Homework Helpers

Education student

Math homework stumped one local Fredericksburg second-grader. She was puzzled by the number sequence problem in the evening assignment, and the more she tried to work the problem, the more exasperated she became. UMW senior Ciara Norquist sensed her frustration and convinced her to take a break from her studies. They built charts and focused on finding patterns. Within minutes, the student returned to her homework and completed it with ease “For the kids, it’s like having a second teacher. The one-on-one time is important,” said Norquist, who is among 31 UMW tutors who have volunteered with the Hazel Hill Homework Club. The club, which started fall semester, began as a way to help UMW students fulfill their service-learning requirement in an “Elementary Social Studies Methods” class, taught by John Broome, assistant professor in the College of Education. Students in Broome’s class are required to complete 10 hours of service and many opt to volunteer as tutors for the … [Read more...]

Envision, Design, Print

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Imagination flourishes on the second floor of Simpson Library. Just ask University of Mary Washington senior Alice Watkins who is turning her two-sided creations into wearable art. She joins others in the UMW community who have discovered the wonders of a new three-dimensional printer, called MakerBot. Watkins is investigating 3-D printing through art in her independent study project called “Blending into Reality.” In a classroom at Simpson Library dubbed the Think Lab, Watkins watches the MakerBot as it whirs and hums while a spool of plastic thread slowly transforms a flat image on a computer screen into a three-dimensional object. She picks up the small, gray piece from the printer and places it with her collection. “That’s the reason it is called the Think Lab,” she said. “If you can think it, you can make it here.” She hopes to make a full-size tunic or vest with the pieces, called “scale mail,” by the end of the semester. Watkins, a studio art major, received … [Read more...]

Growing a New Generation of Educators

Laurie Abeel

Grades aren’t foremost on the mind of Laurie Abeel. The College of Education associate professor focuses more on the journey for her graduate-level students. “My approach in every single class deals with growth, not grades,” said Abeel, who teaches gifted education courses. “I’m more concerned with ‘do they understand what I’m trying to teach’ and ‘have they shown growth by the end of the course?’” Some of her students have gone on to use her strategies and methods in their own classrooms. Abeel credits much of her classroom philosophy to her involvement with Destination Imagination, known as DI, an international program focused on the creative process, critical thinking, leadership and team work. For almost the past decade, she has served as Virginia affiliate director of DI, volunteering to coordinate Virginia’s programs and the state tournament. “It influences almost everything I do. All the skills we try to teach the kids [in DI], I use in my classes,” she said, … [Read more...]

Fun and Learning Foremost at UMW Play Lab

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When Laura Johnson '12 registered for classes for her last undergraduate semester at the University of Mary Washington, she added one that wasn’t required—the Play Lab, an education course that gives students hands-on experience working with disabled students. Johnson, who majored in historic preservation and elementary education with a focus in museum studies, thought the class would be beneficial to her as a teacher. “You can’t control who comes into your classroom,” she said.  “As a teacher, you’re responsible for giving every student the best education that you can, so I thought it was part of my responsibility as a teacher.” The Play Lab, in its third semester at UMW, is a parent resource and clinic for children with developmental delays, such as autism and intellectual disabilities. Bolstered through community donations and grant awards, the course has been cited as a model program by Virginia Commonwealth’s Center for Autism Excellence. UMW students spend seven … [Read more...]