Welcome, and thank you for visiting and reading my blog.
The subjects and topics of this blog will be about using games in your classroom or teaching, using games to increase math fluency, and as always, using these to increase student achievement.
I am a former software engineer – turned middle school math teacher – turned app developer. As an engineer, I used many of the math topics taught in late elementary school through high school– formulas, equations, scale, trigonometry– plus the all-important critical thinking and problem solving aspects of math.
I’ve always loved math — the exactness of an answer, the problem-solving, the beauty of using multiple methods. Once I came into the classroom, I wanted to bring my love of math to my students. Meaning, I wanted my kids to see that math could be fun and actually can be used in the real world (teachers love to say that). I did that by bringing in projects, games, and puzzles into my teaching– years before “Game Based Learning” actually became a subject and topic that is now much discussed and studied.
In 2011, I wrote the game “Addition Blocks” with the intent to help students with adding positive and negative integers. Well, negative numbers never made it into the game! Consequently, I did submit the game into the 2012 National STEM Video Game Design Challenge sponsored by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, E-Line Media, BrainPOP, and a few other companies. Addition Blocks won the PBS Kids Prize (Teacher Entries) and allowed me to complete its development. I have since left teaching school, and now am devoting my time to developing engaging educational apps and games.
In my research for the submission to the Challenge, I came across this paragraph in a study on math fluency:
Educators and cognitive scientists agree that the ability to recall basic math facts fluently is necessary for students to attain higher-order math skills… If a student constantly has to compute the answers to basic facts, less of that student’s thinking capacity can be devoted to higher level concepts than a student who can effortlessly recall the answers to basic facts.”1 Computational Fluency is part of an essential foundation for more advanced performance.2
I had never fully thought about math fluency before, but I came to conclusion that fluency is very important to a child’s development in math. I will further flesh out what this paragraph meant to me in the next post.
My hope is that, as an educator, you will be able to glean some bits and pieces from this blog that will spur some new ideas and help your students have fun in math.
You can find Addition Blocks on: