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Magnolia 4th graders finish strong in fall math challenge

By Tanna Friday

For The Tribune

TRUSSVILLE — Around 60 fourth graders at Magnolia Elementary School (MES) diligently logged in online between Oct. 30 – Nov. 17 participating in the biannual National Dreambox Fall Math Challenge competing with over 9,300 classrooms in all North America.

Pictured are MES Dreambox Challenge 4th grade top performers by class: Jesiah Wright (Hendricks), Anay Patel (Woods), and Aymarie Bryan (Horn) with 4th grade teacher Elaine Horn.

DreamBox Learning is an interactive, adaptive, self-paced math program that provides engaging activities for students to learn and practice mathematical skills. Available both online and iPad platforms, DreamBox allows for teachers and parents to measure their lessons while the program selects a series of lessons and activities for individual needs.

Fourth grade teacher Elaine Horn creates class challenges through DreamBox regularly and was ready for the competition.

“On Oct. 29th, I was actually going online to assign homework, and when I opened my account, I saw this challenge button,” said Horn. “I clicked on the link and saw that the challenge began on Oct. 30th. I felt like this was a sign for our classes to get involved.”

From Oct. 30 – Nov. 17, MES fourth graders spent time before and after school, during class time, and on weekends to accurately complete as many lessons as possible.

Magnolia student Skylar Harvey says she didn’t waste anytime getting started.

“As soon as I heard about the challenge, I told my mom about it and worked for an hour so,” said Harvey. “When I was finished with my homework and other stuff, I would go back and do some more DreamBox.”

Horn said that it was just small things to keep the students motivated throughout the challenge.

“DreamBox is really fun, and the kids love it anyway, so it’s not too hard to get them motivated,” said Horn, “but it can be hard to maintain their grit throughout the challenge.”

Another student, Ava Claire Foster, says that she stayed motivated by the overall competition.

“The most exciting thing was probably hearing all of the different scores,” said Foster.

Periodically, teachers can log online to view how their classroom is ranking in the challenge.

There were several incentives throughout the challenge that kept the students motivated.

“One incentive was the homeroom that completed the most lessons at the end of the week would receive a doughnut party,” said Horn. “Another incentive was a weekend challenge. I told students that the top student in the each class would receive their favorite candy bar and drink bought by your teacher,” said Horn.

Genna Cluff, new to Magnolia Elementary, says that she really didn’t know about DreamBox before starting school.

“We had DreamBox for homework, and it was really fun,” said Cluff. “I like how it adapted around your skills. When I heard about the challenge, I went home and stayed up late to finish the lessons.”

Cluff’s motivation won her homeroom a class incentive where she received her favorite treats from her teacher, Mrs. Horn.

After 19 days of intense competition, the MES fourth grade class ultimately outperformed 872 classrooms in the southeast region and 9,307 classrooms nationwide. The southeast region consist of classrooms from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Fourth grader, Matthew Blake, enjoys the challenge of DreamBox.

“This challenge was pretty fun,” said Blake. “I remember one night in November, I started the DreamBox around 7 p.m. and ended around 9:30 p.m.”

One thing that all students agree on is that DreamBox is educational and fun. Blake says that setting a goal for DreamBox is not needed.

“I didn’t really set a goal,” said Blake. “If you set a goal then you feel like you’re maxed. I don’t like to have a max. I like to go over and beyond.”

All classes will be rewarded for their efforts after the holidays.

Magnolia Elementary 4th Grade Scores:

  • Jessica Wood’s class placed 4th regionally and 33rd overall;
  • Elaine Horn’s class placed 9th regionally and 55th overall; and
  • Kimberly Hendricks placed 32nd regionally and 182nd overall.

Top Performing students:

  • Anay Patel completed 40 hours and 236 lessons;
  • Aymarie Bryan completed 24.4 hours and 193 lessons; and
  • Jesiah Wright completed 20 hours and 111 lessons.
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