Recently, First In Math was featured in the magazine US News & World Report. The story, reported by Allie Bidwell, focused on how educators are taking advantage of digital advances to supplement their teaching, and the positive results these methods are having for a variety of students.
Umana eighth-grade math teacher Ellen Latham meets First In Math creator Robert Sun.
Not surprisingly, games in the classroom are an important resource for educators who are, according to Bidwell, benefiting from the access to extensive data about student’s performance that these programs provide in real time.
An equally important feature of the game experience is the opportunity to create positive competition among students, classrooms and districts. One of the schools highlighted in the story, Mario Umana Academy in Boston, supplements their math education curriculum with First In Math program.
Umana’s principal, Alexandra Montes McNeil, suggests that while competition can be viewed as a positive or negative, “…right now it seems to be in this building a rallying cry for the school and an issue of school pride, where they can say that as a school we are working very hard to be number one in the state.”
For each of the three years they have used the program, Umana students have ranked among the Top Ten FIM schools nationally, and the competitive features of FIM are recognized as a motivator in supporting them to achieve their math goals.
Another reason for the student’s success is the effective coaching they receive from Ellen Latham, an eighth grade math teacher who was instrumental in bringing FIM to Umana and other schools in the Boston area. She believes that FIM helps students break through many of the barriers they encounter in the traditional curriculum by rewarding them for solving problems with speed and accuracy.
“I have always felt that kids’ basic skills are slowing them down,” explains Latham. “They’re spending too much time trying to remember what nine times six is, but their time should be spent on more complex math.” Latham often assigns FIM as a homework assignment so that students can build on their basic math skills at home and then move on to more advanced math in the classroom
Both Principal Montes McNeil and teacher Latham are pleased to share that the math scores for Umana on state tests have risen substantially, by about 20 to 22 composite performance index (CPI) points. They both agree that the continued growth from year to year indicates that FIM is not a one-time deal, but rather, an ongoing, effective program.
Students in the special education program and English language learners also reap unexpected benefits, according to Montes McNeil. “Some of our students do have such academic needs that they are not performing, and will not perform, at grade level, but yet they feel a lot of success because they can be a part of this school-wide initiative.”
First In Math creator, Robert Sun, is not surprised. "When presented in a way students relate to, mathematics can be powerful, engaging and fascinating," says Sun. "Unlike written language, we are saved the years needed to learn an extensive vocabulary. The essence of math is patterns—and using patterns to describe relationships. What's important in mathematics is not what a number means but how it can connect with other numbers. Get good at math and you will have the skills to understand how our universe works."
Click here to read the full story, How Virtual Games Can Help Struggling Students Learn as reported in US News & World Report.
Virtually every economic study of the last 30 years has reached the same conclusion—innovations in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields are the primary drivers of global growth.
STEM is at the heart of new companies, new industries, and new jobs—nearly every means of national wealth creation. Since the introduction of the 24® Game in 1988 and First In Math (FIM) in 2002, Suntex has been creating opportunities for children to recognize mathematics as the door to a gratifying future in STEM related fields.
Proficiency in the thinking processes that STEM disciplines develop can be the great equalizer for this generation. Although many young people aspire to professional sports or Hollywood stardom, STEM education can provide a more certain path to a quality life. Only one in 10 million can be a LeBron James or Lady Gaga—but anyone can use STEM skills to better their position and achieve success.
When asked how the education community can build interest in STEM disciplines, Robert Sun, creator of First In Math, is very clear. “Start early. The moment children enter elementary school, capture their interest and ignite their imagination in STEM subject areas—especially math.”
Math broadens and expands our view of the universe from the subatomic to the galactic level. Math enables a child to develop into a critical thinker in all intellectual pursuits.
Math has the advantage of being a language that describes relationships. It helps young people understand how objects are interconnected – an insight that is essential to innovation and exploration.
How do we encourage more children to develop an interest in math? Interest is a function of proficiency—and proficiency requires practice. Often, students avoid practice when they lack effective techniques that inspire them to improve.
In sports, when we swing a bat and miss the ball, the feedback we receive through our senses is immediate. No equivalent feedback loop exists when solving math problems. With no opportunity for “active learning” to take place, math can seem meaningless and boring. Introduce a system that provides immediate and engaging feedback, however, and math practice suddenly transforms itself.
Through Deep Practice techniques, students become engaged and skills that might take months of conventional practice can be mastered in a matter of weeks, or even days. Deep Practice consists of tackling a complex subject in manageable chunks, stopping when an error occurs, practicing that one skill until it is perfected, then continuing. Students learn by repeating, reassessing, and fixing their skills in the process of learning them, through immediate feedback and error correction.
Once a solid math foundation is built, it becomes critical to stoke long-term passions for STEM related fields, according to Sun. “Local STEM Inspiration Centers can be created that will allow children to explore STEM concepts using materials easily available from their neighborhoods. Inspiration for these projects will come from local individuals who are already thriving in STEM careers. These centers can offer children an opportunity to learn, explore, construct and deconstruct things. They can also learn to function as a group and experience the value of teamwork in problem solving. Centers could also provide live, video and social-media presentations—the now-famous TED talks are a great example of engaging messages about what is possible in the world today”
For more than a century, the most distinctive trait of American innovators has been their ability to see deep interconnections that others miss. They’ve demonstrated the ability to bring elements from far-flung fields together in new ways, to address a need or solve a pressing problem. By creating a new generation of thinkers, our nation will continue to lead in future technologies that we cannot even imagine today.
To learn more about STEM and the topics raised in this article, read Robert Sun’s piece published in USA Today Magazine (click here to download PDF).
HAVERFORD, PA—First In Math’s October CARD OF THE DAY contest participant, Cheryl Saunders, was excited when she found out she’d won, but she was in for an even bigger surprise when she found out that she and her class would be receiving their FIM prizes in person!
At Haverford, it is cool to like poetry, music, art—and MATH! Sean Collier, Headmaster John Nagl, Cred Dobson and Cheryl Saunders join Team RELIC65PA for a photo.
“It was great to spend time at The Haverford School and meet some future Ivy-League students—who just happen to be current First in Math 2nd-graders,” says FIM Ambassador Cred Dobson. Dobson, a teacher and administrator in the Philadelphia School District for more than 40 years, enjoys classroom visits. “These young men had a lot of thoughtful, interesting questions and we were given time to answer almost all of them.”
“The class was so excited to have had their math questions answered individually by the FIM team,” says Saunders. “It was truly the highlight of their day and the boys are more motivated than ever work to work on their math skills.” Saunders and her team use First In Math every day, and the 2nd-grade teacher says she remembers to enter the Card of the Day contest each day.
The Haverford School is a college-prep day school for boys in grades K to 12. For 129 years they have been dedicated to teaching boys and to helping them grow in the arts, academics, athletics, and in moral character. Headmaster John A. Nagl, D.Phil., gave Dobson and FIM Implementation Specialist Shawn Collier a tour of school, which included a stroll past the trophy cases. As it turns out, NBA star Sean Singletary attended high school at Haverford before eventually moving on to the University of Virginia. Nagl was surprised to learn that Singletary had also been a former student of Dobson’s in Philadelphia, and was a past 24 Challenge® champion.
Every month from September to May, three teachers are chosen at random from all eligible entries in the Card of the Day contest,” explains Collier. Each winning teacher’s team receives one 24® Game Tournament Kit, plus six FIM Player of the Day Badges.
Haverford is currently ranked 24th in PA among all second-grade teams. They plan to put the 24 games included in the Tournament Kit to good use.
The Card of the Day Contest is open to First In Math® (FIM) Team Leaders with a valid 2012/2013 team. One entry per day, per team. At the end of each month, THREE WINNERS chosen at random from all eligible contestants will receive ONE 24® Game Tournament Kit ($95.00 value) PLUS six FIM Player of the Day VIP Badges. The Signature Edition 24® Game Tournament Kit makes planning and implementing a classroom tournament easy! A 24® Game competition gets students excited about math and is an excellent vehicle for propelling students into the world of mathematics. To learn more, visit your Team Leader Homepage and click the Contest Rules link.
Part one of a two-part series by FIM Implementation Specialist Shawn Collier.
Being a teacher can be incredibly rewarding. It can sometimes also be difficult and mentally exhausting even in the best environment. Regardless of the school environment, a program like First In Math gives all teachers the opportunity to engage students and make them aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and then provide them a way to practice specific to those needs.
Former teacher and math coach Shawn Collier feels strongly that First In Math can help students maximize their own abilities—and send them on an upward learning trajectory.
Students need an opportunity to grow relative to their own abilities—not relative to a belief on where one should be. “Start as low as you need to, go as high as you can” should be the belief conveyed in classrooms every day. As a former teacher and math specialist, it has been my experience that whenever you tell a child, ‘you should be completing this level work’ they stop; there is no reason to go beyond the expectation. However, when you say, ‘these are your abilities now, and I can’t wait to see where they are by the end of the year,’ you convey a powerful message and send the student on a completely different learning trajectory.
If a student falls behind, everything they should be doing becomes a struggle, and they begin to detach themselves from the idea that they do indeed have the ability to learn. Because First In Math offers an open palette of math, students aren’t forced into what they should be doing but are able to access content at their ability level, regardless of grade. As students demonstrate competence within a content area, the level of rigor increases to keep them reaching for that next rung on the knowledge ladder. From that point on, the path a student follows is one motivated by self-engagement and the idea of growing ‘my’ score, collecting ‘my’ achievements, and climbing as high in the rankings as possible.
A Student Goals feature is one of several ways children can track their own success and improvement. Students are also able to view their teams’ progress toward curricular goals. The fun and excitement generated when students achieve their personal goals creates an environment where students have an intrinsic drive to do their best.
Ultimately, using technology in a gaming format allows students to see pure data related to their own strengths and weaknesses. They recognize that practicing specific to their needs will allow them to grow their skills more rapidly than generically practicing. This data becomes the answer to, ‘How do I get better? A question First In Math can help each student answer for himself.
EASTON, PA—“Over the years, First In Math assessment data verifies that subtraction is one of the more difficult operations to master, compared to addition, multiplication and division,” says First In Math creator Robert Sun.
Ask any math teacher, and they will tell you that students find subtraction much more difficult than addition or even multiplication.
“Generally, subtraction facts are harder for children to learn than addition facts,” explains Sun. “I believe that the earlier a child learns the inverse relationship between addition and subtraction the better.” Sun says that students usually find themselves either counting up or counting backward to solve subtraction problems, which is not an efficient process.
“We have addressed this issue by creating new subtraction games. Two are subtraction versions of existing games, First In Tens Subtract and First To Twenty Subtract. A completely new Bonus 2 game, Touchdown 100 Subtract is the complement to the new Touchdown 100 Add game.”
The new subtraction games help students to not only internalize subtraction facts, but also visualize the process of subtracting—sometimes referred to as taking away.
According to Sun, the new subtraction games on the First In Math website are a great way for young, or even remedial, students to practice and internalize subtraction facts with the goal of making students’ knowledge of subtraction facts automatic. “Once kids have a grasp of the general concept of subtraction, these games focus on building their accuracy and speed through Deep Practice.”
Support for the new games has been strong right out of the box. “I support these new games 100%,” says two-time FIM Team Leader Player National Champ Matt Morse. “The more practice students can get with subtraction the better.”
The new subtraction games, like more than 70 games/modules presently on the First In Math site, are iPad-compatible.
SPARKS, NEVADA—Did you know First In Math Player of the Day badges are made alongside backstage passes and VIP badges for the world's largest bands and sports teams?
Proudly made in the USA, FIM badges are printed in groups of twelve on digital printers as large as a small school bus!
Access Pass & Design leads the industry in the design and production of live-event credentials such as VIP and ‘backstage’ passes for music artists like Jay-Z, Kelly Clarkson, Smashing Pumpkins, Rihanna, Kanye West, Carrie Underwood, Black Eyed Peas and more. They also produce First In Math’s colorful Player of the Day badges.
The company opened its doors in 2002—coincidentally the same year the First In Math Online Program site was launched. “We do many of the large music festivals, like the Lilith Fair and Bonnaroo, and also work with companies like Nike, MTV, VH1, NBC and Disney,” says company owner Seth Sheck. Sports franchises the company partners with include the NY Yankees, San Francisco Giants, LA Dodgers, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, NASCAR's Chip Ganassi Racing and Penske Racing and the motorcycle world’s Super Cross Series.
"When we began producing the First In Math badges several years ago we were excited to work with Suntex," says Sheck. "We're extremely proud to partner with an education company and produce a product that enhances growth, learning, and self-improvement."
"Our motto is Be Adventurous and Embrace Change," explains Sheck. "In the case of the Player of the Day badges, we worked with First In Math to produce a product that can stand up to day-to-day use while being safe and good-looking. If these badges can help math students feel like rock stars for a day, we've done a great job."
At their state-of-the-art facility brimming with cutting-edge printing technologies, experts at Access Pass monitor quality as the product speeds through a refined production process. Badges are arranged in groups of twelve on one sheet and printed on digital printers as large as a small school bus! The sheets then go through a machine that applies plastic lamination to both sides. Finally, a die-cutter machine stamps individual badges out of the sheets.
In addition to several different Player of the Day (POTD) designs, there are FIM Most Valuable Player badges, K2 World POTD badges and Player of the Week badges. As with everything else First In Math, designs originate in the Suntex art department headed by Lin Hochmiller, FIM Art Director. Final badge designs are approved by FIM creator, Robert Sun, before submission to the pre-production department at Access Pass. One badge (or ‘lanyard’ as students sometimes refer to them) is included in each FIM Admin kit; additional badges can be purchased online at First In Math’s sister-site, 24game.com.
Educators use the various FIM badges as motivational awards, and find them extremely successful in that regard. “The badges are an easy and inexpensive way for educators to recognize student achievement," says FIM Implementation Specialist Shawn Collier, who used them when he was in the classroom. “When a teacher presents that POTD award to a student to wear during the school day it is visual evidence of hard work, perseverance and math achievement!”
First In Math and Access Pass & Design salute all MATH ROCK STARS!
EASTON, PA—Robert Sun, First In Math inventor, is often invited to speak and write about issues and philosophies related to mathematics education. An article written by Sun was recently published in the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM) newsletter. It begins by featuring a Philadelphia school’s First In Math success story.
Baldi Middle School ended the First In Math 2012-2013 season ranked #5, as students solved more than 17 million math problems correctly in just ten months. Even though Baldi is located in an economically challenged neighborhood, they sustain a high-performing culture characterized by three traits: the children feel attached to their school and its mission; the environment supports productivity and performance; and students are energized to sustain accelerated effort over time.
The how and why of these accomplishments, according to Sun, begins with a concept known as Deep Practice—a practice loop where proficiency is attained through immediate awareness of success or failure.
This type of learning is evident in sports, music and other pursuits that engage our senses. When solving math problems, however, there usually is no similar form of encouragement. First In Math addresses this challenge by creating a Deep Practice loop to provide immediate, non-judgmental feedback. Students are motivated to tackle a complex subject in manageable parts. They can stop when an error occurs, practice one skill until it is perfected and eventually, achieve mastery. This is the hallmark of Deep Practice.
The benefits of this type of mastery extend to other vital skills—problem solving and critical thinking among them. Successful critical thinking is difficult, because the human brain was not designed to think but evolved to process vast quantities of visual information. Computers can now beat the best human players in chess, but we have yet to design one that can steer robots over uneven terrain or drive a truck—that’s how complex it is to process visual information. Yet for the human brain, it’s a task that is preferable to thinking.
Sun goes on to explain that the portion of our brain allocated to thinking, the neo-cortex, commonly referred to as the “working memory,” is limited. That’s why when we overtax our working memory our ability to reason slows or may break down altogether.
What we experience through our senses enters into our working memory, but we also draw from a storehouse of accumulated knowledge—our long-term memory. If our goal is to enable students to think critically, and thereby approach math with rigor and focus, they must be offered repeated practice to build automaticity and insure that that their long-term memory contains comprehensive factual knowledge related to mathematics.
Sun encourages educators to think of long-term memory as a pantry. When a child’s pantry is sparse, he cannot perform up to expected standards. Stocking the pantry with knowledge is essential if we want children to think critically.
Although children are exposed to vast quantities of information from birth, it is only when they are actively engaged and thinking that this information becomes stored in their long-term memory. Passive styles of teaching can be likened to laying important ingredients on a table and hoping that students will be motivated to collect them and add them to their pantry. However, when a student is not actively engaged, those items never get into the pantry, they pile up and eventually fall off the table’s edge.
Studies confirm that 90 percent of what a child is taught in class is forgotten within 30 days. First In Math avoids this treadmill by providing students with an opportunity to take ownership through active engagement.
Sun concludes by sharing, “Stocking the pantry may not be the most glamorous aspect of math education; but when our kids pantries are full, there’s no limit to what they can accomplish—or to the future they will be inspired to invent.”
Download a PDF of the full NCSM article here.
First In Math now offers a new pre- and post-test module that simulates a standardized test, and gives formative assessment of a student's skill in solving word problems. Similar to the word problems presented in the Know & Show modules, What Do You Know? (WDYK) is becoming one of the most sought after choices for students eager to earn stickers and educators eager to establish a comprehensive baseline for their learners.
FIM lab buddies contemplate the answer to a simple geometry question in the WDYK 3&4 game.
“I have seen WDYK in action in school computer labs,” reports Suntex Implementation Specialist Monica Patel. “Students love that it has no timer and they can take their time—even use paper and pencil— and of course earn so many stickers. Teachers and principals are delighted to have an easy way of capturing baseline data.”
The WDYK icon is displayed on the main Hub on the player's Homepage. Within the module, there are three versions targeted to three grade ranges: WDYK 3&4, WDYK 5&6 and WDYK 7&8.
WDYK randomly pulls four questions from each of the nine categories of the corresponding Know & Show word-problem database. This initial draw of 36 questions is retained and remembered for each player. A player can exit the module at any time with his progress record preserved and the integrity of the short-cycle-of-play structure maintained. When players return to the game, it resumes with the next question in the sequence, requiring them to address each problem, rather than avoid challenging equations by clicking refresh. Hints and the Glossary are not offered, as the goal of WDYK is to simulate the test environment while facilitating learning and practice.
The WDYK progress bar provides additional, real-time feedback and incentive. Each time a student correctly answers four questions, he crosses a threshold and receives a message telling him how many stickers have been earned. The threshold automatically moves to set the next goal. More stickers are loaded at later thresholds to encourage persistence in getting 100% correct on any post-test. A student can earn 500 stickers by answering all 36 questions correctly, which has quickly made WDYK a very popular module on the First In Math website!
LYNN, MA—Recently, when Christine Kennedy, a teacher at Lynn Woods Elementary, offered her class the opportunity to choose an activity during some rare free time, "At least half of them said they wanted to play First In Math."
The principal of her school, Ellen Fritz, was not surprised by the students' choice. First In Math has taken over "like a craze."
This is the second year the school has used the program and many students are familiar enough with it to play on their own.
“Last year we really immersed ourselves into this program because we wanted our MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) scores to improve. This year we jumped to a Level 1 and I credit First in Math, in part, along with our great and dedicated teachers, for bringing up the math scores.
Initially, Fritz embraced a proven FIM strategy that includes offering praise and recognition as rewards, along with her own incentives such as ice cream parties, additional computer time and lunch from a sandwich shop up the street. This year she says students are more self-motivated because they enjoy the program.
Devin, a fifth-grader, is the school's highest-ranked player, with 2,451 stickers. An accomplished student, Devin says FIM makes him even better and answers now come to him quickly. When students engage in FIM they are immersed in repetition and ongoing practice. “I’m getting multiplication tables faster. You have to keep trying to get the right answer.”
Fritz points out that the program has also generated healthy competition among the Lynn Public School District's elementary schools, and she tracks her school’s ranking against other schools in the nation and state as well as in her own back yard. "I can tap a few computer keys and see the national or state FIM statistics." Lynn Woods is ranked third among all grades in Massachusetts.
“First In Math is another avenue for learning,” says Fritz. "It’s this generation, this is what they know, technology. It makes sense to give students what they know."
WESTON, FL—After a period of close competition among more than six thousand U.S. schools, Manatee Bay Elementary emerged as National Champion in the First In Math Online Program for the 2012-2013 school year. Participating Manatee Bay students secured the top spot by solving approximately 18,000 math problems each.
Left: Manatee Bay students pose with their FIM National Champions banner. Right: Robert Sun poses with Principal Heather Hedman-Devaughn and Zoe Meszaro.
Robin McClain, fifth-grade teacher and FIM School Anchor, coordinates the program at Manatee Bay. She estimates that many students put in more than 400 hours during the online competition, and each participating student earned an average of more than 5,800 FIM stickers.
In an article that appeared on the Wall Street Journal’s website, McClain said that the school is very proud of the progress students have made this year in math education and in confidence about their skills. “First in Math has played an instrumental role in challenging our students to practice math and improve their skills. We’re equipping students with the skills needed for high school, college, and beyond.”
McClain says that students become involved easily, and many push forward on their own. “It starts out very simple with basic skill sets such as multiplication facts, but then it quickly escalates where they are solving addition with fractions, subtraction with fractions, decimals, integers, and measurement. It just keeps going up, up, up, up, up.”
Program creator Robert Sun traveled from Pennsylvania to congratulate students personally. Dr. Mark Strauss, Director of BCPS Office of School Performance and Accountability for Cadre 5 Schools, and Broward County Mathematics Curriculum Specialist Guy Barmoha were also among the attendants at a June 3 celebration.
Sun says that he is very proud of the transformation he has seen at Manatee Bay. “Many schools who embrace our program see a dramatic improvement in math proficiency, and the students show more overall confidence and desire to achieve in other areas of life, as well” explains Sun.
Sun expressed his admiration for Principal Heather Hedman-Devaughn and her staff. “Launching a new program can be a lot of work, but when we see the impact it makes on these kids it makes me certain that they’re going to make a positive impact on the world, because in addition to improved math skills they have developed another very important skill—persistence.”
Perhaps fifth-grader Zoe Meszaro offers the best testimony about the program. She recently told reporters from CBS Miami that she stays up hours on the weekends doing First in Math. “I feel really proud of myself.”
ERIE, PA—A Team of Erie Diocese fourth-graders at St. George’s School were the closest in their prediction of the exact moment when the total sticker count on the First In Math site would reach the one-billion-sticker mark, coming within seconds of the correct time of 12:24:00, May 31.
“We are all very excited to have won the First In Math Online Program’s Big Bang Contest,” says fourth-grade teacher and FIM Team Leader Sue Morgan. “In a letter I sent home to parents explaining the contest, I used the term ‘astronomical’ when estimating the chances to win,” says Morgan. “Maybe it was lucky that I used the term astronomical, since we are Team ASTRO76PA."
Students from Team Astro76pa are winners of the first-ever Big Bang contest. Inset: Justin Gavio points out the School’s name on the Team Leader Home Page News.
Each Team member receives a FIM drawstring backpack containing an autographed 24 Game, a FIM lanyard and special letter of recognition signed by FIM creator Robert Sun. Morgan receives a Kindle, and the school receives a set of nine 24 Game editions, a 24 Game Tournament Kit and all three Math Club kits—all autographed by Sun.
Sun engineered the Big Bang contest to give students an opportunity to apply math skills to a real-world situation. Many Team Leaders took advantage of this teaching opportunity, but perhaps none more aggressively than Rose Davidson at Washington Elementary in Pittsburgh, PA.
They didn’t win, but members of Team Atom41pa had a party and watched the countdown to one billion!
“To make an educated guess for the contest, we worked as a class and then broke into groups,” explains Davidson. “As a class, we collected data in 30-minute increments throughout an entire school day. Students analyzed data, looked for patterns, and then pinpointed an overall average sticker-count per hour. We used the U.S. map to discuss time zones to determine when kids in all four time zones would/should be sleeping and not earning stickers.”
Team ATOM41PA determined that during the school day, players earn approximately 200,000 stickers per hour. They also monitored activity throughout the evening. “At the request of my students—and much to the displeasure of my husband—I got up at 1:00 am, 3:00 am, and 5:00 am to collect the overnight sticker increases,” chuckles Davidson.
The next day, Davidson and the Team analyzed the evening and overnight data. “We concluded that few stickers were earned between midnight and 8:00 am, but once the East Coast students began school, the sticker count began to rise.” Finally, students worked in groups to illustrate their calculations and math thoughts onto a poster. “We then voted on a group that we thought had the most logical estimate and calculations, and submitted our guess,” says Davidson.
“This was a great opportunity to engage all students in a real-life math situation! There was no better way to end the school year than to watch my fifth-graders utilize multiple strategies to solve a very challenging math problem!”
St. George’s Morgan agrees, adding that First In Math is an integral part of her math curriculum all year long. “We use it every day in class. We didn’t begin playing until November, and yet we have been the top Team in our Diocese for months. We start our day by reading the Total Sticker Count number to practice reading large numbers and place value. Then we check Player of the Day and play the Card of the Day. I use Bonus games to introduce current skills, but I can honestly say my students have used every component of the site this year. I ask them to spend at least 10 minutes on FIM for homework, and I do expect them to earn a few stickers, but they often come in having earned in excess of a hundred! The games truly motivate them, and I take on the role of cheerleader.”
“Kudos to all of the teachers and students who accepted this challenge,” says Sun. “They personify my optimism about the future of American education.”
BETHLEHEM, PA—Robert Sun, creator of the First In Math Online Program, paid a visit to Moravian Academy on May 28, 2013, to honor the #6-ranked First In Math Family Link player in the Nation, Erika Roth.
Erika and her daughter Sydney pose with a Family Link trophy they received in addition to a Certificate of Excellence.
“The support of parents is an essential component of the education process,” says Sun. “First In Math’s Family Link feature allows students to earn an extra User ID/Password to share with a parent or sibling—and parents who take advantage of the access to FIM content really feel the connection between home and school.”
Sun shakes hands with students as they exit Moravian Academy’s Lower School, located in historic downtown Bethlehem, PA.
Guest players are ranked individually and as a Team with the student they are linked to. As a Team, Erika and her daughter, Sydney, rank #3 in Pennsylvania and #8 in the nation. Sun, a former Trustee of Moravian Academy, presented the mother/daughter math duo with a Family Link Team Certificate of Excellence. The school presented him with an honor, in return. “Moravian Academy has a tradition where the Principal shakes the hand of each student as they leave school at the end of the day,” explains Sun. “Principal Susan Parent gave me that privilege today.”
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