In 2000, I had the idea of creating Hoffkids.com as a website where my students could work with math anywhere and anytime they wanted. It would take another 3 years to fully develop this special math/science site.
In the same summer, I earned my first classroom position teaching 7th grade math at Island Trees Middle School where I would meet my future wife Alison; a guidance counselor. Having a goal of teaching 6th grade, in 2001, I left this position at the end of this first year to start teaching 6th grade math and science at Weber Middle School in Port Washington, NY.
Needing a way to test out my math and technology ideas for whole class instruction, in 2002 I spent 100% of my teacher budget to purchase a projector. This would allow the Internet to be part of the student’s weekly experience. It was then I had predicted that every classroom would one day have a projector and a computer on each desk. Now anything was possible in my classroom.
On February 25, 2003, Hoffkids.com was “born,” and supports its claim 17.5 years later to be the most visited classroom teacher’s website. Hoffkids has become a leading website environment for young math learners, and in January 2020 underwent its largest complete renovation of all time.
In 2005, I was one of the first classroom teachers in my school to be using the Smartnotebook software with my Wacom writing tablet before Smartboards were in classrooms. I used a Wii remote and a $20 infrared pen from China to have my students virtually writing on the stone classroom wall using all the Smartnotebook tools (without a real board). My students have led the way doing their math homework with their own virtual classroom so they will know if they are correct right away, and see answer videos made from me to learn from their homework. This saves valuable class time the next day.
Originating out of a need from parents, in 2013, I combined my extensive 6th grade math experience with my integration of technology, to create Hoffkids Online Math Tutoring. This is Long Island’s leading online math tutoring service for 5th and 6th graders. Hoffkids Online Math Tutoring has claimed its online niche as a winner being highly effective, warm, engaging, flexible, and truly innovative. My passion reflects how I truly love what I do in the classroom and with online learning.
My math background combined with my integration of technology, time spent preparing, and ability to relate to children ages 10-12, have attributed to my consistent student successes. My goals for working with students include; reducing math anxiety, raising their interest, increasing confidence, increasing critical thinking, and teaching the benefits of math strength. My expertise is in student motivation using technology to achieve maximum inner desire to learn. This leads to an increase in student confidence, math understanding, and performance.
As of 2019, my 6th grade classroom teaching style transformed going “notebookless” while using “the most innovative educational application ever seen.” Classkick, combined with writing tablets and Chromebooks, led my class to be the first in America to use external writing tablets with Chromebooks to make the math classroom truly 100% engaging for all levels of kids.
I have been inspired by teachers in the United States who are not afraid to take chances and implement effective technology and math applications. I give significant credit to the Port Washington School District and specifically the administration of Weber Middle School and the district’s technology department for fostering a climate of autonomy when it comes to teaching styles. Because of the supportive environment, technological support, and freedom to try new ideas, I feel like the sky’s the limit with how I can reach math learners.
While thankful for the opportunities I have had and the support of the Port Washington families that are very special and dear to me, I never become complacent. Since 2001, I have worked with over 1,300 6th graders developing their math skills, confidence, and interest in math, with technology at every step. Despite this long history, there are always more effective techniques to learn, and the students and the school climate always changes. There is much more work to do.
I live on Long Island with my wife, daughter, and son. I play weekly competitive tennis, and enjoy spending time road biking, computing, working on Hoffkids, drumming at home (Roland V-Drums), tutoring math online, hanging out at my neighborhood beach community, and just relaxing with my loving family. Thanks for reading!