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Released March 15, 2004


HATTIESBURG -- A Collins High School geometry teacher participating jointly with The University of Southern Mississippi in the GK-12 Graduate Teaching Fellows Program traveled to Washington, D.C., recently to learn and share experiences with other educators from across the nation.

Addie Coleman, a 17-year veteran math teacher in her first year at Collins, was the lone teacher representative from the area attending the national convocation. This is the first year Coleman has participated in the GK-12 program, a National Science Foundation grant that pairs graduate students with teachers in subjects such as math, chemistry and biology.

Coleman, who has been partnered with Southern Miss graduate student Melanie Lynn this semester, said the program is a "great asset in the classroom" because it teaches students hands-on applications of mathematic principles.

"A lot of times students can't see the reality of these ideas using paper and pencil, but once they've seen them applied, it makes sense," Coleman said.

Dr. David Hebert, GK-12 project coordinator, said Coleman was selected to attend the conference because of her enthusiasm for the program.

"When she was first selected, as are many teachers first chosen for this program, she was hesitant because she didn't know what to expect," Hebert said. "Now she has become one of our biggest supporters. She, along with Covington County Schools, has been a wonderful partner and has helped develop strong partnerships with our graduate students."

In its second year, the grant also pairs graduate students at Southern Miss with educators in Forrest County, Forrest County Agricultural High School, Jefferson Davis County and Hattiesburg Public Schools.

Collins principal Charles Lewis said the program gives teachers an additional resource to tap into by networking with the graduate students, who help plan activities, projects and other assignments. "Miss Coleman volunteered for training in August and was paired up with Melanie Lynn, and together they have done a wonderful job coming up with neat hands-on activities for the students," Lewis said.

One of those projects involved planning a trip to far-away cities using maps, graphing paper and atlases. After plotting courses to their selected destinations using geometric tools, students then wrote stories and produced brochures about the cities they "visited."

"We've done about five or six projects using hands-on applications in class. All of them were designed to help students see how math can be used in real life," Coleman said.

For more information about the GK-12 program, contact Hebert at (601) 266-4739.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM