Teaching Strategies Shared Across School Districts
Posted On:
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Ms. Anderson, Mrs. Boland, Mrs. Doyle
Ms. Anderson, Mrs. Boland, Mrs. Doyle
Chapin Street teachers and Meadow Brook teachers (East Longmeadow) collaborate on Eureka Math Program

A recent visit between 2nd grade teachers at Chapin Street School with 2nd grade teachers at Meadow Brook School in East Longmeadow was a welcomed opportunity to not only share teaching strategies but also to share their passion and love for teaching.  In many ways this partnership mirrored a quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry “ If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”   

Ms. Jodi Yarkey, Chapin Street 2nd grade teacher and grade level leader, explained how the visit came to fruition, “Leigh Boland (former LPS 2nd & 5th grade teacher and current math coach at Meadow Brook School) and I reconnected at an Early Numeracy Workshop earlier in the fall. I had many questions about how her teachers were implementing the Eureka math program on the 2nd grade level to make it more engaging for students, beyond worksheets, along with incorporating the math workshop format. Since she is the math coach, she had a lot of information to share.”

Boland explained that the math workshop format takes a 60 minute math block and breaks it into mini lessons including a 5 minutes activator (fluency practice), 10 minute teacher-led  mini-lesson, 40 minutes of workstations (about 10 minutes at each station that include hands on activities, technology, partner practice and a teacher led small group instruction), and then 5 minutes to debrief with the class about what the students learned.

Essential questions were discussed by the Ludlow teachers prior to the visit, explained Chapin Street Principal, Mrs. Nikki Reed. “This process helps to ensure the take aways from these observations would be relevant and applicable for assisting our teachers as they begin to think about implementing the  math workshop model using the Eureka math program. It is important they we know what our students will need from us to make this successful.”

The observations included a short meeting with Boland discussing what the Chapin Street teachers would be seeing, an hour observation, and then time to debrief afterwards. “The collaboration between between these schools  is a great benefit for all teachers,” shared Boland. “ We have been sharing ideas and items through Google.  Both districts adopted Eureka math last year so it's wonderful to have a district so close with the same initiative.”

Boland went on to explain, “Through conversations, visits, and emails we are able to brainstorm ideas, try out new things, and most of all grow as teachers, which directly impacts the way our students learn math.  It's very exciting to see the changes in math going on in the area.  Teachers are encouraging children to learn through guided discovery, making mistakes, explaining their thinking, and working together.”

The Chapin Street teachers appreciated the opportunity to observe new techniques and bring back new ideas to add to their toolkits. Yarkey summarized the overwhelming positive benefits of this collaboration stating, “We are very grateful to Mrs. Spear and her students for opening their classroom to us. It is fantastic that we can work together, collaborate and share ideas with another school system in our area. This was such a positive experience that we hope will continue to grow in the future.”

Ms. Anderson, Mrs. Boland, Mrs. Spear, Mrs. Doyle 

Photo credits: Ms. Jodi Yarkey


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