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Nov. 16, 2011
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab


SRU education students multiply skills at math conference


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Sixteen Slippery Rock University students, many of whom plan to teach secondary education mathematics, had the opportunity to expand their teaching talents at the recent Pennsylvania Council for Teachers of Mathematics Conference in State College.

            Four of the students presented, said Judy Werner, associate professor of elementary education and early childhood and a conference planner.

            “This was our first conference ever that included student presentation, and it was very successful,” Werner said. “I am certain the conference will include and expand the student participation portion next year.”

            Samantha Corvino, a graduate program secondary education candidate from East Greenbush, N.Y., plans to teach math. She was among the SRU students who presented a poster at the conference.

“My poster was based off an article in ‘Teaching Math in the Middle School’ magazine published by the National Council of Teachers in Mathematics. It dealt with a special multiplication chart designed for fourth graders. The chart is cut into strips and can be manipulated to various multiples to help students visualize the concept of multiplication,” she said.

“I talked to other teachers and student teachers about the project and answered their questions as part of the presentation. Some said they could see good use for the idea in their own classrooms,” she said, “I did the project mostly for course work here at SRU but the project might be a little too elementary for the upper-elementary level students I plan to teach.”

            “This was really one of the best conferences I have ever been to. It was well organized and the first education conference I have attended. As an undergraduate, I went to math conferences, but this conference was really very useful in gathering ideas that I might actually be able to use in my classroom. It also dealt with political issues and current trends in education. The material that was presented was very diverse and useful.”

            Corvinio, who is a member of the student chapter of the Pennsylvania State Educators Association and plans to graduate in May, said she now plans to attend the PSEA Conference before graduation.”

            Stephanie Trbovich, an elementary education major from Pittsburgh, said she found the conference “Awesome.”

            As a presenter she offered a poster titled “The Olympic Mathletes,” that dealt with the basic facts of fractions and with the different levels of difficulty students have with the facts related to fractions.

            “It covered such topics as two-digit, three-digit and four-digit computations and specific areas students often struggle with such as dividing by zero and other specific skills,” she said.

            The project could help younger students by offering a daily or weekly problem project, she said.

“The students would have time to work on the math project based on their own level,” Trbovich said. “First graders, for example, might see the same project for a week; higher grade students might get a new project every day.”

            “The idea came from an assignment in my “Elementary Methods” class. I will definitely use the poster’s idea in my classroom when I am a teacher,” she said.

“The conference offered a lot of workshops and presentations that I attended. It gave me great ideas for resources and there was an area to review different textbooks and other learning aid devices so I have a lot of ideas to pull out of my bag of tricks down the road to help my student learn,” she said.

            Other students attending were: Mary Rushin, an elementary education major from Freedom and SRU NCTM president; Katie Sopczynski, a mathematics major from South park; Karen Yurkiw, an elementary education major from Slippery Rock; Adam Baumgardner, a mathematics major from Murrysville; Steve Ways, a mathematics major from Monroeville; Andrew Smith, an elementary education major from Monroeville; Patricia Goldinger, an elementary education major form Ford City; Aja Verno, an elementary education major from Bethel Park; Tara Stackhouse, an elementary education major from Thurmont, Md.; Kaila Kramer, a mathematics major from Murrysville; Jenessa Allshouse, a mathematics major from West Sunbury; Sherry Linn, a secondary education major from Slippery Rock; and Jordan Lambert, an elementary education major from Bethlehem.

Werner will also lead an SRU student contingent to the PCTM Pre-service Teacher Day in Camp Hill next October.