I get a lot of questions about the math program that I teach. I don’t think I’ve ever really even tried to fully explain it to anyone before now. Truth is, whenever I tell people that I teach an online math program, people usually get a really weird look on their faces and seem to automatically start questioning the successfulness of it. They don’t understand how it could possibly be beneficial to cut into two and a half hours of regular classroom math time for students to learn math online. Nor do they understand what exactly it is that I do with MY time all day. I mean... obviously the computers must do all the work, right?
These assumptions are similar to the feelings of many teachers in the district at the beginning of the year when we first incorporated Reasoning Mind. Only a handful of Title 1 campuses adopted the program this year. I had no doubts. I knew from the stats and reputation of the program in so many other districts alone that it was going to do big things in math for our students. It also probably helped that I completed some master's work in Educational and Instructional Technology a couple of years ago. I’m naturally a fan of what technology can do for education! Nevertheless, when someone starts asking me about my job, I usually just say that I teach 2nd-4th grade math and leave it at that. It's just easier that way.
So, in case you’re interested in this sort of thing, here’s what ACTUALLY goes down in my classroom.
In a sense it really is a futuristic virtual classroom type atmosphere. Students access their lessons by logging in to RM City.
Within RM City, the students learn new math material, solve problems, e-mail the teacher, submit homework, and earn points for the efforts with which they can use to collect virtual prizes. The "RM Genie" is there to support and cheer for them along the way.
I have incentive plans happening all around the classroom to keep my students engaged and excited about their work. We keep track of class goals, personal goals, class competitions, and high streaks (number of problems solved correctly in a row).