LEHMAN TWP. —Thirteen-year-old Chase Purdy wants to be a teacher and had an opportunity to step into that role at a mentoring program with Lehman-Jackson Elementary School students on Oct. 26.
The mentoring program teamed up Algebra 1 eighth-graders with sixth-graders as part of an initiative that startedat the Lehman-Jackson Elementary School in Lehman Township, said Shelene James, a sixth-grade teacher and program coordinator.
“Sixth-grade students have been mentoring the younger grades during the school year,” James said. “We reached out the high school to see about extending the program to have older students mentor the sixth-graders.”
Lake-Lehman Junior-Senior High School eighth-grade Algebra teacher Patty Harrison eagerly agreed.
“It is a good idea,” Harrison said. “It gives the sixth-graders a chance to see what they will experience at the high school.”
Also, the program gives eighth-graders an opportunity to review math concepts, which included box-and-whisker plots, interquartile range and mean absolute deviation, which they will need at a “higher level” later in the school year, Harrison said.
In the Lake-Lehman School District, elementary school ends with the completion of sixth-grade. Seventh-graders enter the Lake-Lehman Junior-Senior High School.
“We have never done this before,” James said.
At first, eighth-graders were a little nervous about tutoring, Harrison said.
She reviewed the math concepts with her class.
Then, students were given the freedom to develop their own tutoring program using a variety of worksheets as well as online programs such as ‘Braining Camp’ and ‘Khan Academy,’ Harrison said.
On Thursday, nearly 50 sixth-graders walked across the district’s campus to the high school carrying their white, dry-erase boards.
Twenty-two eighth-graders met their younger counterparts in the school’s cafeteria. The students were broken up into small groups, averaging four sixth-graders to one eighth-grader, and quickly got down to business.
Purdy gave her group a math problem and waited for them to solve it on their whiteboards. When everyone was finished, she checked to make sure their answers were correct.
“I like working with Chase (Purdy),” said Allison Vitanovec, a sixth-grader. “I did not know this stuff before.”
Francis Pinnacoli, a sixth-grader, was learning how to calculate the upper and lower quartile range of a set of numbers with eighth-grader Emily Wright.
“It is kind of hard,” Pinnacoli said. “It takes a lot of work on a calculator.”
Eighth-grader Santino Diana’s group was wrapping up online problems before moving onto worksheets.
“It (math) was hard in sixth grade, but you get smarter as you get older,” Diana said. “They are doing really good. They are a good bunch of kids.”
Both Lehman-Jackson Elementary Principal Donald James and Lake-Lehman Junior-Senior High Principal Doug Klopp stopped into the cafeteria to see how the mentoring program was going.
“They are really staying on task,” Principal James said. “The mentoring program is working so well with math that we could branch out to other subjects such as science.”
Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.