Virtual Math Mentorship Project: Partnering Elementary Math Methods Course with Rural Title 1 School
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This article was written by Jennie M. Carr of Bridgewater College and Tammy T. May of Rockingham County Public Schools.
Educator preparators are often seeking unique and meaningful experiences for their teacher candidates. With the knowledge that high quality mentoring relationships can demonstrate positive improvements in academic performance, attendance, feelings of self-confidence, resilience, perceived social acceptance, and relationships with others, we began working collaboratively to create a mutually beneficial math mentorship partnership between Bridgwater College and an elementary school in the Rockingham County Public School District (Coller & Kuo, 2014; Masters & Kreeger, 2017). The logistics of managing a traditional face-to-face mentoring experience was too difficult and there is no required field experience in the college’s elementary math methods course. Because online tools are typically utilized on college campuses and with the school district’s recent 1:1 Chromebook adoption, we crafted the virtual math mentorship (Hartun & Harvey, 2015).
Connecting the virtual math mentorship to teacher candidates’ capstone project in the math methods course was vital to its success. The eight-week project consisted of a teacher candidate field trip to the elementary school, two virtual Google Hangout sessions, four virtual Seesaw pen pal exchanges, and the creation of a personalized and interest-based differentiated math lesson for a fifth grade mentee, which was implemented during the students field trip to Bridgewater College.