Last year, I had Jake in my 1st grade class. All year long, I knew Jake as a very quiet child who lacked confidence in almost everything that he did. While I saw him grow throughout his first grade year, I never saw his confidence grow in math. After many attempts to have him partner up with different peers, add interventions to help with fluency, and provide small group instruction, he moved on to second grade with the same lack of confidence in math.
His second grade teacher eagerly requested he be in Mathletes, hoping that this could be exactly what Jake needed. Within the first three weeks of Mathletes, I saw Jake smile and laugh as he worked through math fact flash cards. I could see his determination as he listened to his mentor guide him through different word problems.
As the weeks went on, I eagerly watched as Jake carried himself with a confidence that I had never seen before. Jake's second grade teacher and I were brought to tears as we looked at Jake's most recent math scores. We could not believe the growth that happened within 8 short weeks.
While the academic growth is absolutely memorable, I will always hold tight to the memories of Jake's smile and laughter. We may not be able to track data in the form of smiles and laughter, but I am forever grateful for this immeasurable growth. Thank you, Mathletes, for providing such an inspiring program for Jake.
Mathletes has positively affected our school, because it allowed 4th and 5th grade students to feel important and helpful (even when they were not able to attain ALP). Mathletes encouraged 2nd grade students to view math as a fun and engaging, not frustrating and impossible.
Ben is a fifth grade advanced math student. He is a student who works hard to maintain his skills, and while he is successful it doesn't always come easy for him. Being a mentor in Mathletes was a growth experience for him. I saw him begin to have more confidence in his abilities and become a leader in his class through his work as a mentor.
He set an amazing example for his second grade mentee. He even began to plan his own lessons based on feedback from his student. He spent time outside of club finding materials to share with his mentee. After the experience ended I have continued to see improved confidence in him. He is generally more sure of himself.
Ali was a second grader who participated in Mathletes Mentoring as a mentee. She is an ESL student. Over the course of the eight weeks she participated I saw her come out of her shell. Our first week she entered very hesitantly. She would sit quietly with her head down, and barely speak. By the end of the fall session she was a totally different kid. She looked around eagerly to find her mentor with whom she had created a bond. She talked with the other students and with me. She exhibited signs of being more confident in her abilities. She knew exactly what to do and was excited to get started each week. Her language skills improved along with her math skills.
Amy was a second grade student with difficulties staying focused on math curriculum in the classroom setting. Her teachers and parents suspected her aptitude exceeded her demonstrated performance in class, but she often seemed bored/distracted/etc.
The one-on-one attention she received in Mathletes was wonderful for Amy. She quickly progressed thru her addition facts and her mentor began to introduce multiplication concepts. She enjoyed the manipulatives and playing cards, helping make up new games that impressed her mentor as well. Amy looked forward to each weeks session and her mom & teacher felt the most important change was her positive math attitude.
Fostering relationships between older and younger students has improved the school's cohesiveness.
Fifth-grader Ella wasn't sure if her math skills were good enough to teach a second-grader in Mathletes. Oh, she was good at math, but it was that teaching part that left her feeling not so confident. She decided to try being a mentor anyway, because you never know if you never try.
Ella was paired with an extremely shy girl named Zoey, who had trouble in class with even the most basic second grade math. Zoey liked Ella immediately, and they hit it off in the first session talking about their pets. Both girls learned right from the start that the most important part of a mentor-mentee relationship was the bond they had with each other.
Ella quickly learned to lead her mentee into a conversation about math, and Zoey learned to trust and listen. Her teacher saw an immediate improvement with her math skills and a new interest in the subject. Zoey simply wanted to do the things that Ella talked about. And Ella had a new confidence in almost everything she did at school, simply because she had made a bond with a younger student that evolved into a lasting impact.
The Mathletes program at Sorensen has built an exciting atmosphere of leadership among the older students who act as mentors. Kids look forward to acting as a positive role model to the younger mentees. They love the idea of teaching math concepts and passing along their skills.
Jeff is a 5th grade student who was selected to be a mentor. Even though his math scores were average, he lacked self-confidence in his math skills and would often shut down because he thought he couldn't complete certain tasks.
After being chosen as a mentor, his confidence in math class increased. As we observed these changes, his teacher created a way for him to help out in his mentee’s class to increase his self-confidence in other aspects of school as well. He is doing much better and has fewer instances where he shuts down when things get difficult.
In our school we are really focused on community. We want to create relationships among students and staff and students and students. Mathletes positively supported our vision and created role models of 5th grade students and gave 2nd grade students a familiar and friendly face in the hallways.
One of our Mathletes students is an at-risk student that struggles with behavior choices at times. In Mathletes he was not disruptive at all. His teacher and I saw his attitude toward math improve and his math skills grow. He greeted me in the hallways with a big smile. His mentor was kind and patient.
It was great to see them develop a good friendship as they worked together. We made learning fun and helped him feel successful. I can see that Mathletes was a very positive experience for him.
Allie is a second grader that was selected for Mathletes based on her test scores and her teacher’s observation of her attitude during math class. Allie felt scared when math class rolled around. She said that she didn’t really like math and was afraid that she wouldn’t do it right and get a bad grade.
She was excited when her family read her the nomination form. She couldn’t wait for the first session to start. As she walked in the first day of Mathletes, she was nervous because she didn’t know who her mentor would be. Her mentor made her feel comfortable by taking time to get to know her before starting with math facts.
Allie enjoyed the one-on-one attention she got from her mentor and that her mentor took time to explain things in a way that made it click. Allie wasn’t afraid to make a mistake with her mentor because she knew that her mentor would help her understand it.
In her own words Allie stated, “I loved playing the games, having a snack and especially the party at the end. (Before Mathletes) I didn’t really like math, but now I do because I’m more used to it. Now I say, ‘Yeah Math!’”
One of my mentors mentioned how Mathletes positively affected her…
"I was able to work with a student who I never had any contact with before and was able to build a relationship with her. We would see each other in the halls and at recess and give each other hugs. I liked the feeling I got when I was able to say that one thing that helped her understand. "