We are proud to introduce our nineteenth Sunday Spotlight, featuring Mike Isaacson who is a 8th grade Math Teacher in Utah. Mike loves seeing young people experience the “lightbulb” moment, he likes how digital assessment helps empower students, and his favorite animals is the platypus. We hope you enjoy the interview with Mike!
8th Grade Math Teacher
South Cache Middle School
5 years working in education
“When my students could see that they had missed a question, I had more go back and fix their problem without me telling them how to do the math. Just knowing that they had done something wrong was very empowering to them and to me because I could see their growth.”
Get to know Mike Isaacson
What do you love about working in education? What motivates you?
I love interacting with students because they are full of wonderful ideas and great, great potential.
Why did you become a teacher?
I toyed with the idea of becoming a teacher since high school because I’ve had some amazing teachers throughout the years. After high school, I started to believe the lie that you can’t make a living teaching so I started studying Engineering. After a semester at University and a two-year break I came back to school knowing that I loved working with people and I loved seeing young people experience the “lightbulb moment”.
What is your “Edulastic story”?
Last year I was on a committee made up of 6 middle school math teachers in order to decide which curriculum we should adopt for our district. One of the most major concerns about changing our curriculum was assessment. Some teachers felt like we were going to go back in time if we didn’t have a technology component that allowed for quick and efficient assessment. As we searched, one of the teachers mentioned Edulastic because it allowed for fully customizable questions that could be tied to our core standards. I was intrigued so I gave it a go with the free trial.
From the first quiz I made I was hooked! I took my experience back to our committee and convinced our District Math Curriculum Lead that we needed the program. Since then I’ve become (and this is my official title at the district) the Edulastic Guru, working under the Director of Curriculum.
Describe your favorite Edulastic “aha” moment.
My aha moment happened in a wave of three: the live feedback allowed me to do interventions quickly and efficiently, the customizability of the program allowed me to assess my students at a deeper level, and students appreciated getting their scores instantly. When my students could see that they had missed a question, I had more go back and fix their problem without me telling them how to do the math. Just knowing that they had done something wrong was very empowering to them and to me because I could see their growth.
What are your teaching/learning goals this year?
My teaching goals this year is to get my students to see their progress. I’m convinced that learning is a choice and the choice to learn is made easier when you can see progress.
Sum up your teaching philosophy in a few sentences!
Everyone can learn!
Favorite motivational idea:
A mistake is only bad if you don’t fix it! Mistakes allow our brains to problem solve and if we can problem solve, we are learning!
Tips for new Edulastic users:
GIVE IT TIME! You wont create the perfect quiz the first time, BUT give it time and don’t give up because a little time put in creates great dividends in student success.
Favorite Edulastic question type?
Favorite snack while using Edulastic
Freia (Norwegian) Chocolate
Spring or Fall?
Best tactic for getting the class quiet?
Look at the clock as if I’m counting seconds. The students realize what I’m doing and they self regulate very quickly.
Must- have classroom Decor:
Favorite time of the school year and why:
September because students are getting into the swing of things and there is nothing to distract them from the task at hand.
Kindest compliment you have received from a student or teacher?
“Mr. Isaacson, I didn’t believe you when you told us that we would use this math all the time but, man, was I wrong. I use everything that I learned in your class!”
Funniest student moment?
It’s a, “you had to have been there” kind of moment, but I had a kid come up with the most amazing story problem that involved space travel and the Mighty Zimble. His oration was top notch.
Greatest accomplishment in the classroom this past year:
Getting students OK with making mistakes.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I love to be with my family and I love woodworking and knitting.
What is your favorite animal?
A platypus – it’s a snake, beaver, duck, and bear all wrapped into one!