In addition to putting on a TEAM-Math/AMSTI-AU summer mathematics workshop at the Opelika AMSTI facility, professors from the College of Education recently conducted a workshop for elementary mathematics teachers from the surrounding region at Ogletree Elementary School in Auburn. The project was led by principal investigator Margaret Flores, Associate Professor in the Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation, and Counseling, and co-investigators Megan Burton, Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching, Vanessa Hinton, Lecturer from the Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation, and Counseling, and Professor Michel Smith from the College of Sciences and Mathematics.
“The purpose of this workshop was to help special and general education teachers learn to work together to teach mathematics in an integrated classroom setting,” Flores explained. “The Alabama College and Career Ready Standards have changed, so our teachers must be comfortable working together to convey mathematics to a wide variety of students.”
The staff spent one full day training teachers. The following day students came into the school for a hands-on session. The students were recruited from the Auburn City School system to attend the workshop.
“Our recruitment pool was really any first through fifth grader,” Flores said. “What that means is that we had students here who love math and are good at it, and students who like math but aren’t necessarily good at it, to those who may need extra attention. We have a varied group of students, a genuine cross-section of our student population, which hopefully replicates a typical classroom situation. We told them up front that this was meant to be a fun learning experience for the students.”
Each grade level had its own classroom, and there were four teachers in each room. There were 15-20 students per class, so it looked like a regular school classroom. In all there were approximately 120 student participants, and 21 teachers. Each classroom was active, and the children were having fun engaging in math concepts often organized like collaborative games.
“This setting gave our teachers an ideal opportunity to put into practice what we taught them about collaboration before the students arrived,” Flores said. “Our education partners who are here were invited from the fifteen school districts in our region, and they are here because they want to be here. These educators are giving up six days of their summer vacation to work on this eight hours a day, just to help their students by becoming better teachers and leaders. I admire their dedication and know that our students are fortunate to be able to work with people like this in the classroom every day.”