Advice for Teachers

Welcome to Mathscribe — you’re going to love it! Our website generates and grades all assignments and tests automatically, freeing you up to help students and just teach. With our interactive textbooks, you rarely need to lecture or plan a presentation. Students are more engaged than with paper textbooks; they simply learn more. However, experience has shown us that your class will be much more successful if you follow these simple guidelines:

  1. Start at the beginning of the course. It’s tempting to dive right into the middle of the course with a really difficult lesson or exercise, but this works out much worse than it would even with a traditional paper textbook. Your students (and you) need time to learn our user interface, the importance of reading each question thoroughly, how often to ask for help, in what format answers are expected, how to check progress in the gradebook, and other skills. This is all much easier to do in our early lessons, where we go more slowly and explain everything that’s new. If a review lesson seems very easy, it will go very quickly and the students will still learn something, or at least be reminded of material they may have forgotten. If you are just evaluating Mathscribe on a trial basis and only have time to do a few lessons with your class, and you must skip the review lessons, then at least start at the beginning of a chapter.
  2. Don’t skip any lessons or exercises. Students, especially teenagers, will want to skip the exercises, and even the lessons if you allow them. But usually the exercises are very quick, literally taking about 1/10 as long as a lesson if the student has understood the material. They are well worth the time, and the practice they give is essential. Also, later lessons depend on earlier ones, so lessons must not be skipped either. (Lessons and exercises that are repeated in more than one Mathscribe course need only be done once by each student.)
  3. Track your students’ progress in the classroom and the online gradebook. Mathscribe is interesting and engaging for most students, but teenagers can be easily distracted by the internet and other students. Keep them focused by walking around your classroom, and standing behind the class where you can view everyone’s screen, and what the students are doing. During tests, check that they are only using any notes or web pages you have decided to allow. Tell your students that their work will count in their course grade, and how to check their progress from the My Classes page. (From there, they can each see their own line in the class gradebook.) Have students work at their own pace, and if they finish a lesson before a class period ends then they should start the next exercise or lesson.
  4. Help students when they get stuck. Our material is rigorous and challenging, so students will occasionally get stuck. If not helped, they will get frustrated and distracted. To help them effectively, you must familiarize yourself with each lesson before most of the class reaches it. You can also have the students help each other, as long as you ensure they don’t just copy answers. (The exercises and tests are generated with random numbers, making copying and cheating harder.) You may want to have slower students work through the lessons in pairs, with each student on their own computer.