Data and School Information

I am currently an elementary teacher at Elms Road Elementary School in Swartz Creek, Michigan.  Our enrollment is between 400 and 500 students.  Forty-five percent of our students receive free lunch, and 100% of our students are Title I, which indicates that a large percentage of our students are at risk.

This fall will be my thirteenth year teaching.  I have taught kindergarten, first grade, and third grade, however this fall I will be teaching technology to kindergarten through fifth grade students.  I want to integrate the academic curriculum into my technology curriculum in order to create meaningful learning experiences that will promote a deeper understanding of academic material as well as teach students about various technological skills that are necessary to succeed in our global society.

For this project I am proposing to integrate mathematical problem solving into the technology curriculum. Throughout my teaching career, I have observed that students have great difficulty solving math “story” problems and deciding on a strategy to use to solve the problem.  Because it is evident that our students need more practice in problem solving especially in the area of math, I believe that this project will be beneficial in promoting learning in this area.

The Michigan Merit Curriculum Research says that, “Employers and college leaders say that graduates from high school need to master higher-level mathematics and communications skills than ever before,” and “College professors and employers agree that to be successful beyond high school, graduates should have mastered the content typically taught in a rigorous four-year course sequence of Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II, as well as data analysis and statistics.”  Therefore it is important to spark an interest in math at the elementary level, while students are young, in order to give them the confidence that they need to continue in the math curriculum.

The Michigan Department of Education reports that , “Over 75 percent of students in grades 3-8 tested as “proficient or above” on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) math tests given in the Fall of 2008, including 91 percent of third graders. The greatest improvement was among seventh graders, where 83 percent scored proficient or above, compared to 73 percent the year before.”  Governor Jennifer M. Granholm says, "There is a direct connection between our kids learning more in the classroom and getting the jobs we need in Michigan's economy.  We are glad to see these signs of success but we know we have a lot of work to do to give Michigan the best educated workforce in the nation and that must be our goal."

The data illustrates that it is crucially important to instill a strong value in learning math and that our students have room for improvement.  The project that I am proposing will give students meaningful math experiences in order to increase their problem solving skills.