IMMOKALEE - Help! There are ninjas running around the campus of Eden Park Elementary School (EPE)—Math Ninjas, that is!
Recognizing the importance of math fact fluency, math coach Maria Salinas came up with an innovative way to engage all students at EPE. “Math Ninjas is a concept that we came up with to honor students that excel at math facts,” shares Salinas. “A Math Ninja is a student that has achieved academic success with math fact fluency.”
The school began using a program called Quizlet Live to motivate students to master their math facts. Students in first through fifth grade use the program to compete with one another to be the fastest student to solve math problems, while kindergarten students use paper assessments.
“As they compete, students are able to earn prizes with the Math Ninja logo, such as t-shirts, mugs, masks, bandanas, bouncy balls, and pencils… anything to keep the energy in math going!” exclaims Salinas.
A Math Ninja can be a student who has mastered all math facts, won a friendly competition of Quizlet, scored a perfect score on an end-of-learning goal assessment, or scored a level 4 or above on a quarterly District test.
Teachers reach out to Salinas when a student reaches an achievement. “I recognize the child in their homeroom class and stress the significant accomplishment of mastering math facts for our future careers in engineering, architecture, medicine, etc.,” adds Salinas. “I also identify qualifying students on the morning news show every Friday.”
Students appreciate the recognition and acknowledgement. “It felt good because it shows that I am smart,” shares William, a first-grade student at EPE. “It made me feel happy because I worked very hard,” adds Valerie, another first grader.
To show off their accomplishments, students are able to wear their Math Ninja attire each Monday with jeans in what has become known as Math Ninja Monday. “Our students are now highly engaged and motivated to achieve mastery of their math facts,” notes Salinas.
“I feel very proud of myself for reaching the title Math Ninja,” states fifth grader Bryan. “Mrs. Salinas is very cool and she is always encouraging you to do better.” First-grade virtual student Leah says it best, “It [Math Ninjas] makes me happy and excited…and I enjoy my Math Ninja cup!”