Climbing the Ladder of Success
Identify and Fill in those Gaps:
Repairing missing rungs on an old rickety Math academic ladder
From Level 1 to 750
Similar to a video game, everyone starts at level 1 and works through the level progression. However, students enter the game with varying backgrounds and this equates to different speeds of level progression. Some students will race through the levels based on education experience and others will start slower, but gaps in mathematical foundation will be exposed. This is where the magic of the program is revealed.
Imagine climbing a ladder. Students start at the ground level with very easy steps but as they get higher the steps will gain in difficulty. Everyone may be moving along at a steady pace at first until stumbling upon a missing or damaged rung of the ladder. While at the base of the ladder this missing rung was not apparent or visible, but once visible it helps to account for why the student’s ladder is a bit wobbly. It may be a 3rd grade standard or something forgotten more recently, but it still equates to a gap in the ladder. Students take out a ‘tool kit’ and start working on repairing or building the rung until it is nice and polished, then they start climbing again. This happens over and over as they repair and fill the gaps, building new skills and confidence.
At the high school and collegiate levels, the problem becomes apparent when we are trying to teach them higher level concepts that require a solid foundation. Even with previous methods of repair, we thrust them into the stratosphere with a wobbly ladder. Up in the clouds, the student looks down and can only see the wobbly ladder, not the rungs that need to be repaired. The balancing act of learning new concepts and rebuilding old creates a stressful cognitive overload which drastically reduces the students' chances of permanently retaining the new concept. It is our experience that someone still counting on fingers is not going to easily master fractions and if something is practiced for 60 minutes without foundational understanding, it will be lost shortly afterward.
Fluintcy is a modern ‘tool kit’ that creates a more efficient work load while repairing damaged or missing concepts. Fluintcy is all about repairing the foundation in a fun and engaging way. No one wants to go back and do basic addition and subtraction so creating a motivating environment that has these students work on basic math facts is the key to success in their academic careers. One student puts it the best "I can't believe I'm doing that automatically now, I never could subtract negatives.” Now, the rungs are automatically being fixed while the student has enough mental capacity to balance the ladder.
Used as a 10-15 minute "bell work" or warm up exercise, teachers find inherent benefits because it amps up the student attention to the lesson to come. As Mr. Strnad states, "It is very effective and fun bell work that stimulates the teenage mind as we want to capture their attention as fast as possible in a 55 min period." Math Fluintcy at the high school level is laying the ground work for being the most efficient and effective method to build back foundations while not creating a cognitive overload that effects the retention of many students.