Education students lead local Family Math and Reading Night

Thirty-two University of Wisconsin-Platteville elementary education majors recently led meaningful activities at Family Math and Reading Night for more than 100 elementary students from Platteville’s Westview Elementary School and Neal Wilkins Early Learning Center and their parents.

The UW-Platteville students are enrolled in Teaching Elementary Mathematics, taught by Dr. Jodean Grunow, senior lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and academic staff member in the School of Education at UW-Platteville, and in Reading, Literacy, and Literature, taught by Dr. Lindsay Hollingsworth, associate professor of education at UW-Platteville.

Literacy activities included word study games, poetry writing and themed reading rooms, including “Camp Reading Rocks” and “Arctic Adventure.” Mathematics activities included mathematics investigations, such as Baseball Math, coin wars, water bottle flipping, gone fishing, measure ‘til you drop, math hopscotch, spoons and circle cafe. Through these activities, children and families were able to explore everything from number recognition to multiplication.

Elementary students also participated in other exercises, including Mathematicum explorations provided by UW-Platteville Department of Mathematics faculty, staff and students; physical activities in the gymnasium led by UW-Platteville physical education interns; live animal exhibits offered by UW-Platteville Department of Biology’s Animal House; and stories in the library provided by the Platteville Public Library. Other activities were provided by community members, including Margie North, a local author from Darlington, Wisconsin, who wrote “Penny the Penguin Doesn't Like the Cold.”

“This opportunity to interact with faculty, elementary students, parents and community members was an excellent learning experience for university pre-service teachers,” said Grunow. “The event required much preparation, including selection of appropriate activities, development of materials for delivery of the activities, preparation of appropriate assessment measures and production of activities that participating elementary students could take home to continue their learning. Working with public relations on behalf of a school or schools is a big responsibility.”

“By assisting with family events, such as Math and Reading Night, our education majors gain authentic experience in planning and leading activities for area children and their families,” added Hollingsworth. “Because the event served children ranging from age 4 to 10, the UW-Platteville students were challenged to design activities that could meet the needs of both younger and older students.”

“Thank you for providing such amazing and engaging activities for families to enjoy,” said Denise Johnson, a 4K teacher at Neal Wilkins Early Learning Center and the event planner. “There were lots of smiles and happy children (and families too) walking in and out of the doors that night. The university’s partnership with our schools helps to create such a wonderful atmosphere for our students and their families.”