I've taught algebra for 25 years and when it comes to factoring quadratic equations, kids often have trouble testing all the possible factors. It becomes tedious and some kids just give up. The eighth grade that I have now has been playing 24® since 4th grade. I started the lesson and they worked 87 problems with no frustration at all. I pointed out how good they were at this when one of them said "It's just like 24". He was right. A skill that once took weeks to develop took just 2 classes.
Sister Janelle Banko
St. Agnes School, West Mifflin, PA
I can’t say enough about how engaging the 24® game is to my students. We play as a class daily – all versions – integers, variables, Algebra, and the basic version. We had a school tournament and chose the top 12 students. Then as a county, we went on to hold a middle school tournament on a special night with parents as spectators. We gave away medals and door prizes consisting of 24 decks, t-shirts, and lanyards. The big 24 trophy went to Battlefield Middle School. We will continue this tradition for years to come. Everyone wins! The teachers see the students engaged and excited about math. The students hone their mental computation skills. The parents can see the progress their child makes. Maybe your district can try this?
Ann Bingham, Grade 7 Math
Spotsylvania County Public Schools
First let me say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all of the outstanding support and assistance you have given to the Northwest Region. Eighty-five percent of our schools were recognized for achieving AYP. It is my belief that a share of our success can be credited to First In Math®.
By eagerly embracing the First in Math® program, the Northwest Region's 40 schools added a needed punch to our arsenal of strategies. The impact to our students can be readily seen as we review data and continue to improve educational outcomes for our students. In a very short time our principals, teachers and students abandoned other interventions and aligned rosters—as well as out of school time—with multiple opportunities to engage in the First in Math® program.
The participation rate in the First in Math® program throughout the region soared—as did our standardized test scores. First in Math® is the first program to quickly engage student interest, and is designed to meet the student at their level and provide a strategic road map for accelerating learning. When students are engaged in the learning process, wonderful things begin to happen.
First in Math® provides immediate feedback for students. Teachers and principals love the management system and, as a regional superintendent, I am able to monitor our students' achievement and provide the appropriate targeted support. Most importantly, the program provides a respectful, highly engaging opportunity for our students to demonstrate their mathematical prowess.
Linda E. Grobman
Regional Superintendent, Northwest Region, Philadelphia School District
We just received our fifth grade test scores on the PSSA. Our math scores went up about 8 percentage points....71% of kids scored proficient or advanced. The state average is 63%. We think a factor is First in Math® which, as you may recall, our kids went bonkers for, especially fifth grade.
K. Q., Pollock Elementary, PA
It gives me great pleasure to write to you concerning our school's success in the First In Math® Program. Last year, I was the only eighth grade teacher at John F. Reynolds, with a class enrollment of 36 students (25 male; 11 female). With such a large group, it was important for me to have varied diagnostic tools, as well as an accurate way to pinpoint the skills of my students. First In Math provided me with these, and much more. Our school district made a wise investment when they purchased the program for all of the students.
After I was presented with my packet I sat and entered my students' names so that I could quickly provide them with their passwords. At that time, I was no more familiar with the computerized program than the children in my class. However, some of these students had success with the city-wide 24® game competition, and we continued to use some examples as a morning warm-up. I wondered if the technological version would differ from the concrete examples we were used to. I must admit that I chuckled at our team's name (typhoon4pa), and we began our First In Math journey.
Because we seemed to have started after most schools, I was a little anxious about "catching up." I realized that individual growth/progress was paramount, but because team rankings were always posted, I wanted my students to have a sense of pride. I always stressed to them that they had the same abilities and potential as students from other schools. The fact that the results were publicized in an expeditious manner was a motivating factor for the children in my class, because it helped them to see fairness in the system.
One major concern that I had as an educator was that the vast majority of my students had no computers (internet access) at home, so they had to depend on school computer use, which, as a class, was basically one period, one day per week. The few participants who had computers made good use of them. Others utilized the one of the two we had in the room, by coming in early and staying after school.
Success was steady. I familiarized myself with the program, and constantly monitored my students. A healthy competition started to develop class- and school-wide. Soon "bragging rights" were earned. Much more importantly, I began to understand the focus of each skill level, which helped me to clearly see the math strengths and weaknesses of each of my students. Just by saying, "Skill Set® 7, Game 2," I knew that a student was working with integers. Moreover, each student developed a keen awareness of himself as a learner. They started to understand the concepts they needed to sharpen. The Gym, I came to discover, was a great place to "mathematically work out" when they were stuck on a Skill Set. Show What U Know™ became the place to showcase their knowledge, and gave them wonderful practice with test-taking skills.
Students began to notice the progress of certain individuals and schools outside of Reynolds. We felt like we were a part of a culture of successful teams who may never have met, but were quite aware and respectful of each other. I became increasingly aware of schools in our district, system and state. Our principal was excited about our progress and greatly encouraged the students. Additionally, our growth showed us that we indeed were players - contenders - who had challenged ourselves personally and collectively at Reynolds. When it was time for the PSSA, we put our best foot forward and tasted the sweetness of AYP (a 27.6% increase!). These students, through the creativity of First In Math, proved what I had always known about them. What a marvelous testimony!
With all the progress my eighth graders made during the 2004-2005 school year, I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to witness my students become engaged by your program. They left a great legacy to our school. This year, with fewer students in my room (20), I am still having a wonderful time. Because I truly understand the program, I can help my "madras7pa" team set loftier goals, and challenge themselves more. Our new principal, through daily reports and announcements, supports and encourages all Reynolds students in their endeavors.
Thank you, Suntex International, Inc., for your First In Math Program.
Cathy Hensford, Teacher
Reynolds School, Philadelphia, PA
As Central East Regional Superintendent for the School District of Philadelphia, I have instructed all of our schools to implement the First In Math® Online Program. First In Math® is challenging, motivating and is aligned with rigorous district, state and national math standards. First in Math® is a program that engages students in the learning process while integrating technology and encourages them to spend the time necessary to internalize requisite skills.
In 2003-2004, two of our schools scored in the Top 14 Schools in the First In Math® Program and those schools more than tripled their PSSA scores as compared to the district average. First In Math® creates excitement in the area of mathematics and many students make an effort to log on by coming to school early to use the computer lab, using their free time to play, going to the library or choosing to go online rather than watch TV!”
Lucy Rodriguez Feria
Regional Superintendent, Central East Region, Philadelphia School District
I am seeing kids, who normally are not excited about math, volunteering to not go out for recess and actually stay in and go on the computer, which is mind boggling.
E.Y., Farmersville Elementary, PA
In teaching math, my goal has always been to rid my classroom of the 'I hate math' syndrome. I realized I couldn't get a 100% of them to love math, but I hoped to at least achieve 'math can be fun'. The First In Math® online program has helped me achieve my goal. The first time I saw the game, I said my kids would never be able to do these problems that quickly. I doubted I could. Yet here we are, first in the nation! Their speed and achievement has amazed me. Seeing the struggling math student succeed and even get to explain a problem to an advanced student makes my day. Math achievement involves confidence and this program is a confidence builder. You don't fail, you simply get to try again and again without losing points. The slow students may go slower, but in the end their smiles are bigger! They love the game, they want to play, and just being in the room and listening to their comments, their explanations, their willingness to work as a team and yet strive for individual scores, and their enthusiasm makes me smile — I'm glad I teach math!
I love the ten wheels and the factor circles for basic practice. It is great to have activities that are timed to increase speed, but also some like these that allow the student to work at his own pace. As they do more of them, their speed increases and even they comment on the fact that it is getting easier. I simply love this game and I love watching my students play it!
Colleen Armor, Teacher
Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Natrona Heights, PA
I believe this is the best way for students to learn basic skills, math facts and mental math.
M.F.B., Colonial School District, DE
I teach middle school students, some who don't know their multiplication facts well. The 24 game has given them motivation to memorize these facts in order to play with their classmates. I use the game all year long and see an improvement in computation skills.
S.S., Altoona, PA
I teach academically gifted and talented students in grades 3, 4 and 5. This game fits in beautifully with my curriculum. Students not only practice basic mathematics facts, they become adept at mental math, communicating mathematically, validating their thinking, and recognizing multiple ways to solve problems. The added benefit of course is that all this thinking and problem solving is disguised as a game!
Thank you for First in Math®. My students have not quit talking about the program. In the first week my 24 students have earned nearly 3,000 stickers. They love to share about the problems they encountered. It is great to see them so motivated to do math on their free time!
C.R., Millridge Elementary, OH
All of the students are extremely excited about it [First In Math], as all of the teachers and myself are. When I learned about the First In Math program, I asked if I could have it, right up front.
P.H., Principal, Farmersville Elementary, PA
I teach 5th grade in LaMesa CA and have seen how this game really sparks an interest in math for many students. I began a 24 Club at my school for students who were interested in practicing the game and enjoyed the challenge the game had to offer...It was amazing to see both their interest and speed increase as the weeks progressed.
M.C., San Diego, CA
The 24 game is an excellent math game that challenges students to develop accuracy and quick thinking. The students in my classroom really enjoy this game; they would play all of the time if I allowed it.
C.L. Layton, DE
Please share your experiences using the 24® game and the First In Math® Online Program in your classroom. Send E-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org