Anna Tobeluk Memorial School is located in Nunapitchuk, a Yup’ik Eskimo village in Western Alaska about 30 miles west of Bethel. There are approximately 195 students in this K-12 school and Lonny Cruff is the math teacher for all students, starting in 7th grade.
Lonny found it challenging to provide each and every student with individual attention, a difficulty that many teachers are all too familiar with. Lonny used another math program in his classes, but found that students were not engaging with it as much as he wanted. One reason why students were not engaging was that the program would show the worked-out solution after the student submitted an answer, but if a student didn’t understand the explanation the first time, getting the same explanation the second or tenth time was no better. So, Lonny looked for a product that could not only support kids in a way that would help them understand skills and concepts but also keep them engaged.
Why did you choose Knowre?
I chose Knowre for a number of reasons.
- I liked the Walk Me Through feature’s ability to provide explanations at a granular level. The fact that it drills down as far as it needs to in order to adequately support students made it easier for students to get the help they needed. It’s individualized so different kids get the exact support they need.
- I like that kids can go at their own pace – it’s an effective self-paced product. They can go as far as they want to go and it doesn’t leave struggling kids in the dust. Kids decide how fast to move through lessons and there’s a lot of autonomy.
- I also like that Knowre speaks to kids in a way that encourages kids without making them feel bad. I’ve heard students say “it doesn’t make me feel dumb.”
How do you use Knowre in your classes?
I use Knowre daily, for about 10-30 minutes on laptops. I find that 15-20 minutes is an optimal amount of time – it’s long enough for students to stay on task but not so long that the students lose focus or attention. I don’t assign Knowre lessons for homework since the kids don’t have internet access at home (we live in a very rural area).
I use Knowre with my Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1 students, primarily with remedial students. The Walk Me Through feature and the granular level of support really helps my remedial students. But, because Knowre also offers Geometry and Algebra II, I like that I can help students move ahead if they are ready and want to be challenged.
How has Knowre impacted you or the way you teach your math classes?
I like the flexibility of the program and the fact that I can use Knowre in a lot of different ways. It allows me to provide individual attention to my students. I also like the reporting. While I feel like I have a pretty good handle on how my students are doing in the class, I like that I can pull up the data and show it to others if there are any questions from administrators or parents. I also like that I can look to see what students are working on and it helps to keep them accountable.
How has using Knowre impacted your students?
It’s helped my students in a number of ways. Students build foundational skills without feeling like they are being talked down to. They don’t feel bad about not getting every problem in a chapter all correct. The explanations are granular and it keeps the kids on task.
The kids don’t groan when they have to use Knowre whereas they did so with our previous math program. The key for me is that the kids like it. Our job as teachers is motivation – get people to do what they need to do and Knowre helps with this goal.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share?
I like that Knowre helps me to reach everyone in the classroom. It gets everyone to do something they can do. And, it’s an opportunity to change behavior. As soon as you lose student attention and interest, that’s when you lose them and bad behavior can result. Knowre helps to keep kids engaged and everyone is working on a level they can handle.