I always intend on linking up with some grandiose idea, but then Tuesday comes and goes and alas, no blog post. I have a hard time blogging during the week and I am trying the whole "set your blog posts up in advance" thing. I am technically setting this up on Saturday, so I guess I am sticking to my goal!
Anyhow, our Campus Improvement Specialist was introduced to this online math program that is FREE for educators in Texas. It may be available in other states, but I can only speak for Texas. It is intended to get the kids prepared for the STAAR test. I know that is is free for grades 3-8, and Algebra 1 costs money. However, our Algebra kids are using it at the 8th grade math level since right now that have to take not only the End of Course exam AND the 8th grade STAAR test. Gotta love the Federal Government. This is totally NOT the point of this post, so let me get on with it.
I hate introducing things mid-year, because I feel like when January comes around we are finally in a groove and kids FINALLY understand my expectations. I felt like introducing this was going to throw a wrench in everything, but then I thought about this: sometimes during halftime of a football game, the coach has to make some halftime adjustments in order to win the game. That is precisely what I did the first day we arrived back in school. The kids were resistant at first, but I kept at it and I am glad that I did.
The website that we are using is called Think Through Math (or TTM for short). Basically, the kids are all given a user name and password. They take a placement test to determine what level they should start with. Based on the grade level that is selected for them ahead of time (in my case, everyone got 8th grade math since that is the test they will take). Then, based on the result of the placement test, the students are given lessons to complete in a certain order. Those above level will not have to do some of the more basic lessons like those below level students. It also give the kids a chance to "place-out" of the lesson via a pre-quiz. I think they have to score an 80% or higher on those. If they don't get that, they go through the lesson and take a post-test. They have to get 70% correct in order to "pass" that lesson.
Now, why would kids enjoy doing this? Because for every lesson completed, you get points, and the kids see who has earned the most points for that week. Who wouldn't want to be on top?? Also, you can set up a class goal. Each of my class periods are set up to receive a pizza party when they have 500,000 points total. The kids can choose to add their points to the classroom goal, or donate to a charity of their choice. For every 10,000 points donated, TTM will donate a certain dollar amount on the kid's behalf.
Can you tell that I am loving this?? Check it out!