How I Use It
I have enjoyed using Think Through Math in my 5th grade classroom the last two years. I began by setting up my whole class. The program requires the students to have a password in which the teachers can generate and control. My students have a school password to login so I made it the same, which was very helpful. Next, students take a pretest to see what skills they have mastered, need extra support, or need to be reintroduced to. Lastly, the program can run on it's own from here if you would like. This was as far as I went the first year before I learned more about what the program and all it had to offer.
- Students could manage the program on their own and I always felt comfortable knowing they were working at their own pace.
- I loved using this during math workshop. I used TTM as a station so I knew each student would be using it each day for at least 15 minutes or so.
-I loved seeing the class work together to earn a class goal. Students earn points after each lesson and can donate points to a class goal (in our case a Subway party) or to a variety of charities! G-reat idea!
- Was a great tool students could use at home throughout the school year and summer. Great way for parents to help their child in the area of mathematics and to see what they are learning.
- I wouldn't quite say didn't work, but for some students the excitement of TTM wore off throughout the year. There are however some great tools on the program to hold students engagement, such as design your own avatar, earn rewards, and donation of points, etc. My class also enjoyed challenges throughout the week TTM would offer to engage students and allow them the opportunity to earn points or prizes. One teacher in our school started a Think 30 Club in our computer lab and that was exciting, and we also did some things in the classroom to help motivate the kids.
I LOVED using TTM as a teaching tool. I felt comfortable knowing all my students were working at their individual levels. If a student misses a skill, it will readdress it when appropriate. If a child is working above grade level in a specific skill, let's say Geometry for example, it challenges them in that particular area. I also liked that as a teacher I could chose the pathway I wanted my students to work through. For example, working on the Common Core grade 5 pathway. As a teacher I could also reassign a pathway if I needed too.
Another thing I liked was the support the students could receive. If they didn't get something right it first started off by breaking down the problem. Each student has their own coach, which they could change the image of. Then after using the coach a few times if they still do not get it students have the change to work with a live teacher. They can listen and talk to them through the computer or just through text if needed. The teachers were great on the other end. I always felt like I have a couple of extra hands in the room!
I felt it made my teaching better because I could also go on to TTM for the whole class and use a lesson to demonstrate to the whole class if I knew they needed extra support. I also like that as a teacher I could easily monitor what areas my students needed extra support with individual. I had some great information about how I could help support my student's in mathematics.
Lastly, another thing I like that they added this year was the ability to comment to individual kids. On my teacher screen I could see when a student passed a lesson, didn't pass, or needed teacher support. I loved writing "congratulations" or "hang in there you can do it" to my students and they enjoyed my messages too. I could also award them stars, which would show up on their home page. This became a great motivator in my classroom.
Overall, I feel that the use of TTM in the classroom is a great investment.