MaryJo Fralick was in awe as she watched students guiding each other through the process of learning math. As part of Fuller Street Elementary School’s venture into Personal Mastery Learning, the school held Mini Math Camps Jan. 13 through Jan. 16 that teamed classrooms of different grade levels that allowed students to learn at their own level.
“This is the most awesome way to teach,” said Fralick, who serves the district as a part-time mastery coach and part-time special education instructor. “I am very thankful Maple Valley is doing this.”
Teachers served as facilitators as their students, grouped according to readiness level, held what are called conferences. The conferences allow students at one level to teach students at a different level. The students doing the teaching demonstrate their mastery of the subject while also reviewing the material. Students a level behind have the opportunity to work toward mastery of the material.
“One team was Natalie Donovan, a third grade teacher and Valerie Hall, a second grade teacher,” Fralick said. “They looked at which Common Core standard they wanted to review and selected double digit addition and telling time. The students were grouped according to data and the third grade students reviewed the material while teaching the second grade students.”
Personal Mastery Coach, Heather Bross said the camps were a huge success.
“Facilitators Natalie Donovan, Val Hall, Amy Johnson, Shannon Powers, Carmelle Markwart, Tammi King, Railey Sebolt and Patti Braun are leading the pack forward in the district’s goal to meet all students need at their readiness level,” Bross said.
Fralick was impressed at how engaged the students were at all levels.
“Everybody is at there level,” Fralick said. “Some kids move a little faster and this allows them to be more engaged in their learning. To me this is the only way that makes sense. No one should waste their educational time.”
Teachers as well as students had the opportunity to reflect on the experience on Friday, Jan. 17. Bross said she heard several positive comments from students as well as comments on how to improve the process.
Bross said students were quoted saying, “I loved everything about math camps;” “It was great to work with kids from another class;” “I learned how to carry in double digit addition and she (his math buddy) taught me;” “Teaching him helped me because if I know it that well that I can teach it, I must really know it;” “I didn’t like the worksheets, but I liked creating a math game with my group.”
Students also suggested splitting up boys with boys and girls with girls as well as the opportunity to meet with more than one class.
Fralick said teachers plan to hold mini camps each month, working toward offering language arts camps during the 2014-2015 school year.