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2 woman and a man stand smiling.
Michele Lee (right), fifth-grade teacher and IMPACT2 mentor

Teacher training for Poplarville and beyond

Fifth-grade teacher Michele Lee travels from Pearl River County to a two-week MSU Extension conference every summer because she’s learning teaching techniques that help her students understand math better.

Lee, who teaches at Poplarville Upper Elementary, acts as mentor to first-time teachers at Extension’s In-depth Mathematical Practices and Content Teacher Training workshop, better known as IMPACT2. The annual summer workshop is facilitated by the Center for Technology Outreach, and Lee says being a leader at the conference is also being a learner.

“This conference isn’t your typical workshop where you sit all day and listen to someone talk; here, we learn like our students learn, and we all learn from each other,” she explains. “The math instruction at this conference is great. We make notebooks, charts, and foldouts, and I take them all back to my school where I have my students do their own.”

Fifth-graders decorate their notebooks, and they write reflections on the concepts their class is reviewing. Lee says art reinforces math

concepts, and students benefit from writing about math since state assessments also require writing about proofs.

“Whether it’s division, exponents, or whatever we’re studying, they can copy from me into their notebooks, and they go on to show me what they learned, write the proof, and reflect on what they learned from it,” she says. “They remember it.”

Lee teaches every subject in her fifth-grade classroom, and she appreciates teaching opportunities that enable her to combine several subjects to reinforce one central concept. She says her students simply understand better.

“We’re building the habit of learning,” Lee emphasizes.

Her classroom is also benefiting from IMPACT2’s online learning community where teachers may ask questions about math instruction in different grade levels. Lee says her classes are learning the foundation for the standards they’ll learn in both middle and high schools.

IMPACT2 is funded by the Mississippi Department of Education through a Math and Science Partnership grant provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

Partners and presenters at Extension’s 2015 IMPACT2 workshop

  • NASA
  • East Central Community College
  • LIGO, the Livingston Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, which detects and measures gravitational waves
  • Marilyn Zecher, Atlantic Seaboard Dyslexia Education Center, discussed multisensory mathematics instruction

IMPACT2 teacher-mentors

  • Konya Johnson, Mount Olive
  • Tammy Krutzfeldt, Poplarville
  • Michele Lee, Poplarville
  • Bill White, Louisville
  • Jackie Wintruba, Gulfport
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Extension Matters Volume 1 Number 2.