Joe Perez: Wowzers Superstar Teacher Feature

Today we’re featuring Joe Perez, a fifth-grade teacher from El Camino Real Academy in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Mr. Perez has been teaching for 18 years and, like many teachers, values the importance of technology. When one of his former colleagues recommended Wowzers, he decided to check it out by loading the Wowzers app on iPads in his classroom. He uses Wowzers’ new partnership with NWEA to create personalized learning paths for his students based on their MAP Growth test scores. He reports that this has helped fill in the gaps that students have in their mathematical foundation and allows students that are exceeding expectations to be challenged at their level.

Student Engagement
It seems Mr. Perez’s strategy is working. “The best part of Wowzers is that it knows your math level and how you get coins to buy things at the mall and things for your Pod. The reason why I like this is that it gets you better at your math skills,” one student reports. Another explained, “My favorite part of Wowzers is the practice problems because they help me a lot with the subject I am working on. Also, it kind of makes it fun because they either put you shooting a goal or you are slicing fruit.”

Instant Feedback
For Mr. Perez, he enjoys using Wowzers because it provides instant feedback for his students and gives immediate follow–up questions to test their understanding. Because he has 27 students in his class, being able to individually provide feedback to all of them is challenging. Wowzers automatically provides this feedback as students progress through the curriculum. Illustrations and models are a big part of Mr. Perez’s math curriculum, which Wowzers supports as well. Finally, he appreciates that the format of Wowzers is similar to the PARCC format. That provides experience for the students, which in turn, helps them become more successful when taking the PARCC assessments.

Tips and Recommendations
For other teachers using Wowzers, Mr. Perez recommends creating structured times for the students to use Wowzers and then sticking to that schedule. He also mentions that he purchased his classroom’s Wowzers subscriptions through a local organization called Dollars4Schools. However, even if that funding ceased to exist, he is determined to find ways to pay for the services Wowzers provides. The program has become an essential part of his teaching strategy.