Two RCPS Math Teachers in the Spotlight!
VEA Journal features article by Susan Girdner
What do you do when you're asked to solve a math problem that's unlike any other you've ever seen before? Does your anxiety level shoot up? Not if you're a student in Susan Girdner's math classes at Turner Ashby High School. Susan regularly teaches problem solving skills in her Geometry and Algebra I classes. Having done research on teaching problem solving while she completed her Master's Degree from Eastern Mennonite University this year, Susan shared her findings in a March 2003 article in the Virginia Journal of Education called "Words to the Wise." The article explains the importance of teaching problem solving in mathematics classes and shows some practical ways to help students through word problems.
Susan also presented her findings at the March 2003 conference of the Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
Teaching about problem solving, says Susan, helps students acquire lifetime skills of how to define and attack a problem. It also helps them with their SOL tests because it teaches them to decide which potential answers make sense and which do not. "With the educational focus on more standardized testing, it is important that students can read and process the skills and tools needed to solve a problem."
Susan has taught at Turner Ashby High School for 3 1/2 years.
JFHMS Middle School Teacher Wins $10,000 for School!
Katrina Blubaugh, 7th grade math teacher at J. Frank Hillyard Middle School, won the grand prize $10,000 TRACK award for her school from www.channeloneteacher.com this year. Katrina's good luck came from her entry in a contest for schools who broadcast Channel One. Each day, at the end of the news show, a school name is flashed on the screen for a few moments. Participants in the contest record that name on an entry card. When it is complete, the card is submitted along with all the rest of those from the nationwide audience. "I was never so surprised in my life!" she said when she received the call from Channel One shortly before Christmas.
Thanks to her award, Hillyard Middle will be refurbishing its auditorium this spring. New curtains have been ordered and new carpet is being installed. Hopefully, all improvements will be complete before this school year is over, according to Principal Fred Babbitt.
Katrina also used some of the money to purchase some math manipulatives for her class. She has been teaching math at Hillyard and its predecessor John C. Myers Middle since 1989. Before that, she taught for three years at Luray Elementary and served as a teacher's aide at Pleasant Valley Elementary for two years.
Congratulations Susan and Katrina!
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