Spring 2005 Activities at
University of Illinois at
- After-School Project
CEMELA-UIC has developed an after-school project based on the Fifth Dimension project and particularly “La Clase Magica” (see work by Kris Gutierrez, Olga Vasquez, Marjorie Gallegos, or Luis Moll). The work of “La Clase Magica” has focused primarily on literacy development, but we are extending this work to focus on mathematics.
The after-school project is a multi-faceted endeavor involving children, parents, teachers, and university undergraduate students interested in becoming teachers. The project will consist of a “mathematics club” for any fourth or fifth grade student who volunteers to participate. The children will meet 1-2 times per week to solve high-level mathematical problems. We are currently selecting problems that will give students a variety of experiences; however, problems will encourage students to draw solutions, use a calculator and record keystrokes, use various graphics, and communicate questions and strategies electronically to both parents and to a “wizard” who responds in both Spanish and English. The purpose is to engage students in mathematical activities that require collaboration, communication (oral and written), and critical thinking. The electronic communications will be our primary source of data for understanding, among other things, the linguistic and cultural resources children bring to learning mathematics. Ultimately, our objective is to provide examples of Latino children doing high level problem-based mathematics and mathematical writing in both Spanish and English.
We have selected one school in which to initiate this project. The school is a local Elementary school which is a Pre-K-6 school that is 99.9% Latino. This school is in a working class neighborhood in the inner-city of Chicago. It also is a dual language school that has a goal of biliteracy for all its students. We will begin the after-school project in September when the new academic year starts. During the summer, we will select participating teachers and have a “workshop” for them where they will assist to develop the after-school curriculum and develop skills for guiding and supporting students’ thinking.
The after-school project will be used to develop teachers' ability to analyze children's thinking, respond to them in ways that guide and support their development, and develop lessons for their classrooms that capitalize on the activities of the "mathematics club". CEMELA-UIC will work with 12 teachers throughout the year who will assist in creating and modifying problems for the "club", will be primary responders that form the "wizard", and will be ethnographers/researchers for the after-school project.