Mathletics staff meeting.

Mathletics  Meeting Рthoughts. 5.10.2012

In my view the secret of being good at Maths is ‘believing you are good at it, and enjoying it!’

Mathletics has developed a curriculum for many countries and has recently done a further update to our curriculum – England 2013. Although based in Melbourne, Australia, they aim to provide content which aligns to our Maths Framework. There are occasions where I have looked at the content and thought, ‘I don’t teach that in Year 2,’ but what I have found is that when the children are¬† trained to use the ‘Help’ button, they will discover the answer for themselves and this feeling of being able to go even beyond what they have learned in class boosts their confidence even further.

Occasionally the wording may differ from our teaching, but again, it doesn’t phase the children, and in terms of Maths learning it opens them to the understanding that Maths can, and is worded and presented in endlessly different ways and contexts.

Mathletics must be set at the correct level for the pupils, and the teacher interface makes it easy to set up several groups with in the class, all working at different levels. The children also need to know that they can select something easier, and something harder. One of the great features of Mathletics is that although children may be playing at different levels the interface looks the same, it is not immediately obvious to the pupils that they are playing at different levels – everyone is motivated to succeed, but improving their own personal best.

Use Mathletics in lessons to model the games which support the children’s learning, or Live Mathletics for quick recall practise in starters. The Maths dictionary and concept search are fantastic tools – model their use and encourage children to access them.

Along side a team working on the Maths content in Melbourne, is an equally hard-working team working on the design and interface of the game. Every element that game designers use to hook children in, they employ in the design of Mathletics. The children can design their own screens – walk along a row of children playing Mathletics and their screens and avatars will tell you a lot about their personalities. Children earn points for weekly certificates, credits to buy things for their avatar and get instant feedback on their work. The Top Pupil and Class feature also helps motivate them to gain high scores, rather than the 1000 points needed to achieve a certificate.

Assign tasks to support the learning in class, or as an assessment at the end of a block. But don’t always give them assigned work – children need to be able to go on and practise what they want to do. In time when they have lots of sparkling ‘Perfect’ bars – they will want to get a perfect on the topics they have found harder – and they will be motivated to do it.

Finally to get the best impact – they need positive feedback from their teacher, and their parents. Encourage the class to clap and cheer when a certificate is achieved, celebrate and award the certificates, and make a huge fuss of the Gold Awards. Gold Awards are the result of 20 weeks of practise – and that’s when Mathletics really starts to have an impact – when children are playing regularly for a prolonged period of time.

Human nature is such that we all blossom with praise – invest your time noticing and praising pupils for their work.

Let the pupils know that you too, LOVE MATHLETICS! Get excited about it with them!

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