Monthly Archives: February 2009

Update on project at Hohokam Middle School

Here is an up-date on a local project. In the Stories section of our Web site, we reported that, last winter, a team of individuals from Tucson Unified School District ran a Math for Parents Mini-Course at Hohokam Middle School for parents from Hohokam and Johnson Elementary (a feeder to Hohokam). It was so successful that other feeder elementary schools wanted to join in and the district decided to offer two sections of a new Mini-Course this winter.In our Web site story, we mention that the demographics of Hohokam is 49% Hispanic, 49% Yaqui, 2% anglo. Yaqui is a local Native American tribe. When tribal council members found out that an average of 40 parents attended each of the 8 sessions of last winter’s course, they were astounded. They had never attracted that many parents to a single parent event – ever.

So, right now, two sections of Geometry for Parents are taking place for parents of Hohokam, Lawrence, Johnson, Miller, and Maldonado students. One section takes place in the Hohokam school library. The other takes place about a mile away at Southwest Education Center. The sessions of the course take place every Tuesday evening, 5:30-7:30. They began January 5. Since sessions build on each other, the ideal is that each parent participant attend all 8 sessions.

The model the Hohokam team is using to facilitate the course is kind of a team-teaching one. Last November, Mary ran two, 6-hour workshops here on campus to train a group of 12 teachers from the participating schools to facilitate the courses. At each Mini Course session all these trained teachers show up – more or less. At the session I attended last week two were facilitating; the others circulated to answer questions and provide encouragement. Next session, roles will be reversed. This model of facilitating is sort of new for us. In previous Mini-Course offerings, the model was one facilitator throughout the course — a master teacher (not always from the parents’ kids’ schools) — and a couple of assistants circulating among the parents. The Hohokam model has a real plus. Since the facilitators are from the participating schools, there is a strong buy-in from the teaching staff of each participating school.

At the session I attended, there was a lottery for half a dozen baskets of goodies. These were handed out with a lot of fanfare at the end of the session. I think this happens every session. Last Saturday Mary ran a third workshop for the facilitating teachers to debrief the first half of the course and to complete their training for the Mini-Course. We should hear from Mary on this, soon. Stay tuned!



MAPPS Training

Recently I have had the opportunity for the first time to facilitate MAPPS training as a video conference here at the University of Arizona with a group of teachers from Griffin, GA. This session was on developing fractions, decimals and percent concepts using colored tiles, pattern blocks, base ten blocks, and tangrams.  Although the teachers said they enjoyed the session and activities I felt there was a missing piece to the training as I wasn’t there to visually see them work with the manipulatives. Additionally it was difficult to hear their conversations while they were working in their groups as well as getting them to participate in whole group discussions when otherwise it wouldn’t have been a problem if I was actually present in the room. Is there any one that has experience in video conferencing with the type of facilitating I experienced?  I would love to hear from you and any pointers you may have to offer.

– Mary