OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Two Oklahomans started a program for children using math and music and a cast of characters.
Erin Hines just launched an interactive website called Ally Dog Depot with her father.
It mixes her passion for teaching math to small children with her dad’s music teaching background.
“Music is so mathematical that once we titled it ‘All Aboard the Music and Math’ … it was like, ‘Oh, I hated math when I was a kid. I want to give my kid a head start,’” Hines said.
The curriculum started more than 10 years ago in her Norman classroom.
An independent study showed children in Norman who took Hines’ curriculum had better problem-solving skills.
She’s since upped her lesson plan with hands-on activities and videos that tell a story about a train conductor and his dog.
“I suppose you just need to find a steady beat when you hop,” Puppet Ally said in a recent story.
The familiar face you see is News 4’s Lucas Ross, who got the part because he looks like the character Hines created years ago.
“And they’re just like, ‘You look just like Connor the Conductor,’ and I was like, ‘Who is that?’ and it was the character they were using for their curriculum,” Ross said.
“To have the video component and then take it off the screen, if you will, to do hands-on activities because that’s where we know children really start learning and understanding things,” Hines said.
Anyone can sign up for the Ally Dog Depot website and the curriculum changes every month.
Hines wants to give the first 500 people a free membership.
She says it’s a way to keep children learning outside of the classroom and in a family setting.
“It’s not designed to replace anything that a classroom teacher is doing in the classroom. It’s just to enhance it,” she said.