Every Thursday in Gridley, Kansas, 3rd-grade teacher Chelsea Williams honors her students with awards. But not just any awards. Williams celebrates students with certificates recognizing immense math fact fluency progress using
The power of Reflex: 30 days to transform a classroom
Adaptive and individualized, Reflex helps students (grades 2-6) develop
fact fluency and math confidence through game-based practice.
“I first heard about Reflex from a friend who taught in another school district,” said Williams. “She told me that she did the teacher trial and that her first and second-grade students had shown tremendous growth in the 30-day free trial that she had done.” Williams started the school year with her own
Reflex trial and later received a Reflex Grant for her classroom and the 4th-grade class.
“Our school’s strategy changed this year after I started Reflex. The other grade levels started noticing what we were doing in our classroom and that the students were picking up on their math facts really well after seeing them receive their awards on Thursdays. The other teachers decided to sign up for the trial, and our school ended up purchasing Reflex for 1st-5th, and Frax for 3rd-5th.”
Going for the Reflex Green Light
Williams teaches in a 3rd-grade general education classroom at Gridley Elementary School (Unified School District #245). “My students are facing the challenges of living in a rural community, and some have a low socioeconomic status within their homes. This can mean they aren’t reading at home or practicing math facts. Coupled with the lasting effects of COVID-19, students struggle with different educational aspects,” said Williams. The school is a Title I campus, and Williams provides her students with as much one-on-one help and individualized lesson planning as possible.
Her students complete Reflex practice in the afternoons at the end of each math lesson. They work hard to achieve the
Green Light, a daily motivator for students and an indicator of a successful day of math fact fluency practice.
“We added time to each school day to ensure that
everyone gets a Green Light. We also don’t seem to spend as much time working on our math assignments because it doesn’t take the students as long to work out the math problems since they know their facts,” noted Williams. “I enjoy the fact that Reflex makes learning math facts fun for the students. It teaches them a short lesson on one concept, and then they play games to continue practicing math facts. I like that they can get the Green Light to know when they are done,” said the teacher.
“The students are so excited to get on Reflex every day and get their Green Light. I hear them say ‘Yes!’ or ‘I got my Green Light!’ every day. They just enjoy the program overall. Reflex makes it fun and engaging for them, instead of me drilling them with flashcards and quizzes.” -Chelsea Williams, teacher
The lasting impact of strong fact math fact fluency
Since starting Reflex at the beginning of this school year, Williams has seen an increased willingness from students to practice their math facts.
“My overall impression of Reflex has been that it is AMAZING!” said Williams. “Reflex supports student success and learning in my classroom in many ways. The students can grasp the concepts of their math facts and fractions to where they are fluent or know them off the top of their heads. This will considerably increase their understanding of mathematical concepts as they get older.”
“I had one student that started the school year (mid-August) on addition and subtraction. By the first part of October, they were 100% fluent in addition and subtraction facts. I moved them over to multiplication and division (before I even started teaching it). They are 60% fluent now, and I have only been teaching multiplication for two weeks. It has given them a head start on understanding pieces of multiplication and the relationship between multiplication and division.”
Williams has also observed a greater understanding of addition and subtraction up to 1,000. “The students don’t struggle as much with understanding where the numbers are coming from and going to. Multiplication has been an easier transition for them too because they know their addition/subtraction facts better, so skip counting and multiplication come easier to them.”
How does Reflex compare to other math resources?
Williams has tried multiple digital math tools, but the difference was clear after trying Reflex. “Reflex is so much better! It is more interactive and gamified, which keeps the students engaged and learning. The other apps we used were dry and boring, making the students hate math fact practice,” said the teacher.
But the praise for Reflex extends beyond her classroom. “I attended my own child’s parent-teacher conferences last night. My son is a 4th grader, and I mentioned Reflex to his teacher and the Title I teacher at their school. They were really excited to see the program and how it works!”
Chelsea Williams has been teaching 3rd grade for three years. Before her current position, Chelsea substitute taught and worked as a PreK-12 paraeducator for multiple years. She has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a Master of Science in Early Childhood Unified from Emporia State University, and she’s actively finishing her Building Leadership studies at Pittsburg State University. Chelsea has been married to her husband, Brandon, for ten years. They have three children: Skyler (freshman at K-State), Colt (4th grade), and Kendall (2nd grade). Chelsea enjoys camping and boating with her family when she's not teaching. A fun fact about Chelsea is that she was adopted as a baby!