Teacher candidates in Mr. Thomas’ EDU 3410 STEM and Project Based Instruction in the Middle Grades course took advantage of the classroom technology Shorter provides to “meet” with classroom teacher, Sherrie Nackel. Ms. Nackel uses problem solving and math workshop to teach 7th graders at Forrest Park Middle School in Franklin, Wisconsin. Candidates researched the topic to prepare for the meeting and through active dialogue saw how Ms. Nackel implemented this powerful approach to teaching mathematics. Candidate Kristen Causey noticed the power of the model commenting, “I really enjoyed getting to learn how Mrs. Nackel incorporates workshop into her classroom. It’s amazing how engaged the students are with the content because of the workshops.”
Mr. Thomas became of aware of Ms. Nackel’s work by communicating with her via Twitter and reading her blog. She enthusiastically accepted the offer to meet virtually with the class. The meeting supplemented the classwork led by Mr. Thomas to demonstrate to the candidates how problem based instruction and math workshop can lead to students gaining a deep understanding of their content.
“The Google hangout meeting with Mrs. Nackel was extremely beneficial to the teacher candidates, said Thomas. “They were all able to see the content of one of our textbooks come to life because it was being done successfully in a classroom. The candidates also saw how this idea can be implemented in other contexts. Not every candidate has a math focus, so they were able to apply this model to their other subjects, which will help them in their careers one day.”
Candidate Bailey Wheeler agreed, “Having the opportunity to talk with Ms. Nackel positively impacted my views on a workshop model in the classroom. I feel very confident that the workshop model can be applicable in all content areas and will increase student engagement and performance.”
Laura Whitlow, a Secondary Mathematics Teacher Candidate said, “Our Google Hangout with Mrs. Nackle was so neat! We learned so much about what math workshop looks like in a real classroom, and I think that our discussion really helped confirm/validate the things we have been learning as a class all semester!”
In summary, candidate Methany Thornton emphasized how she will use what she learned in the real world, “Mrs. Nackel is a rock star of organization. I am excited to implement the workshop model and a replica of her blog in my ELA classroom. The Friday letters are a great way to get feedback from students.”
Founded in 1873, Shorter University is a Christian university committed to excellence in education. The Princeton Review annually includes Shorter on its list of best Southeastern Colleges. Shorter University is a member of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). Shorter offers traditional bachelor’s degree program in 50 areas of study, online courses and degree programs, undergraduate programs for working adults, and four master’s programs. Shorter is online at www.shorter.edu.