A teacher’s life
Melanie Hammer is a 4th-grade teacher in a preschool through to 6th-grade school in Kansas. After 25 years of teaching, she still gets those beginning-of-year bubbles of excitement when she meets her students for the first time.
Melanie reported, “I just love so many things about teaching. But definitely, that ‘Aha moment’ when a child gets something that earlier they didn't get.”
But, there was a problem. Her students weren’t getting that ‘Aha moment’ with their times tables.
And this was affecting all areas of maths in the classroom.
Melanie had to do something...
The odds were stacked against them
Situated in a low socio-economic area, Melanie was finding her students just weren’t getting enough practice outside of school.
“In school, you have so much to cover in so little time, so it's hard to give that lesson the time that's needed,” Melanie sighs.
She was exhausted planning math fact lessons as well as spending huge amounts of time making resources for all the students every day.
And things were about to get a lot harder for her students...
“The kids in fourth grade learn long division and bigger multiplication problems, but if they didn't know their tables, then they would have to use a multiplication chart. You know, it just made everything slow and difficult to get through.”
Students were sluggish learning their tables. “It has, in the past, taken the entire year to get even a handful of the kids to get up to their 12s,” Melanie states.
The students were becoming frustrated and it was showing in their math lessons.
Melanie had had enough.
She knew that to help her students gain more confidence in their complex math work, she had to get them up to speed on their tables.
Enter Times Tables Rock Stars, the highly competitive and fast multiplication and division program
Melanie was introduced to Times Tables Rock Stars in August 2020 by a friend and after showing the decision-makers the price, they were on board.
“Last summer, TTRockstars let me do a sampling of it so I played myself at home. I was getting into it so I knew the kids would get into it.”
Melanie integrated Times Tables Rock Stars into her class’s daily routine, setting aside 15 minutes as a warm-up before their math lesson. While her students were ‘playing,’ Melanie was able to claw back some invaluable time to mark work and give feedback.
The students set up battles where they compete against other students in their class.
Melanie set up battles every 9 weeks which motivates her students. “We make it a big deal. They get a T-shirt if they win, and then the top three go out in the hallway on our wall of fame.”
Melanie’s students are smashing the glass ceiling since using Times Tables Rock Stars
Melanie has seen huge improvements in engagement since implementing Times Tables Rock Stars.
“Usually, our goal at the end of the year is to get kids through their twelves. We have rockets out in our hallway. When they pass that table, their rocket flies to the next... But this year, we saw those rockets fly much quicker. And so then, of course, that makes the long division and the bigger multiplication problems just so much easier for them.”
The 15 minutes, 4 days a week practice of Times Tables Rock Stars has:
- boosted students’ speed
- freed up more time for Melanie to teach, plan and mark
- skyrocketed students’ ability to solve large multiplication and division problems
- exploded students’ sense of achievement
Times Tables Rock Stars have accelerated Melanie’s students more than she could ever have imagined.
“Right now, I have a majority of my class that can pass their twelves.
I do see success.”
Melanie is thrilled her students are getting those ‘Aha moments’ at last.
And her students?
Well, they’re practicing with all their might to beat her.