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Fourth Grade boys ranked in top 100 in nation for First in Math

Kathy O’Quinn and her dynamic group of boys gather in the computer lab at Hendersonville Elementary so they can log on and try to earn more stickers.
Photo by Christie Slocum

First in Math is an online program that school children around the country participate in. The program Fuels the desire to learn, Ignites the passion for excellence and Motivates the drive to achieve. When we were first contacted in the fall by Kathy O’Quinn, fourth grade teacher at Hendersonville Elementary School, her class had already started making huge strides in the First in Math Program. It was explained at that time that the class of 15 boys had two main goals for the school year. They wanted to be in the top 100 for the country and they wanted to earn 100,000 First In Math points by the end of the year.

The single gender class is the last of its kind in the Colleton County School District. O’Quinn loves the challenge of teaching an all boy class. So far she has been pretty successful at it as this is her eighth year teaching an all-boy class. This year she refers to her students as an elite group. She loves teaching boys and challenging them. She says watching the boys rise to her challenges drives her to teach harder in her 21st year of teaching. Her students love the competition First in Math provides to them. O’Quinn said the boys are also excelling in the Accelerated Reader program as well.

Each student has an account with First In Math, and each day during Math time the boys race to play new games on the computer in hopes to earn “stickers” which act as points. Students only earn stickers for problems they have solved correctly. The boys have even found some new games within the program that earns them more stickers than before, a strategy they do not plan on sharing with other students who are also competing in First In Math. Amari Colvin, one of the students in the single gender classroom, earned 200 stickers on Friday alone by finding these new games. He has a brother, Jamie Colven, who is in fifth grade and he said he will not be telling him how to earn the large amount of stickers.

O’Quinn is really excited about First In Math. She says it has caught on very well and is super addictive. “The kids run in every morning and go straight to the classroom computers to see who the player of the day is and where we are in the rankings. I was very proud of my boys for making it to the top 100 in the nation and we will now try to see how far we can climb. First In Math is the most motivating math tool I have ever seen and it is another tool to prepare the children for state testing”, said O’Quinn.


Christie Slocum (191 Posts)