[EN] 1st Grade Teacher Michele Herrmann Shares her 99math Experience with Us!
99math is an online, educational platform that offers a safe and fun space for kids to develop their math skills. Teachers host exciting math-based games, each lasting for less than 5 minutes, and students log in as players from smartphones or tablets to take each other on. Teachers can select the topic for each game and the content - all conveniently linked to school curriculums and it is automatically generated on the spot. At 99math, we know what a great tool our platform is to help learners engage with a subject notorious for its challenging ways. It’s always enthusing to hear from educators, below is the testimony of grade 1 teacher Michele Herrmann.
1. Why do you love 99math?
I love 99math because my students love 99math. In the past, we used a paper and pencil assessment to record their fluency and accuracy. We came across obstacles when timing our students for one minute such as number formation. Did they know the answer but could not remember how to form the number? - Also, many students were intimidated by the teacher timing the test or would skip around finding the ones they knew in the one-minute timing.
With 99math, they are playing a game. They do not have to worry about forming the numbers and they did not think of this as timed, it is just a game. The reports give us all the information we need lightening up the teacher load of grading each paper.
Also, our students like competing against each other and other classes. Since we have 14 of each grade level, we competed with the class across the hall, upstairs/downstairs, or even differentiated the classroom and played several games assigned the level which would best meet that group. We even did a grade level competition where each class played and nominated their top 5 students and they competed against all of their grade level.
Then we moved on and started competing against other classrooms. We started with my daughter’s class in Philadelphia, about an hour and a half away and realized they had no idea that Philadelphia was in Pennsylvania and some didn’t know we were in Pennsylvania. So we began competing against classrooms across the USA and showing students on a map where that classroom was.
This year, I have made a map where I can put push pins in showing the cities we are competing. Maybe even make it red if we lose and blue if we win. Hmmm! We will start with the United States and then move on to the world map.
2. How do your students describe it?
Our students love 99math and only think of it as a game. They love trying to beat their own score each time.
We all know that children jump at the chance to play games, and when a healthy competitive element is thrown into the mix you get some serious concentration – music to every teacher’s ears! Kids enjoy playing against peers for the top slot on the leader board, which gets updated after each game. Michelle shared that her students “love the gaming atmosphere” when using 99math and “trying to beat their own score each time”. Children who are motivated and even competing against themselves to improve at math? Result! When students are immersed in the game itself, they can more easily interact with the academic content without feeling overwhelmed by the idea of it being ‘tricky math’. Instead, it gives them and fun entry point.
3. How do you use 99math?
I use 99math as a remediation tool to improve students’ fluency and accuracy with addition and subtraction. I had planned on using 99math in place of our monthly paper-pencil assessment and record the results but that was in March and our schools closed. Thankfully, we were able to continue from distance being that students were home and this was the first time parents were seeing 99math! – We received great support and feedback from their parents too!
Aside from learners diving into math problems without a second thought, teachers benefit from 99math when it comes to assessment too. Michele reflected that when using traditional methods to record her students’ fluency and accuracy in math, they ran into some obstacles – “Did they know the answer but could not remember how to form the number? Also, many students were intimidated by the teacher timing the test or would skip around finding the ones they knew in the one-minute timing.” The gaming dynamic unblocked these issues to give a more accurate reflection of students’ abilities and Michele noted that “the reports [sent after each game] give us all the information we need lightening up the teacher load of grading each paper.” This live data frees up teacher time and quickly identifies individual strengths and areas for improvement, allowing classroom differentiation with mini-games across levels.
4. Why would you recommend 99math to other teachers?
I would recommend 99math because students love the gaming atmosphere. That is what they are used to. If you mix it up by competing with other classrooms within your school and beyond, you can keep students interested and motivated. Also teachers have live data and can differentiate their classroom very easily.
Michele also used 99math to mix it up, keeping students interested and motivated. Michele saw the value of variety as well as expanding the games. It’s so valuable for kids to recognize themselves as part of something bigger and see that other children are learning the same thing too. Plus, what a fun way to start piecing together the geography of cities, states and even other countries! Michele shows us that the sky’s the limit; her class will start with the United States and then move on to the world map. It’s easy to join the global 99maths community and transform a daunting subject into an approachable one. Your students will love this creative learning experience!