by Lew White, Mathematics Teacher – Sandwich High School
To paraphrase: “a teacher’s work is never done….”. During summer vacation I took two courses.
The first, informally called “AP Summer Camp” was conducted under the auspices of the College Board at St. Johnsbury Academy in Vermont. From July 12 to July 17, David Bock, an author of our Statistics textbook and one of the readers for the AP Statistics Exam, conducted a class for experienced AP Statistics teachers from all over New England.
It covered course content from the perspectives of learning roadblocks, technology tools, assessment methods, critical thinking, and communication skills. For me it was a watershed event that provided valuable insights into ways to help students succeed in what may be their first college level course. Since then I have been working on a Sandwich High School AP Course Audit for approval by the College Board to help ensure that our students are prepared for the next May’s AP Statistics Exam. Students who pass this exam not only become more attractive college candidates, but in many cases may also qualify for advanced placement and/or course credit, depending on their achievement.
From August 5 to August 12, I studied Differentiated Instruction in Mathematics, with nine other teachers from Southeastern Massachusetts, here at Sandwich High School. This postgraduate course is part of the Masters in Education program at Fitchburg State. It was taught by Marcie Abrahamson, a teacher experienced with these techniques and one of the featured speakers at last summer’s National Council of Mathematics Teachers conference in Boston.
Differentiated Instruction is a way of teaching that simultaneously provides different students with different pathways to learning according to their readiness, preferred learning modes, and interests. Other teachers attending this course were from all grade levels, including – to my surprise – two other experienced AP Statistics teachers. As the final requirement for the course, I am currently completing a small portfolio of differentiated instruction projects to illustrate its use at Sandwich High School.
It has been a whirlwind summer.