Date: May 24, 1995 8:45 PM
Author: Ronald A Ward
Subject: K-12 Articulation
On April 11, Herb Clemons requested information on efforts at K-12
articulation. I am forwarding a posting I drafted last October in reply
to a similar request from Virginia Stimpson.
Here's basically what we did
in the Bellingham school district two years ago in a K-12 effort.
1. We (Jerry Johnson, Millie Johnson, and I) conducted a
presentation for all school principals in the district [on the Standards
and the direction we thought valuable for the district].
2. We then conducted an evening program for all teachers and
parents in the district in which examples and illustrations of the new
directions in math education were highlighted [we ran this twice, once at
each of the high schools]. At these large group meetings, interested
people signed up for year-long monthly seminars, each lasting two hours.
3. There was sufficient response for us to create six different
seminar groups of about 25 people each. We called this year long seminar
effort "Building Bridges and Creating Dialogue." Each group consisted of
a mixture of teachers from K-12, parents, and administrators. We weren't
sure how such a diverse mixture would work, but in the end, it turned out
to be a very good feature of the programs.
4. Each month there was a different theme. For example, in the
third seminar, the focus was related to "Number Concepts, Numeration,
Estimation, and Computation within the context of the Standards.
Students began by sharing the results of two problem assignments
they had been given the previous month but which related to the current
month's theme. Students
were given copies of six supportive references [e.g.,an AT article from
March 1990 by the Reys entitled "Estimation--Direction from the
Standards."]. During the session, the group discussed seven problems
[e.g., a Fermi problem about hamburgers, the game Diffy, et al]. Students
were then given two assignments to complete prior to the next meeting: 1)
They were to select one of the seven problems, modify it, and implement
it in their classroom. They had to do a write up of what happened. 2)
They were to work on a new problem from a different area--geometry--in
preparation for the next class [we gave them the classic Surfer and
Spotter problem]. Again, they had to write up their solution, summarize
their thought processes, and so on. Then, the next month they would bring
these assignments to the seminar and we would spend some time initially
sharing experiences. Following that sharing, the rest of the seminar
would be devoted to the new area of geometry in a way similar to what I
have described above.
5. At the end of the year, we engaged in some assessment
activities and discussed future directions.
In my mind, the highlight of the year was seeing how differently
elementary, middle school, and highschool teachers approached the same
problems. The highschool teachers were quite impressed with the
creativity shown by many with significantly less math background. And
people were able to discuss related issues across grade levels. I thought
the experience was very positive, so I would encourage you in your K-12
Last year, the district built on that experience within its math steering
committee. It also conducted inservice work targeted more to grade level
groups [e.g., the K-2 teachers met all year.] A number of its
intermediate and middle school teachers were simultaneously involved in
one of my Eisenhower grants for developing a network across
intermediate/middle school levels. This past summer, I also conducted two
workshops for K-3 and 4-6 teachers entitled ">From Dialogue to Meaningful
Action." And I now have a significant number of teachers involved in a
new Eisenhower effort partially aimed at extending the network down to
I hope this is helpful to you.
Ron Ward/Math Dept/Western Washington U/Bellingham, WA 98225