Active Learning Approaches and Visual Methods for Teaching
the Foundational Mathematics for Elementary Teachers Courses
Cheryl Beaver, Laurie Burton, Klay Kruczek
July 21 - 25, 2008
Western Oregon University, Monmouth, Oregon

This workshop is a MAA PREP activity made possible by the NSF grant DUE: 0341481

Workshop Abstract Program Leaders Workshop Agenda Room and Board

Workshop Abstract

This workshop is intended to address the unique challenge of successfully designing and presenting mathematics education content courses specifically for future K - 8 teachers. Early classroom experiences are crucial in shaping a child's lifelong attitudes towards mathematics and the endeavor of making these initial encounters positive and encouraging begins with the appropriate preparation of preservice teachers. Future teachers must be provided with a robust background, effective tools and strong motivation to be knowledgeable, confident and enthusiastic mathematics teachers. We invite collegiate mathematics faculty new to, or seeking to improve proficiency in, designing and teaching the foundational mathematics courses for preservice K - 8 teachers to attend our workshop.

In this workshop, participants will:
Program Leaders

Cheryl Beaver joined the WOU Mathematics Department in 2006 and has already excelled in teaching the foundational Mathematics for Elementary Teachers sequence as well as our Abstract Algebra and Advanced Problem Solving courses for preservice and inservice middle school teachers. Cheryl received her Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Arizona in 1997 and spent seven years as a Cryptographer at Sandia National Laboratories. While at Sandia, Cheryl organized several seminar series and short courses. Cheryl is an ideal co-leader of this workshop as she can exactly describe the trials and successes a research mathematician experiences as they transition to a successful mathematics education instructor.

Laurie Burton has a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Oregon (1995) and is a Mathematics Education Specialist, focusing intensively on Mathematics Education for both inservice and preservice K - 8 teachers since she joined the WOU Mathematics Department in 2000. Laurie is involved in Mathematics Education at the local, regional and national level. She regularly gives mathematics education talks for collegiate faculty, offers workshops for preservice and inservice teachers at local and regional conferences, helps organize Mathematics Education sessions at the Joint Winter Meetings, served on the Planning Committee for the 2005 Northwest Mathematics Conference (for K - 12 teachers), served as the state TOTOM (Teachers of Teachers of Mathematics) president and is serving her second three-year term on the MAA's COMET. She has published a variety of Mathematics Education articles and, in 2005 joined the Bennett, Nelson author team and is now an equal co-author of their Mathematics for Elementary Teachers textbooks. Burton has just completed a sabbatical during which she prepared the text and instructor materials for "Visual Algebra for College Students" to use with WOU preservice teachers and to disseminate nationally via the Mathematics Learning Center.

Klay Kruczek began his time at WOU in 2004, after receiving his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Rutgers University. While at Rutgers, Klay spent three years as a Graduate Fellow in the NSF GK-12 program, where he worked in various middle schools of New Jersey, both as an instructor to the students and as the organizer of short courses for the teachers in the schools; implementing discrete mathematics and other mathematics into the middle school curricula. He has integrated these experiences into his classrooms and presentations for preservice and inservice K - 8 teachers and their instructors. Klay has continued his discrete mathematics work with Rutgers University and has worked in their young scholars program the last two summers. He is currently developing materials in discrete mathematics, initially used for WOU preservice and inservice teachers, but later to be distributed by the Math Learning Center. Klay is a representative on OMEC (Oregon Mathematics Education Council) and works as a consultant for the Math Forum, where he assists with their Problems of the Week. Klay also offers workshops for preservice and inservice teachers at local, regional and national conferences and is a member of the WOU team (Burton, Fung and Kruczek) organizing Mathematics Education sessions at the 2007 and 2008 Joint Winter Meetings.

Beaver, Burton and Kruczek have worked extensively in developing appropriate course curricula and materials for basic and advanced mathematics education classes in an outstanding mathematics education program for preservice and inservice K - 8 teachers. The mathematics requirements in the WOU preservice program exceed the MET recommendations for content hours and topic coverage. Beaver, Burton and Kruczek are all proficient in implementing every aspect of a K - 8 mathematics education course and have both created and gathered a great deal of appropriate curriculum resources. As Co-Leaders and Co-Directors, Beaver, Burton and Kruczek will share in the development, organization and implementation of all aspects of the workshop.

Workshop Agenda

Preparatory Component

Six weeks prior to the workshop, the program leaders will distribute a set of readings for the participants to review prior to arriving at the workshop.

To begin our interactions, via our listserv, we will ask each participant to submit a personal introduction, brief descriptions of the mathematics education courses they are planning to teach and a description of what they hope to learn and gain from the workshop. Participants will be asked to examine a variety of resources, including:

Via the workshop listserv, we will expect the participants to discuss the assigned readings and how they relate to their mathematics education courses and course goals.

Intensive Component

We plan to start the workshop (Monday a.m.) with the inclusion of an introductory/ice-breaking session covering cooperative learning and effective group work management techniques. This session will serve as an introduction to the workshop, as in-person introductions to the workshop leaders and participants and as a link to the lead-in activities.

For the core of the workshop we will explore the topics generally covered in a yearlong foundational sequence for teachers. We will draw from our experiences and the many resources we have gathered. In the context of the current topic, each topic module will include:

Our core topics will be, as meets the needs of the participants:

As suits the interests and needs of our participants, we will include additional topics (all geared for future teachers) from:

On Wednesday or Thursday, we will have a morning session only (the afternoon will be devoted to a restful trip to the nearby Pacific Ocean as suggested by the 2003 participants).

On Friday afternoon, we will summarize the workshop with a planning session on how to incorporate the topics, activities, and pedagogical perspectives of the week into daily, weekly, term and yearlong successful course plans.

Participants are expected to produce their own personalized lesson plans and activities, and at the end of the workshop, each will have a fully developed set of Mathematics Education Resources and will be confident about planning and running their own mathematics education courses.

On Going Component

Room and Board, Western Oregon University Campus

Participants will primarily dine (breakfast, lunch, dinner) at Valsetz dining commons, there will be a variety of evening dining and entertainment activities on campus and in the local area.

On Wednesday or Thursday, our coast trip will include dining at an ocean view restaurant.

On Friday evening, we will have a closing pizza party at a local pizzeria.

WOU has (recently constructed) lovely on-campus housing; each suite has four bedrooms, two baths, a full kitchen, a living room space and an Internet connection (other connections are available around campus).


To register, go to the MAA PREP 2008 website:

Travel / Logistics

Participants should arrange to arrive on Sunday, 7/20/2008 and leave on Saturday, 7/26/2008 (or late Friday, 7/25/2008).

If you are flying, the Portland International Airport (PDX) is about 90 minutes from Western Oregon University. The Program Leaders will help arrange for travel between Salem, Oregon and Western Oregon University (about 12 miles). Please arrange to use the HUT Shuttle from the Portland Airport and Salem (

Local transportation, if needed, will be provided by the workshop leaders.


MAA Registration Fee: $325 by June 9, $450 after (see

All on-site expenses (workshop materials, room and board and local travel) are covered in the workshop budget through the generous support of the MAA (NSF grant DUE: 0341481),

Participants (or their home institutions) are responsible for the application (registration) fee and for their travel to Salem, Oregon.

Questions? Please feel free to contact us:

Cheryl ( Laurie ( Klay (