June 21, 2007
By Anna Marie Finley
Fifty early childhood teachers from 12 Appalachian counties will be better prepared to help children learn math through literacy skills, thanks to a $100,000 grant through Ohio University's Appalachia Reads program. The funding will be used to host two Better Mathematics through Literacy workshops and follow-up sessions for the teachers.
"Mathematics and literacy complement each other in a child's learning process," said Carolyn Ervin, Appalachia Reads program director. "We see these workshops as an opportunity to improve math communication and math understanding in the early childhood classroom."
The goal of the workshops is to build a foundation for early development of children's math skills by incorporating a strong literacy component into mathematics education. The funding comes from the federal Improving Teacher Quality State Grants program and is administered by the Ohio Board of Regents.
"One of the things that we look at in the workshop is how we bridge the (math) operation with thinking skills to allow students to use their thinking rather than fact memorization," said Tim McKeny, assistant professor of mathematics education. "(One thing) the participants will be doing is making their own children's counting book that they can in turn take back to their classroom. That way the students will construct their own understanding in these thinking skills in making their own counting book." McKeny, along with Associate Professor of English Linda Rice, and Early Language and Literacy Specialist Lisa Baker, will lead the workshops.
The first workshop will be held on the Ohio University Athens campus July 9-13 and will host 25 early childhood teachers from Adams, Athens, Gallia, Meigs, Morgan, Jackson and Washington counties. The second workshop, scheduled for July 23-27, will be held on the Ohio University Eastern Campus and will also host 25 early childhood teachers from Belmont, Guernsey, Monroe, Noble and Tuscarawas counties.
Based in the Scripps College of Communication, Appalachia Reads promotes and strengthens the work of literacy providers in Appalachian Ohio.
Better Mathematics through Literacy is a collaborative project involving Appalachia READS, the Scripps College of Communication, the College of Education, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Ohio University Literacy Center, Ohio University-Eastern, the Southeast Ohio Center for Excellence in Mathematics and Science and eight designated high-need school districts from Appalachian Ohio.