## What folks are saying

Three *gecko mathematics *institutes were conducted at Truman State University in 2008 and 2009. Goals of this initiative were to impact the mathematical understanding and achievement of students in Missouri, by increasing the fundamental mathematical knowledge of teachers and giving teachers strategies and materials for teaching the principles taught in *gecko mathematics. *

* *

Teachers who have participated in *gecko mathematics *institutes at Truman State University this year had these comments about their use of *gecko mathematics *strategies and materials in their elementary and middle school classrooms:

**Phyllis Quinn, Richwoods R-VII Junior High Teacher:**

We’ve looked at number lines, graphs, word and number sentences, pictures and any other way we could think of to examine and work a math problem. My students have loved being able to share their own ideas with their peers. They love being able to show a new way to solve an old problem. And YES, it did help to strengthen the students’ knowledge and understanding, as well. I don’t know how many times this year I’ve heard students exclaim, “THAT’S how that works!” or “NOW I UNDERSTAND WHY WE DO THAT!”

**Angela Fields, Green City R-1 Middle and High School Teacher:**

I have seen great gains in my students’ understanding of mathematical topics.”

**Cari Weaver, La Plata R-II Elementary School 6 ^{th} Grade Teacher:**

When I first started this process with

gecKo mathematics,I did not dream my students would make the gains that they did. My 6th graders enjoyed doing the Korean mathematics and used many of the new strategies throughout the entire year. The hands on lessons were so enjoyable and made a lasting impression on my students.”

**Pamela Halstead, Callao C-8 Schools Primary Teacher:**

I know that my kiddos have gained confidence and knowledge. It’s like sneaking up on them and teaching, as they learn, without their ever knowing they’re learning. Pow!”

**Danielle Ebeling, LaPlata R-II Elementary First Grade Teacher:**

My students remained engaged and productive throughout the lessons, which significantly cut down on behavior problems. My class has been excited about our math time and really look forward to it! I am amazed at their ability to explain their thoughts and help each other with the learning process.”

**Lynette Curtis, LaPlata R-II Elementary Primary Teacher:**

I did not think the

gecKo mathInstitute would change or impact the way I taught math. However, after implementing thegecKomethods into my core curriculum, I have found an overwhelming difference in students’ performance. It was beneficial for students to use manipulatives, to develop number sense and basic operations of addition and subtractions problems.”

A Kansas City teacher with a large Hispanic population credited the project with helping her English Language Learners.

**Emily Graves, Gladstone Primary Teacher, Kansas City Missouri School District:**

The mathematical language is strong in

gecKobecause each lesson has a teacher explanation page. Using this language specifically in direct mini-lesson teaching has been very beneficial to my ELL students.”

**Another Kansas City District teacher, Troy Sawyer, 6 ^{th} and 7^{th} Grade Math Teacher at Primitivo Garcia Elementary claimed he,**

… taught in three weeks what it took me two months to teach last year, and this year they all got it!”

**Rebecca Duguid, Primary Teacher at Woodland Elementary in the Kansas City Missouri School District:**

I have gained a deeper appreciation for the need to provide depth to my instruction of math. I have also been given a toolkit in order to provide that more in-depth instruction. My students made significant gains when I incorporated

gecKo mathintoInvestigations in Number, Data, and Space.”

Responses to the project’s internal evaluation instrument indicated considerable changes in teacher behavior over the course of the project. Wrote these teachers:

**Phyllis Quinn, Richwoods R-VII Junior High Mathematics Teacher:**

I’ve changed my teaching style significantly as a result of

gecKo mathematics. I am no longer one of those teachers who demonstrates to the class one way to solve a problem, expects the class to copy my example, and then assigns dozens of practice problems. Now, my students are actively involved in the learning process. They examine a problem from many angles and are invited to share their discoveries and methods with me and the other students. I’ve seen improvement from that alone.”

**Angela Fields, Green City R-I Junior High Mathematics Teacher:**

GecKo has given me many tools to use with my students such as lessons that involve number lines, pictures, manipulatives, vertical solving, horizontal solving, and word problems. I have incorporated these tools into my curriculum for all of my classes and have seen the benefits.”

**LaCosta Rennells, 2 ^{nd} Grade Teacher at Green City R-I Elementary School:**

The 2 week institute was a true eye opener for me as an educator. The hands-on demonstrations and in-depth mathematical conversations were all valuable resources I took back to my own classroom.

gecKo mathhas changed, not only the way I teach math, but how I think about mathematics.”

**Sharon Howe, Primary Teacher at LaPlata R-II Elementary School:**

I did not feel this would have an impact on my classroom! I didn’t have a connection to the

gecKo mathat first. Once I understood that it had underlying principles and wasn’t just another curriculum, I began to see the benefits. I was pleasantly surprised to see my positive results. I have changed the way I teach in a way that seems to work better for me in teaching and assessing my students. Making students think was enjoyable and very successful in reaching the desired results. My students became thinkers and problem solvers rather than students who compute answers. Students had a deep understanding of the concept which enabled them to attack any problem rather than memorize facts. Students were always engaged, challenged and excited to learn. Student journals were great tools for assessments. I got much more for their explanations rather than graded papers.”

**Cara Weaver, 6 ^{th} Grade Teacher at LaPlata R-II Elementary School:**

When I first started this process with

gecKo mathematics,I did not dream my students would make the gains that they did. My 6th graders enjoyed doing the Korean mathematics and used many of the new strategies throughout the entire year. The hands on lessons were so enjoyable and made a lasting impression on my students. My teaching style has changed in a way that now I ask myself, “How else can I teach this? What hands-on approach can I use? How does this relate to Base 10?”

**Holly Whitacre, 4 ^{th} Grade Teacher LaPlata R-II Elementary School:**

Did I initially believe this would have such an impact in my students? No. The module I taught was geared toward all learning styles and levels. I was able to help my students find success in a “foreign mathematical system” with the learning goals we have. My students were engaged and anxious to see what we would be doing each day. My approach to teaching mathematics is now more hands-on and in-depth questioning where getting the answer is not more important than the approach students use to get the problem solving process going.”

**And another, Lynette Curtis, Primary Teacher at LaPlata R-II Elementary:**

The

gecKotheory has changed the way I have introduced and taught math lessons. I was able to reach all learners by using a variety of activities to support mathematical concepts.”

Internal anecdotal data we have on the effect on teachers of the institutes show the value of committing to pre- and post testing for formative purposes as well as for summative purposes. Participants used assessment data they gathered to monitor the effectiveness of their instruction. More than one teacher reported she had used assessment data much more effectively than she had ever used it before. Being required to construct pre- and post-assessment instruments on the concept modules they developed to integrate into their classroom mathematics instruction seemed to make teachers much more aware of the benefits of formative and summative assessment.

**Phyllis Quinn, Junior High Mathematics Teacher at Richwoods R-VII Elementary wrote:**

I’d like to comment on my use of pre-tests and post-tests. The only subject I regularly administered pre and post tests for was spelling! However, I have found that not only does the testing give me a greater grasp on what my students are accomplishing in class, but it also has taught them to use the pre-tests as a sort of introduction to our new unit. The first pretest I gave my class greatly frustrated them. I was faced with questions like, “Why are you testing me before you even teach this to me?” and “How are we supposed to know this? We haven’t even learned it yet.” and comments such as, “I can’t do this.” and “I know I am going to flunk this because I don’t know what any of this means.” Yet, they quickly learned that not only did the pretests tell me where they were beginning, but it also told them a little about themselves, too. They looked forward to taking the post-tests so they could show me (and themselves!) how much they had learned. It ended up being a great motivator to learn and perform well.”

These teachers wrote enthusiastically about the *gecKo math *institutes.

**Cindy Roberts, South Shelby Middle School**

Helping student become actively involved in developing a foundational understanding of fractions has been the key factor of the gecKo Math Project. At first I was very curious but somewhat apprehensive about how successful it would be. I’ve “been around for several moons” and have seen “lots of quick fixes” instituted. The gecKo project focuses on some basic principles (problem solving and exploration) to develop a deep

understanding of the foundations of mathematics. I’m sold.”

**Marlee Mocumbi, High School Teacher, Madison C-3 School**

Last summer after leaving the two-week workshop, I was excited and frustrated. I knew it would work and I had confidence using it. I just wanted more. More time, more information, more conversations with other individuals that had bought into gecKo math as well.”