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In EdSurge Case Studies, educators share their real-life experiences with edtech in their schools and classrooms.
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4th Grade Math Teacher, Beecher Hills Elementary School, Georgia
1:1 devices, Blended learning classroom, Special education students, and Low income population

[NOTE: I just participated in a case with Mentoring Minds and am copying portions of my published case study into this form, which is why it is in 3rd person.]

“In my class, there is a mix of every level you can imagine,” explains Azuree Walker of Beecher Hills Elementary in Atlanta, Georgia. As an inclusion classroom teacher, the challenge of adequately addressing student needs on all academic levels in one classroom is ongoing. Almost all students at Beecher Hills are on a free/reduced lunch program. They learn Spanish as a second language and participate in a daily social and emotional learning curriculum called Second Step.

With support from Principal Crystal Jones and Academic Coach Neal Christian, Ms. Walker utilized Total Motivation Math as her classroom’s primary math resource during the 2016–2017 school year. Mr. Christian is an advocate for Total Motivation Math because of its close alignment to the standards and its rigor, along with the online component and emphasis on critical thinking.

Product Use: The implementation of Total Motivation Math’ closely follows the “gradual release” of students from guided to independent practice. Ms. Walker begins each week choosing from a variety of Instructional Activities provided in the Teacher Edition (TE) to “beef up the standard,” she explains.

By mid-week she moves to the Partner Practice activity in the Student Edition (SE) to challenge students. At this point, Ms. Walker says, “I know who has it and who doesn’t. . . . It gives me a better gauge for how the lesson is going,” she explains. Students then transition from print to online for Independent Practice. The engaging content keeps students motivated to make progress.

By end of week, students complete the unit’s Assessment online, which allows them to check their understanding and mastery of the standard while practicing in the same format as the Georgia Milestones Assessment. Ms. Walker uses the Assessment to identify each student’s level of knowledge.

What Worked and What Didn't: After using Total Motivation Math three to four hours a week during the 2016–2017 school year, Ms. Walker’s class benchmark scores improved by 106 points from August to April and 100 percent of the general education students passed the Georgia Milestones Assessment.

In the past, Ms. Walker’s students told her they don’t like math, but since using Total Motivation Math, students “are no longer resistant to math. “Just getting them to be excited about math is an ‘a-ha’ moment for me,” she says. Mr. Christian has noticed Ms. Walker’s growing confidence. “If teachers grow, we know students will grow,” he says. “I’ve watched her students growing. They’re really improving. The only thing that changed was her instructional practice . . . using Total Motivation Math every day.”

Total Motivation Math’s approach to critical thinking makes success achievable for a wider range of her students. Ms. Walker knows she’s creating lifelong learners and helping them to be better prepared for fifth grade. While her students come to fourth grade “very dependent,” with the help of Total Motivation Math, she’s seeing more of them become “more independent, critical thinkers because it pushes them” toward deeper levels of thinking.

Age Group: Elementary school students

Oct 25, 2017 Provide Feedback
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