For our latest teacher feature, we connected with Julie Nicholson, a sixth-grade teacher in Texas. Ms. Nicholson just discovered Wowzers this year, but already the program has made a huge impact on her classroom. Because she works in a 1:1 school, she incorporates Wowzers whenever possible. Every day, she uses Wowzers after the students answer their bell ringer question of the day. As soon as she verifies each student’s correct answer, her students immediately log in to Wowzers to pick up where they left off in the curriculum. When she pulls out small groups of students, the rest of the students continue working on Wowzers. She finds that when students use Wowzers, they stay engaged longer so she’s able to concentrate on each small group.
Mrs. Nicholson’s favorite feature is how she’s able to import her students’ NWEA MAP Growth scores to create a personalized curriculum for each student. She toggles her students between these personalized curriculum paths and a general classroom path as needed. She explains, “I love the differentiation of it reaching my students right where they are as individuals. I have students below grade level, on grade level, and I have students a couple of grade levels above. This program allows my students to get that individualized instruction without me feeling bad that there is not enough of me to go around or enough time in one class period to work with ALL of my students. It is very important to me that the lower, middle and upper performing students grow.”
The reports built into Wowzers have also been a lifesaver for Ms. Nicholson since they save her time and energy. By quickly looking over the real-time reports, she sees which students are struggling, and who’s receiving remediation. Because she doesn’t need to spend hours grading papers, she’s able to give her best to her students and spend more time with her family. She describes the reports as a “make or break” feature for her as a teacher.
Ms. Nicholson’s students seem to be enjoying Wowzers as well. As one student explained, “It gives you lots of things to do and keeps you hooked. I have never been attached to a math program, and when Mrs. Nicholson said we were getting a new one, I thought, ‘Oh great, another boring program.’ But I love Wowzers!”
When we asked Ms. Nicholson what else she’d like to see in Wowzers, she said, “One idea could be to set up a way for my students to compete against each other and in teams. They like the competition. It would also be great if they could compete against my other classes or classes within my school for points, or coins. It’s great motivation and creates excitement and teamwork.” What a great idea!