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An encore for math

Posted: Wednesday, Feb 8th, 2017

Students in Math Intervention work with peg boards to practice graphing. While this is the first year Rochelle Middle School has offered the class, the room was equipped with technology and manipulates purchased with grant funding. (Courtesy photo)

Shop, music, chorus, technology, computer, art, math: most would say math does not belong in that combination of elective classes. However, for a small group of students at Rochelle Middle School they are spending their encore time in an extra math class.

New this year at RMS Katie Queller-Zillis is teaching a math intervention classroom. Based on math teacher recommendation select students spend one period of their encore schedule working with Queller-Zillis in an extra math class.

“Math intervention is an extra math class with a small group of students to help boost up students who have struggled but teachers know they can do well in math,” explained Queller-Zillis.

While this is the first year RMS has offered the math intervention class, it began a step ahead thanks to the Farmer's Insurance grant Vic Worthington was awarded for the school. With grant money, Queller-Zillis was able to start the school year with a classroom equipped with tools to help the students visual math problems in a hands-on manner. The room is equipped with a Smart Board and document camera allowing Queller-Zillis to lead students while interacting on the board together. Students are also able to see the math problems with visuals using fraction towers and graphing blocks.

With the fraction towers students are able to stack cubes and see addition and subtraction of fractions by eliminating and adding blocks manually rather than writing the problem on a piece of paper. On the graphing blocks students are able to graph with rubber bands on a peg board.

“The benefit to having the manipulatives is the students are doing the same type of problem in a slightly different way,” explained Queller-Zillis.

The curriculum in Queller-Zillis's classroom may match what the students are doing in their regular math class other times she may teach a lesson the students previously struggled with and at other times she pre-teaches to give the students a head start. Rochelle Middle School is on a trimester schedule and a students may be in math intervention for one trimester or the whole school year.

For the complete article see the 02-09-2017 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 02-09-2017 paper.

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