Local teacher#8217;s innovative style to show in Columbus

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 14, 2007

By Phyllis Noah

The Ironton Tribune

Teaching math through art? That’s how math teacher Christi Faulkner teaches her students at the Collins Career Center.

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For her innovative approach to teaching, the center has been recognized by the Ohio School Boards Association as one of the 100 outstanding schools to have exceptional student achievement.

“They will set up a booth with what they are doing in their school that has been chosen to be showcased,” said Christy Bare, post-liaison for higher education.

More than 10,000 school board members, administrators and guests are expected at the 2007 Capital Conference from Nov. 11-14, one of the largest state education conferences in the country, where students from the center will display their projects.

Last year the students took a project that is required of all seniors — research with a portfolio.

“We require all seniors to do research,” James Howard, principal said. “They have to do a display board, they have to do a brochure, they have to do a presentation, 15 hours of community service and a portfolio.”

Students also have to complete a paper of three to five typewritten pages on their research project.

The portfolio contains all the awards, community service projects and the best work the student has completed in a two-year period.

About six years ago, Faulkner taught at Symmes Valley School and one of the teachers there taught her how to make a stained glass window.

“The reason that we did it is that the state standards are changing and the indicators are changing,” Faulkner said. “They’re trying to get more hands-on in the classroom, so this is a way that brings it in — especially if you’re teaching algebra I and algebra II — you’re predominately covering just algebra standards. We’ve got number sense, geometry, measurement and mathematical processes that have to be covered. This project ties all that into there.”

The center does not offer an arts class so by incorporating art into math, students have an opportunity to use artistic skills.

“She has also been to New Orleans for the school and done a big presentation there on this at High Schools That Work National convention,” Howard said.

When the students are completed with the project, they have to come up with 20 math facts using any of the mathematical elements.

“They have to tell me how many corresponding and how many vertical angles, how many right angles — that one is a little simpler,” Faulkner said. “But they also have to talk about reflections, rotations, dilations, translations.”

What Faulkner does is give the students a checklist all of all the indicators from the standards and the students then check off all they have in the project and describe each one.

“If we can tie the hands-on with the academic content which also ties to the state standards, then they are more susceptible to learning,” Howard said.

At the end of the project, the building maintenance teacher, the carpentry teacher and students make frames for the stained glass. Then, for their community service project, the students have an auction and each of the stained glass pieces is sold to benefit the American Cancer Society.

Last year the students raised $8,550 for the Cancer Society.

“We ended up with 72 pieces that we auctioned off,” Faulkner said.

This project is for second semester seniors and she thought that it would be could to have a similar project for juniors.

For that project, students use fabric and foam board to create designs.

“They still have to create their blueprint just like they would with the stained glass,” she said. “They still have to come up with their math facts from geometry standards and for measurement too.”