Tim Smith, 8th Grade Math & Algebra 1 Teacher, Bristol City Schools

As the math standards keep changing, the lessons learned from the Eastman Scholars Mathletes program stay constant. (The Mathletes program is a partnership between the ETSU Center of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Education and the Eastman Chemical Company.)  I just completed the Mathlete program for the second time.  The first time I went through the program I was amazed to learn that it really is ok to slow down and go deeper with each standard.  As I began to make changes to my teaching strategies I noticed a rise in my test scores.  Is this by chance?  I think not!
Most recently, as I went through a second round of the class, I paid attention to the task-based teaching. I learned more about how to be a facilitator, not just a giver of information.   I have already implemented the five elements taught to us by Dr. Ryan Nivens. (Dr. Nivens is one of three instructors who teach in the program.) When doing a task my students are to write an equation, create a table, write the process in words, draw a graph, and draw a picture.  My students are getting better at showing their knowledge using these elements which is improving the justification of their work.

Overall, I have learned to be a facilitator; a facilitator is more than just standing around.  It is being able to connect with all my students and challenge each one at his/her respective level.
More information about the Eastman Scholars Mathletes program can be found on the Center’s web site: (http://www.etsu.edu/cas/math/mathexcellence/).

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