Area grade-school teachers learn new tricks for the classroom

Fifty-four grade-school teachers are taking part in The Academy for Excellence in Math and Science Education on the Marietta College campus.

Teachers from Southeastern Ohio participate in this nine-day conference to improve teaching methods in math and science skills. This year’s topics are in mathematics (Number Sense) and in science (Earth and Space).

“This is the first year we have incorporated science and math into the curriculum,” said Evy Bryant, third-grade teacher at Phillips Elementary School.

It is the third year Marietta College has hosted the conference. It began June 21 and ends July 1.

As “teachers of the teachers” both Bryant and Kim Hiatt get to select the materials and the format taught to other teachers.

“We teach whole group and small group activities,” said Hiatt, fourth-grade teacher at Phillips. “We model for them team teaching and offer strategies to make it easier. We also learn a lot from the other teachers.”

The teachers must plan five lessons into their curriculum throughout the school year. They also have follow up days to attend throughout the school year, which give guidance and even teach new skills. This year they are even given the opportunity to take their class to the Anderson Hancock Planetarium to learn more about the Earth and space.

Teachers practice their lesson plans on four afternoons to local schoolchildren.

“The best way to learn is to practice,” said Elaine O’Rourke, Director of the program.

Approximately 80 school-age children from the Betsey Mills Club and the Boys and Girls Club listen and participate in lessons taught by teachers. Afterward the teachers reflect on their lessons and find ways to tweak their lesson plans to make them better. These lesson plans can be brought back to their classrooms.

“I heard about this opportunity through (Marietta College’s) Education Department and felt it would help my resume and teach me new skills,” said Michael Scalise ’10. “We learn various skills and the methods of Marzano. We then come up with our own lessons for different aged students.”

The teachers share ideas throughout the conference and discuss topics in math and science that are difficult to teach.

“I came to this program because I was interested in learning math skills,” said Rhea Russell, Intervention Specialist for grades one through eight at St. Mary’s Elementary School in Marietta. “I work with lots of students in math.