Skill Acquistion and Shifting The Culture of Learning: An Interview with Joe Mogus

"This is where true learning takes place because the kids are now talking with each other, criticizing but in a positive way"

"This is where true learning takes place because the kids are now talking with each other, criticizing but in a positive way"


Happy summer everyone! Last week, I sat down with Joe Mogus, a 4th grade teacher, who has been using Formative for the past year! I was curious about a math program that Joe uses (Everyday Mathematics) and he revealed how he used it with Formative to not only help his students acquire new skills, but also shift the culture of learning in his classroom:


Joe: It’s a spiraling curriculum where some concepts are introduced, some are acquired, and others are mastered…The way I was able to use Formative and really propel my instruction is by putting it all on Formative…while I am teaching the kids are working on their iPads…I walk around with my personal iPad to see what they are doing and project it up to our smart board and remove the names…and of course the kids could see 75%- 80% have the right answer and the responses all look similar except for their own quirks…but then I’d be like, "look at the one in the second row...why does that one look different?" All the kids would look at it and say “oh that person did this” and by the end of the year, I didn’t even have to remove the names because the community I built and the conversations we were having, the kids would be like “oh that’s mine, I just made a mistake" or "oh, I didn’t even think of it like that". That’s really where Formative was really able to transform my classes!

David: It sounds like it really started to help you shift the culture in your classroom.

Joe: Well it really started with shifting my view. I usually have to be in control of everything…now I don’t have to be, I facilitate and by being able to have that little bit of control through formative where I can see what they are doing I am able to feel comfortable enough to facilitate the conversation and the culture in my classroom. This is where true learning takes place because these kids are now talking with each other, criticizing but in a positive way, so using their critical thinking and they are being creative…using their interactive whiteboards where they can do different colors, different thing. Whereas paper and pencil are just grey and white!

David: We are going to be adding a lot of new tools for students to show their work, including an undo button, shapes tool, and an equation editor as well!