We recently talked to Christine Elliott, a fourth-grade teacher at Swanton Elementary School in Northwest Ohio. As a teacher of 28 years, Ms. Elliott understands the importance of individualization. To meet this need, her students use Wowzers on their Chromebooks in her classroom. She explains, “I use Wowzers to individualize learning. It is an excellent way to reteach or allow more advanced students to forge ahead. I use the pre-assessment to determine if the lesson and practice are needed; otherwise, students can skip to the game and quiz.”
Ms. Elliott’s students find the program engaging as well. By earning coins in-game, they’re able to decorate their characters and BuzzPods. To motivate them even further, Ms. Elliott provides incentives, such as a pancake breakfast, pizza lunch, and end-of-the-year cookout for students who complete a curriculum path with at least 80% accuracy for the quarter.
It seems the individualization and motivation are working, as Ms. Elliott has seen increased performance since her class started using Wowzers. Last year, fourth-grade math was the only indicator her district met on the state report card. Her class’s rate of passage for this indicator was higher than the state average. She believes the assessments particularly help prepare her students for high-stakes achievement tests. She explains, “Wowzers asks a wide variety of question types including short answer and extended response. It also models our state testing and the way students are required to answer on the computer. Students feel comfortable after using Wowzers throughout the year. Wowzers helps prepare for state tests in an entertaining and engaging way.”
When asked why she chose Wowzers over other programs she says, “I use Wowzers because it requires students to read, examine, and explain their thinking. Many programs do not incorporate the explanation component as part of their program.” Of course, any teacher will have questions when they pick up a completely new curriculum program, but Ms. Elliott has had all her questions promptly answered. “Customer support is amazing! I can email and receive an answer in a few minutes. Many of my questions have been answered with a video that was made specifically to answer my question.”