We are proud to introduce our 36th Sunday Spotlight, featuring Anne McCluskey who is a Teacher in Massachusetts. With enthusiasm, Anne works to share the magic of math with students by connecting math to real world experiences. Anne admits to being a data geek, enjoys how Edulastic allows her to personalize instruction, and enjoys living on a beautiful lake! We hope you enjoy the interview with Anne.
13 years working in education
“I tell my students that math is magical, and I am determined to watch ALL my students discover the magic.”
Get to know Anne McCluskey
What do you love about working in education? What motivates you?
Students . . . making math REAL for students and witnessing the ah-ha moment. The challenge to connect a students real world to every lesson. I tell my students that math is magical, and I am determined to watch ALL my students discover the magic.
Why did you become a teacher?
I became a teacher to attempt to change students perspective that they were not good at math. Not necessarily to create a love for math, but to help students understand how to succeed. My promise to students and parents is to make the math I teach in the classroom – every topic – applicable to a students real world or future real world.
What is your “Edulastic story”?
I began using Edulastic to prepare my students for computer based State testing last Spring. Immediately, I noticed the level of student engagement increase. Students complete more problems during a class period and ask more questions when I am using Edulastic assignments. Test anxiety has decreased which I contribute to students viewing one problem at a time rather than several pages of problems. I recently compared my quarter 3 class average for a class to the average for last year’s quarter 3 and there was an 8 point class average increase. There is more accountability for students to complete work. Middle school students can struggle with organization. This year, my students have an online portfolio of practice problems, quizzes and tests that they can access from anywhere. Edulastic has provided me an opportunity to individualize instruction and focus on exactly what students do not understand.
Describe your favorite Edulastic “aha” moment.
My Edulastic “aha” moment happened when I began to prepare review questions for our district mid-term in January. In the past, I would rely on repeated review of key concepts and hope students were realizing success. Edulastic assignments allowed me to address specific areas of weakness and uncover common misconceptions without reviewing every detail of every problem. I fully admit to being a data geek – Edulastic provides me with tons of data and a platform for me to sort and organize data for my classroom needs, as well as, my administration’s needs.
What are your teaching/learning goals this year?
My goal this year was to enter ALL my assessments into Edulastic so that I could track mastery of standards for my students. I took the time I would normally have spent in the copy room and dedicated it to entering meaningful and interactive computer based questions. I wanted to reduce the amount of paper used in my classroom and provide students with an online portfolio of their learning.
Sum up your teaching philosophy in a few sentences!
I believe if you are energetic and excited in front of students, they will listen. I tell my students often that math is magical. I challenge them to trust me and follow my lead. We will all get to the end together.
Favorite motivational idea:
Math teaches us that every problem has a solution.
Tips for new Edulastic users:
The greatest struggle was obtaining technology for my classroom. Our PTA and administration was extremely supportive once they saw the data I could produce using Edulastic and the level of student engagement. Infrastructure became a hurdle for our school, however, with support we successfully have our middle school students online without challenges.
Favorite Edulastic question type?
I have two – graphing and multi-step. Students who struggle with fine motor skills and details are able to successfully graph linear equations and accurately find solutions to systems of equations. Multi-step allows me to prompt students and their recall of topics through various question types. Very helpful for larger questions and scaffolding for students with accommodations.
Favorite snack while using Edulastic
Spring or Fall?
My favorite book is a children’s book – Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
Best tactic for getting the class quiet?
I sit quietly. It takes seconds for a student to notice I am waiting, and then they silence the class for me!
Must- have classroom Decor:
A poster a former student painted for me – fractions are friends!
Favorite time of the school year and why:
Quarter 4 – our school’s focus is STEAM. During quarter 4, I have large projects that allow students to apply their understanding and experience the MAGIC of math. Topics connect and students realize their own mathematical growth.
Kindest compliment you have received from a student or teacher?
I never thought I could be good at math. You make math make sense.
Funniest student moment?
I had a student who did not buy into the idea of math being magical. One could say they thought my love for math was odd. However, one day as they were completing a problem, the stars aligned, the math made sense for them, and they realized success. Without realizing they were speaking out loud in class, they exclaimed, “Whoa, math really is magical!” The best part was the stunned look on their face. The entire class broke out in laughter.
Greatest accomplishment in the classroom this past year:
I have a student who perservered and brought their average from a D to a A. The best part is they had no idea the progress they were making until I showed them their quarter average. Their response was, “WOW, make finally makes sense!”
How do you like to spend your free time?
Cooking and enjoying the beautiful lake I live on.
How has Edulastic changed your classroom?
Edulastic allows me to work with students individually, addressing their personal instructional needs, while all students are actively engaged. Students get immediate feedback and I can quickly provide interventions to each students’ specific need.