MELBOURNE, Fla. — A+ Teacher Kelley Milton really knows how to make learning math memorable, as she uses unique techniques that she says really add up.
What You Need To Know
- Kelley Milton teaches sixth-graders at Sherwood Elementary School in Melbourne
- Milton leads students in chants, songs and games to learn math
- She says the goal is to replace the fear with fun and says after a while, the children start learning to trust themselves
- Here's how you can nominate an A+ Teacher
Milton likes teaching sixth grade because she can remember that time clearly from her own childhood and admits she was not a perfect sixth-grader.
She says, "If you were to talk to my parents, they would tell you that sixth grade was not a very good year for me. I was getting into a little bit of trouble — nothing bad — a little bit of mischievous and skipping a lot of homework."
She says she had an amazing teacher who got her on the right track. Milton says because of what she went through then, it probably has made her better at teaching sixth-graders now.
"Because I know where these kids are coming from," she adds.
Milton went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she majored in elementary education. She says she also worked as a librarian for a small public library, so traditionally gravitated toward teaching reading and social studies. About eight years ago, her principal at that time noticed that she was able to explain math in a way that she understood and suddenly Milton says she was teaching math.
There is a high-energy vibe in Milton's classroom at Sherwood Elementary School that's both engaging and challenging.
"That's what we're focusing on doing in here. … I’ve really tried to find ways to break it down into pieces that make sense to kids, especially those who don’t have a lot of confidence in their math skills. I try to emphasize the relationships between numbers," she says.
Milton adds, "I use voices. I sing. I chant. I'll stand on top of chairs. To me math should not be a spectator sport."
She says she loves to see when it clicks for her students, when they are really starting to get it.
She adds, "They get this idea that math is hard, and if we do it right, then they start learning that it's not hard."
Doing it right means instilling into the students that they can actually do the work.
"It's just a matter of breaking it down and looking for relationships, looking for the patterns, and we also try to make it as fun as possible. I mean, the kids are usually happy and excited to come to math. It ends up paying off in the long run because they're super engaged," Milton says.