Educator Spotlight: Laura Bello

Ms. Laura Bello, a Special Education Teacher in Calumet City, Illinois, first heard about Reflex at an RTI meeting. Right away she was “excited to hear about a fun program that tracks progress on basic math facts, which is something so many of my students struggle with. I have found that almost all of the students in the 4th grade class I work in struggle with math fluency, not just my special education students.”

She uses Reflex in her classroom as one of her centers. “It is perfect because the students do not need any help from a teacher to do it. Reflex is something that they do completely on their own.” Her students enjoy the games in Reflex, “and the fact that they are really getting their facts down pat.” The games also “keep the students interested and make them want to work hard!”

Many of her students’ goals include math facts mastery. Ms. Bello is a fan of the program’s reports and regularly shows the data to parents and the Special Education team at her school. Quite a few of her students have already achieved 100% fluency, and Reflex has really helped them build their math skills.

“There really is no way around it, students need to know their facts in order to do longer problems. When students struggle with basic facts, it takes brain power away from the thinking involved in higher-order thinking problems and multi-step or multi-digit problems. Having math facts memorized frees up their brain power for more involved thinking.” The results she’s seen with Reflex have been very good. “I am very pleased at how my students knowing their basic facts has helped with multi-digit multiplication and division.”

Math fact fluency is also the subject of Ms. Bello’s research project for her Master’s degree. She is studying “whether math fact mastery boosts district-wide standardized math test scores and whether math facts mastery leads to more confidence for students in math.”

She adds, “The fact that so many of my students are becoming fluent speaks wonders about this program! I love Reflex and would recommend it to any teacher who wants their students to work independently on math fact fluency. I also highly recommend it for teachers of students with learning disabilities that need help with memorization of math facts.”

laura bello special education teacherLaura Bello is a Special Education Teacher at Wentworth Intermediate School in Calumet City, Illinois. She attended Illinois State University and just received her Master’s Degree from Olivet Nazarene University.