January 16th , 2014 10:34 am Leave a comment

Hands-on sessions provide teachers Common Core building blocks

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Photo by Brandon Hicks

Photo by Brandon Hicks
Little Milligan teacher Suzette Markland, Keenburg teacher David Holder and Hampton Elementary teacher Jake Jenkins solve problems Wednesday using manipulatives their students will also use when Common Core standards are fully implemented during the next school year.

Although Carter County students were out of school Wednesday, teachers had their own lessons to, not teach, but learn.

TNCore brought teachers in grades 6 through 8 and one 5th grade teacher together to unpack and play with new tools, which the county and state hope will improve students’ math skills.

“We have some materials and manipulatives here,” said Kevin Ward, Carter County Schools director. “Each school has a representative here to train on them.” Manipulatives are materials used to help students learn through hands-on work, such as interlocking cubes, blocks or even popsicle sticks.”

Brooke Shanks, Carter County Schools instructional coach, said the materials have been in the county’s possession for about a month.

“We are just now getting them out and playing around with them,” she said.

Phyllis Poston, Title math instructor at Cloudland Elementary, said her participation in the lesson-building exercise has been wonderful so far.

“This is too much fun to be getting paid,” Poston said on Wednesday.

The workshops include a TNCore representative who helps teachers understand how the materials align with Common Core standards.

“We are working on developing lessons and units that are Common Core-aligned through the use of manipulatives,” Shanks said.

Amanda Waits, TNCore regional math coordinator, said the manipulatives appeal to various senses, which may help a variety of students learn more rapidly.

“We looked at the district data,” she said. “The district data showed that there was a need for support and professional development in the middle school area.”

To see the rest of this story, log on to the Elizabethton Star’s e-edition or pick up a copy of our award-winning print edition, available through subscriptions, in boxes and at vendors throughout Carter and Johnson counties. The e-edition is free to subscribers. Others may pay a daily, weekly or monthly fee to access the e-edition.

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