Ms. Howell's Year 4 on Top of the Leaderboard Thanks to SplashLearn Hippo!
Year 4 Teacher,
Lyman Elementary School, SC
Won First Prize in SpringBoard 2015 - Division 3 to 5
Ms. Howell’s 4th year classroom is abuzz with (maths) activity these days. Sixteen students, eight laptops, two iPads, an encouraging teacher, and a ton of maths confidence: that’s what it took for this class to get to the top of the SplashLearn SpringBoard Leaderboard at the end of Week One!
Ms. Howell shared with SplashLearn how this relatively small class of 16 students got right there to the top.
When did your class start using SplashLearn?
Last week! In fact we started on SplashLearn only on Tuesday, a day after your contest started.
We had been using a couple of other online maths programs, not very enthusiastically as my students never liked those enough to stay on task and stick with the program, so when I heard about SpringBoard, I immediately got my class working on SplashLearn. I was hoping this maths program would engage them better, and if it did, my plan was to motivate them further with the contest.
How did that go, did your students like SplashLearn when they tried it?
It went amazingly well. My students got on to SplashLearn on that first day and immediately loved it. They continued to love it, and were happy to stay on it and keep going – this was really impressive for me as a teacher, especially since I have tried other online maths programs before.
I wanted to understand why they liked SplashLearn so much better, so I talked to my students to dig deeper. They came up with a few different reasons why they loved it, but the one reason they all unanimously cited, was the SplashLearn hippo!
My students elaborated, explaining that the hippo was really encouraging when they got the question right. It was actually quite funny, all my students exactly mimicked the hippo’s words: “Awesome!”, “You rock!” and so on. Interestingly, they added that the hippo was even more encouraging when they did not get the question right, they thought the way he simply says a mild non-judgmental “oops” or “uh-oh” is really nice.
So what I’m hearing from my students with all this is that they feel safe to do maths in this supportive environment, they are motivated to keep trying, and encouraged to do their best. This reflects in how they’ve started thinking about themselves now – they feel good about themselves and they feel confident about maths.
That’s great! We’ll be sure to give your students’ feedback to Pippo the Hippo :-) . What are some of the other reasons your students like SplashLearn?
They love the animation. And actually the entire SplashLearn interface. It’s fun, it’s interesting, and it’s quick and efficient – I guess very like the computer games they’re used to playing. They also understand and navigate the curriculum very easily, and in fact find using SplashLearn overall very smooth.
And that smooth interface is something I like as well, as a teacher-user on SplashLearn. In addition, your thorough curriculum-aligned content is great, and I really appreciate the teacher reports. Specifically, it is easy for me to check how each of my students is doing in a maths skill, and with that one report, I am now able to individualize maths teaching, on SplashLearn itself. Finally, I think SplashLearn is great practice for my students to prepare for their standardized testing coming up soon.
With SplashLearn becoming a hit in your class, did you then tell them about SpringBoard?
Yes, I shared the details with them. They were immediately hooked, and because I could check real time how we were doing on SpringBoard, they also stayed very motivated. My students know everything about SpringBoard – how the point system works including the streak bonus points, and they are working with a purpose on SplashLearn every day.
In fact, there are two things my students constantly say to me now through the school day: “Can we do SplashLearn” and “Where are we now?”! I’m having to check the leaderboard many time through the school day, which I don’t mind of course – I love the way they go quiet when I check, and then burst out in excitement and applause when I report that we’re “still on top”!
I also post updates on my class website for parents, students, and the rest of our school.
Are your students maths-gifted and always naturally inclined to maths, hence this excitement and motivation for doing maths?
On the contrary! My class is truly a Rags to Riches story that I am seeing unfold in front of my eyes, thanks to SplashLearn.
Most of my students came to me in the beginning of the school year with lower maths skills, and they all know how we have struggled through this year with maths. In this one week though, my entire class has learnt to embrace maths and love to work on it – they now genuinely believe they can actually do maths. Interestingly, there is another 3rd grade class in our school, which is for gifted students, and my class is ahead of them as well on SpringBoard. That adds further to the confidence my students have gained – they feel really good about themselves!
These are dream outcomes for me as a teacher, and irrespective of where we go with the SpringBoard contest, I truly feel my class and my students have already won.