You have been given extra minutes in your MATH 180 block. How will you incorporate them? Will you take the extra time to teach My/Space lessons, or give more student software time? The MATH 180 program has many different approaches to teaching math concepts to students. The software portion is just as important as the time spent on My/Space lessons. In fact, the student software teaches and support these lessons.
The MATH 180 teachers at my middle school have embraced MATH 180 student software in many ways to get the most out of minutes spent on the software, including taking advantage of badges and stars earned while working in the program, and recognition for completion of blocks.
Our middle school has 45-minute class periods. Our students are assigned a minimum of 17 minutes of software time each school day. This is accomplished through two rotating groups of students. After transitioning into groups, a timer is set for 17 minutes of work time. No matter what the group working on the My/Space lesson has accomplished in the time frame given, time is up and transition to software happens.
Each student is issued a Chromebook at the beginning of the school year. If a student is absent, they are responsible for making up the software minutes. A weekly software grade is given based on minutes completed, and is 35% of their nine week grade. Also, every Monday we review the software minutes, and any student who has 100 or more minutes the previous week is in the "100 Minute Club." The students' names are posted on the board, they are dismissed first every day and earn other class privileges.
Our students track their badges earned in the software. We all have different ways to accomplish this. The students communicate to us by clipboard, in writing, or by performing a weekly badge check. They are given a sticker for each badge they earn. Some of us hang poster boards on the wall with student names to display their stickers. We have done notebook sticker pages, but the poster board has been the most successful. It is very visual, and everyone can see their growth. Our MATH 180 classes top at 18 which makes this easier for us to keep up with.
For recognition of block completion, we have made a display for each block in the software. We use cars, balloons, and other items the students have made, or we have purchased. When a student completes a block, all class activity stops, and we celebrate! One teacher has a loud bell the students ring and another has an Florida State University horse that plays the school song. We also purchased silicone rubber bracelets in all colors with our teacher league money. Each block has a different color. Every time a student completes a block they move their car or balloon, get a bracelet, and a sweet treat.
Our walls are also covered with MATH 180 certificates for block scores and Math Inventory Winter and Spring learning gains. My belief is if the students are working in the software, they are learning. By using incentives to encourage the students to work hard, we bring pride into their accomplishments. If some healthy competition results, then that is okay too!
The teacher software is another piece of technology that is very useful. The videos provided with each topic present the math skill being taught, and these should never be skipped. The students receive instruction from the videos, student software, and teacher led instruction. While the My/Space group is watching the video, it gives the teacher a chance to check on the group in software.
In a MATH 180 program classroom, the teacher is the facilitator. The majority of the time in a MATH 180 classroom should not be spent listening to a teacher "teach." Our students learn in many different ways. Embracing the teacher software and getting the students excited about software accomplishments will enhance student growth and help fill gaps in their math progression.
Janice is a Middle School MATH 180 teacher
in Bay County, Florida. She has been a
MATH 180 classroom teacher for three years, and preceding this, served as a
Math Coach with specialized training in the MATH 180 program. The Fall of 2019 begins her 38th year as an
educator. She believes all students can
achieve Math proficiency with a growth mind-set.