Woman using online tool to motivate kids

Local teacher earns Mathletics honour

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Getting students excited about learning math was not a hard equation for Meadows School teacher Melissa Lander to figure out.

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This article was published 24/06/2017 (1983 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Getting students excited about learning math was not a hard equation for Meadows School teacher Melissa Lander to figure out.

Her use of Mathletics — an online math learning space with courses aligned to provincial math curricula — to improve the school’s numeracy goals has earned her a Mathletics lead educator award.

“It’s been about three or four years that I’ve been working with getting (Mathletics) into our school and other schools as well, so it’s kind of a nice to have something that you’ve been working on for a long time recognized,” Lander said.

Submitted Meadows School teacher Melissa Lander has been awarded lead educator status through the Mathletics lead educator program.

In her 20 years of teaching, math has always been a subject close to Lander’s heart, she said.

“I’ve always taught math … it is something that I’ve always kind of kept in my pocket, it’s a passion of mine,” Lander said. “I do a lot with literacy as well, but I think math is just one of those things that is not as visible. It’s obvious if someone struggles with literacy because they can’t read and write, but numeracy doesn’t always get the attention that it needs.”

Establishing strong numeracy skills at a young age doesn’t only help students excel at mathematics, Lander said.

“Those skills can be put into life outside of math, like not giving up when something is wrong, for example, or trying things out different ways. Those are all the things we want people to do not only in school but all the time in life,” Lander said. “I’ve always felt that math is important to develop those types of skills in students.”

But not all students were sharing in Lander’s math enthusiasm, so she tried Mathletics as a new approach to get kids excited about math, while at the same time offering students who were excelling something a little more challenging.

“They were so motivated, I didn’t even need to be in the room — that was sort of the running joke — they just wanted to do it,” Lander said with a laugh. “I approached our principal about the program and using it in all the classrooms because I felt strongly that all the kids deserved the opportunity to have that engagement when it comes to numeracy.”

Now, other schools are looking at Meadows as an example of how Mathletics can be used in the classroom.

“I would love to see a divisional licence (for Mathletics) so all the kids have access to this program,” Lander said. “I would really love to see all the students in the division have that opportunity.”

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