GVSU + Rosewood 2nd Graders: A Terrific Partnership!


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Each week the excitement in Jeana Duimstra’s second grade class built as students anticipated their math lessons!  Through a partnership with 19 year veteran Grand Valley State University professor and proud Jenison parent, Pam Wells, GVSU students had the opportunity throughout the month of March to develop and facilitate small group instruction to this excited bunch and it was a joy for all involved.

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Pam and Jeana started working together six years ago but Pam has been working with other teachers in Rosewood prior to working alongside Jeana who was “happy to have the opportunity to work with someone with the math background that Pam has”.  Pam primarily works with students at GVSU who are studying to become elementary teachers and says that “the students who worked with Jeana’s class are almost all math majors with an elementary education emphasis.  They are a part of a fast-paced, intensive course for future elementary teachers that is designed for students with a strong math background.”   

Planning for this unit began by Jeana choosing the topics of measurement and geometry — both areas she felt her students could use more exposure.  “As a part of the course, we worked with Jeana’s students 4 times, twice planning and implementing lessons related to measurement and twice planning and implementing lessons related to geometry.  We looked at the Common Core Standards for 2nd grade. The GVSU students worked with a partner to plan a 25-minute lesson that they taught to two different groups of 2nd graders. We focused on several specific CCSSM content standards as well as the Standards for Mathematical Practice and spent time thinking about differentiation so the lesson could be adapted to students who needed more support to be successful and could be extended for students who were ready for more of a challenge.” – Pam


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Students worked in the same small groups each time so a rapport was built between teacher and student.

“Doing field experiences like these are incredibly beneficial to future teachers.  It gives them a chance to apply what they are learning with actual children and to see how young students think.  It allows them the opportunity to think on their feet and make instructional decisions based on how students respond to their lesson.  They gain experience with classroom management skills and are able to reflect on their lessons and use that information to make plans for the next lesson.” — Pam Wells

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But the GVSU aren’t the only ones benefiting from this partnership!  This education model allows the second graders to work on the concepts of measurement and geometry multiple times and through hands on activities. “This allowed them to expand their understanding of concepts previously taught as well as prepare them for upcoming topics we will study.  They also had a chance to engage in thoughtful dialogue to provide reasoning for their math understanding.” – Jeana 

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Some of the 2nd graders favorite activities were comparing different distances (frog jumps and bunny hops) + playing a strategy game with geometric shapes to tossing pennies and measuring the results.

“Grand Valley State University is preparing their students to join the teaching profession and I am excited to give them a glimpse of what learning looks like in Jenison.  I believe both the students in my second grade classroom as well as the Grand Valley students both learned a great deal from each other.  Who knows? One of these Grand Valley students may be a future Jenison math teacher!  I know that I have certainly grown as a teacher from working with Pam Wells and the math experience she has to offer.
It’s a great partnership that I intend to maintain!” — Jeana Duimstra

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