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Math in the Crete Middle School Tiffany Lothrop Action Research Project 2005-06 School Year

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Tiffany Lothrop 11 years of experience 3 yrs with Papillion-LaVista Public Schools @ Papillion JH 7th & 8th grade Math 3 yrs with Lincoln Public Schools @ Goodrich MS 7th grade Math Starting 5th yr with Crete Public Schools @ Crete MS 7th grade Math

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Education B.S. and M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction from Doane College Math in the Middle Partnership Directly related to what I am teaching Working with other teachers Working with the 8th grade teacher in my school in the partnership

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Action Research Questions Does technology integration in the mathematics curriculum lead to improved academic achievement? Can students become better problem solvers by working collaboratively and by using self-assessment to determine if they have chosen effective problem-solving strategies?

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Why is this important? develop problem solving activities to build new mathematical knowledge, applying knowledge, adapting a variety of appropriate problem solving strategies to daily life, AYP and STARS standards create uses of technology in our classrooms essential in teaching and learning middle school mathematics and enhancing student involvement and learning generating techniques of how the curriculum is presented using technology to improve instruction

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Why is this important? generate knowledge of problem solving techniques to use grades 5-8 to create continuity and improve AYP and STARs testing create a curriculum guide for all current and future teachers with a new knowledge of exactly what concepts are being taught, learned and mastered at the 5 – 8 levels adopt new math curriculum textbooks for the next school year that reflects our new alignment

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Literature Review Students focus on finding an answer rather than trying to understand the mathematical processes and ideas that are needed in problem solving and by using more complex and real life problems, this enhances their mathematical reasoning (Hekimoglu, 2004). The use of collaborative problem solving activities within the classroom setting to help students to understand the importance of how people can solve a problem using a variety of methods and strategies (Coy, 2001). Students’ preference for working in pairs or triads to discuss the problem to be solved between them selves and with the teacher (Ursini, Orendain, Sanchez, & Butto, 2001).

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Literature Review The use of technology within in our curriculum to not only enhance the learning, but increase student involvement in the problem, be more creative in their process, defend their thinking, and a willingness to look for other ways to solve a problem (Ursini, Orendain, Sanchez, & Butto, 2001). Students today are surrounded by technology. Schools need to reflect what is happening outside of their walls. The more technology and problems that the students can connect to their own lives and background knowledge will then translate into a new knowledge base for them to solve future problems (Coy 2001).

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Data Collected for Problem Solving Administer a student survey about their feelings regarding problem solving at the beginning and end of the study. Videotape lessons involving problem-solving activities. Administer the standards test 8.2.2 (AYP) about problem solving at the end of the study.

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Data Collected for Technology Keep records of types of technology used & journal of teacher thoughts in selecting lessons and activities using technology. Videotape lessons involving technology. Administer a student survey/questionnaire about technology in the classroom at the beginning and end of the study.

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Analyzing the Data Recorded findings from students, teachers, journals and videos on colored notes cards Sorted according to overlying themes

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Findings and Connections technology integration in the mathematics curriculum does lead to improved academic achievement students can become better problem solvers by working collaboratively students used self-assessment to determine if they have chosen effective problem-solving strategies About 80% of the students reported that they liked having technology used in their math classroom and they feel more confident when problem solving in math with the use of technology.

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Findings and Connections A 10% increase to 70% of the students who liked working in groups on math problems and their choice for who to ask for help if they get stuck was now the same for a friend and the teacher Students reported that they felt good about themselves when they solved a math problem went from 36% to 70% of the students the percent of students that stated they liked math went from 60% to 74%

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Implications of this study Problem solving is very important to helping students see the application to their own lives and to help prepare them for their future The use of technology with in our classroom is very important with letting the students see where math can take them while also using it to teach them mathematical concepts

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Implications of this study As teachers we need to have more discussions about how best to present problem solving skills or tools that students can use to solve problems, within our own district We need to go into each other’s classrooms to see how each of us teaches the math concepts and how students are best learning those concepts

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What next? Research and use the new technology that came with our new textbook series Table-partner sharing before group sharing Presenting problems in groups Integrate Habits of Mind problems Sharing and creating resources of these findings with 5-8 level teachers

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