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Student Voice of Kalaepōhaku

The Collegian

Student Voice of Kalaepōhaku

The Collegian


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“Keiki Cards” take Math to a New Level


Saint Louis seventh-grade math teacher, Charlie Clausner, has created a tool to help elementary school students learn math.

Keiki Cards are interactive flashcards that aim to improve the math literacy of students in first grade, third grade, and above. Keiki cards also include Hawaiian animals to connect the students to the local culture.

Clausner originally wanted to create video games but pivoted to creating physical manipulatives for students to use and play with in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I love game-based and play-based learning,” shared Clausner. “Those were two parts of what I practiced in my classroom that I wanted to bring into Keiki Cards.”

First-grade students use the 0-20 addition and subtraction versions of the Keiki Cards. Third-grade students and above use the 0-12 multiplication and division versions of the Keiki Cards. Clausner plans to produce advanced versions of Keiki Cards for the students who are using them now as it appears to be too easy for students that consistently use them. “Measurements, exponents, algebra, there’s a lot we can do,” says Clausner.  “It’s just kind of finding the best fit. Who knows, maybe geometry [is] next.”

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Seventh graders work with elementary math students using “Keiki Cards.”

Clausner’s seventh-grade advisory teamed up with first-grade teacher Louise Hurley and her class to help their students bond while improving their math fluency. They have created “Near Peer Math Tutoring,” a collaboration between their two classes to give the seventh graders a chance to mentor the younger brothers. “They meet with the Near Peer big brothers from Mr. Clausner’s class,” explains Hurley. “That adds an extra bit of excitement to it, to have someone else to work with.”

Keiki Cards have been used in the classroom to test memorization, giving the students opportunities to create games of who can get the answer the fastest, while still being correct. Hurley has seen the positive effect it has had on her students in the classroom, as it is “much more engaging than regular flash cards because they’re colorful, and the illustrations are adorable. They just have a little more to offer than regular flash cards.”

Although the development of Near Peer Math Tutoring is still in its early stages, it has allowed the seventh graders to bond and connect with their younger brothers. “We’re trying to do it once a quarter so that our gentlemen as seventh graders can be positive role models to the first graders,” comments Clausner. “That brotherhood aspect, anytime we have a chance to embrace that we will,” adds Hurley.

Keiki Cards, paired with Near Peer Math Tutoring have also gained positive traction from the students tutoring their younger brothers. “I felt kind of nervous at first because I haven’t tutored somebody,” says seventh grader Christian Frietas. “Once I got down there with the flashcards, I didn’t feel as hesitant as before.”

Keiki Cards display a range of various Hawaiian animals to connect to the students’ culture which they have never seen before in other learning tools. “Connecting our kids here in Hawaii to Hawaii and through the animals and the creatures on the cards,” was one of Clausner’s goals in his creation process of Keiki Cards. Students get to see their culture reflected in their curriculum which is not something they have been exposed to before. 

As well as culture, Keiki Cards were made for students to enjoy learning and having fun. “One of our core values of the company is to bring joy,” said Clausner. “Joy has to be at the heart of our company because learning should be fun, movement, and collaboration.” 

Although the debut of Keiki Cards has demonstrated its success at Saint Louis, Hurley thinks that “with the enthusiasm that’s behind it, I think we’re going to see some great progress real soon.” 

Keiki Cards have not only improved quantitative literacy but also the relationships between the gentlemen of Saint Louis. Information about Keiki Cards can be found on Instagram, @KeikiCardsHawaii, or by email, [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Vincent Cruz
Vincent Cruz, Staff Writer
Vincent Cruz has attended Saint Louis School for three years and loves writing because “writing about other people seems fascinating.”  Originally from San Francisco, Cruz is an avid golfer and the youngest in his family. He is proud of his ethnicity, half Chinese and half Guamanian. Cruz plans on “going to college and getting a degree in criminal justice or political science.”

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