other places in the world as well against each other in the classroom.
The Competitive Ones
Mathletics has a very powerful element built right into the website called the "Mathletics Hall of Fame".
It's a daily and weekly National and Global competition of Mathletics points. It's truly amazing what a bit of friendly competition and National, school or personal pride will do to motivate a student.
There are two different forms of recognition in the Mathletics Hall of Fame
1) Individual Scores are talled in a daily 24hour competition. These tallies are ranked in a National competition displaying the top 100 Canadian scores as well as the top 100 scores in the world.
2) There is a class average competition in a weekly competition. These scores are also ranked in a National competition displaying the top 50 Classes in Canada as well as the top 50 classes in the world.
Mathletics does very well to motivate a student in another form. Each student earn points for every correct answer they get doing their math.
If a student achieves a score of 1000 points or more within a week, they will receive a certificate.
These certificates are nicely organized and displayed in the "My Awards" section of their account.
My students are not the only ones who are competitive.....ever since one of my students made the Mathletics Hall of Fame I was already thinking of a way to give more of my students an opportunity to make the top 100 in the World.
That is when I thought of a "Mathletics Marathon."
I booked the computer lab for the entire afternoon on one day and the entire morning the next. Because the 24 hour contest began at noon and ended at noon the next day for us.
I wasn't sure if my students would be able to work this long....just on math.
I set up some personal goals for the students to achieve. Each of these goals (what I had calculated) would be pretty hard to achieve.
I projected the Hall of Fame to display any students who began to climb the rankings and then put out a few prizes to help celebrate each achievement.
I was not prepared for the results of this activity......
23 of my 27 students made the top 100 in the world. Every student made the top 100 in Canada. Not only that, but we took the top 10 places in the World. We made the Hall of Fame rankings for the world look like we were viewing the Canada rankings!
This also resulted in the grade 5 & 6's taking the top two places in the top 50 classes ranking as well.
With these incredible results, our scores were
noticed by our Marketing Manager from the 3P Learning
company for Mathletics in Canada.
"What has been going on in your neck of the woods?"
I ended up sharing some of the ideas I've been doing at CHCS to motive our students, including this Marathon.
I'd like to share how Mathletics works in my classroom as well as a few ideas how I motivate students and differentiate Math instruction.
1) I Use Mathletics as Part of my Lesson
The entire curriculum that I need to teach is organized as 10 question activities all categorized by topics. I have continued to use my previous math program, Mathletics has just been a perfect additional resource.
Some lessons I just like the way it's set up in Mathletics and I send them to Mathletics as their "assignment".
A typical Math lesson procedure will be like this:
- What is a Multiple?
(Instruction part of lesson)
- Snowball Multiples
(Guided instruction activity to assess students)
- Unit 3 Lesson 3 "Finding Common Multiples"
(Math lesson from their workbook.)
- Mathletics "Multiples"
(Activity in Mathletics used to reinforce the concept being learned.)
2) I Love to Celebrate Student Achievements
I have simple and fun little rituals to congratulate and recognize student achievements.
Weekly Mathletics Certificate Presentation
Edmodo Badges to recognize and display students who top the Hall of Fame.
I created an "All Gold Bars" medal for awards day.
Here's What Benefits I Found with Mathletics:
Students showed an increased interest and effort in their work.
Math class was much more productive. Normally as other students finish their work, I used to have only math games or additional activities that were not too beneficial.
Less disruptive behavior, everyone always has something to work on....the entire class period.
I have much more time to focus on the students who needed extra help. When the majority of the class finishes and hands in their workbook assignment, they are focused on Mathletics while I can focus on the 3 or 4 students who need extra attention.
Mathletics generates excellent reports and helps to inform my teaching.
We became the "April Mathletics Master Class" and our story was featured on the 3P Learning Blog.
3) Mathletics Makes it Easy to Differentiate Instruction
Mathletics allows you to pick whatever level of curriculum you want for each of your students. I have been able to put a couple of students who struggle at grade level into a lower level that allows them to be successful.
The best part of this differentiation is it still allows students who struggle to put the work in and achieve weekly certificates and all gold bars achievements.
Mathletics has truly helped challenge and push my gifted students. I think as teachers we are all forced to spend more time and attention on the students who need more help. I have then had trouble challenging my gifted students, but with Mathletics, I don't have this problem anymore.
4) I Use the Power of Friendly Competition
Our Grade 8 teacher, Jai Dubyna, decided to do a similar "Mathletics Marathon" with the Jr. High this past school year. She added an element that is very powerful....the competition of "Boys vs. Girls"
I learned from the "Mathletics Hall of Fame" and decided to create something for our own school. Not only to celebrate and display achievement, but to also push and challenge each student in our school. I created our own "CHCS Mathletics Hall of Fame".
Hall of Fame
Mathlete of the Week
I noticed that on the Mathletics website there is a "Mathlete of the Week". This is generated every week by randomly selecting any Mathletics user who has scored 1000 points or more that week. Which really just means for one of your students to be the "Mathlete of the Week", they would have to win the lottery.
So I decided to make my own "Mathlete of the Week" and feature them once a week on our own "CHCS Mathletics Hall of Fame.
I also decided to recognize the student who has done the most math that week (scored the most points). Also, I show the "runner-up", which allows me to recognize twice as many students throughout the school year for this category.
It brings a lot of personal pride and helps to motivate students to excel when you can recognize them publicly for their hard work.
It is worth it to see their success and joy and desire to do math, especially when it's just so easy to do this.
Top Gold Bars/Medals
The CHCS Mathletics Hall of Fame bulletin board was not big enough to recognize all of the achievements of my students....
....but that's okay because there is a lot of space on the wall next to the bulletin board.
On the wall I then like to feature two great accomplishments.
1) The All Gold Bar/Medal achievement
2) Hall of Fame Achievement Award
Hall of Fame
The Hall of Fame Achievement Award is another certificate provided by Mathletics. It recognizes a student who tops the 100 spots in the World in points.
When a student does this, I print off this certificate, along with a screen shot of their results, and post them on the wall in our hallway next to our own Hall of Fame.
March Madness Competition
This past March the Mathletics team in Canada put on a competition involving over 380 schools across the country.
We signed up to participate and decided to put in some extra Mathletics time during the first week of March.
I guess a bit of my own "competitive spirit" came out during this competition and I really hyped it up with the students. I had a "boys vs. girls" competition all week in my classroom with my gr.5 & 6's as well I opened up a "Gold Bars Store" in the office with Gold Bars as price tags on all the items.
Taking the number 1 spot in Canada after the first week in March really unified our school.
What surprised me the most about this competition was even after the week that we focused on only Mathletics at school, the students themselves kept doing it on their own time and took another 1st Place finish.
With these three 1st place finishes CHCS ended up with 3 grand prizes and a visit from our Implementation Manager, Adam Konstanuick.
We ended up winning 2 iPad Mini's and a Mathletics trophy.
We did a big draw and gave the two iPad Mini's to a couple of students who participated in the contest.
World Education Games - Student Ambassador
Our Mathletics awards ceremony went very well at CHCS. Adam Konstanuick was quite impressed at the work we have done on Mathletics and was truly moved by the positive spirit of the students and their excitement to learn.
This led to a phone call a month later which Adam and the Mathletics team in Canada offered to our school and top Mathletics user the role of Student Ambassador for the upcoming World Education Games.
....So I'm very proud to announce that one of my students, Alexandria Buttler, has been selected as one of the five Student Ambassadors across Canada to promote as well as be featured in the upcoming World Education Games.
So much excitement and achievements has happened over the past couple of years...all thanks to the use of Mathletics.