URI students’ projects in math education yield positive results

KINGSTON, R.I. — December 9, 2004 — Four students in the University of Rhode Island’s School of Education moved to the head of the class this fall as they shared the results of their service-learning projects with hundreds of math teachers from around the region.

At the annual meeting of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics in New England, Assistant Professor Anne Seitsinger and four of her elementary education program seniors, Casey Sabourin, Marissa Luciano, Jennifer Postel, and Nicole Chiello, co-presented a session entitled, Service-Learning and Parent Involvement in Mathematics Education. The conference was held in October in Providence.

The presentation focused on many exciting, collaborative service-learning projects created by the teacher candidates for their class on Mathematics Methods in Elementary Teaching. These projects were developed to foster collaboration with families to support student learning of mathematics.

Examples of projects included math journals, student interviews of their parents’ uses of mathematics, mapping routes from home to school, strategy games, and a math scavenger hunt. These and other student projects supported student learning of mathematics with families of more than 1,450 students from nearly 60 Rhode Island elementary school classrooms.

“The project introduced me to a level of teaching in the classroom that I had yet to experience. It showed me first-hand how important it is to develop relationships with parents and guardians to support student learning,” Chiello said of her in-class service-learning experience.

“This was the students’ first professional conference presentation and it was well received,” said Seitsinger who is also the acting director of the National Center on Public Education and Social Policy. “The students were able to talk about their work with seasoned math teachers and gained some valuable feedback that they’ll likely put into place in their own classrooms after they graduate. Nationally, the need to strengthen math education is vital and sharing new instructional strategies among teachers at all levels will be a significant ingredient for success.”

The students who presented and their hometowns are: Nicole Chiello is from Warwick, R.I., Casey Sabourin is from Rumford, R.I., Marissa Luciano is from West Caldwell, NJ, Jennifer Postel is from Manalapan, NJ.