Mt. Abe math classes get Exxon-Mobil help

BRISTOL Julie St. Martins math class at Mount Abraham Union High School is about to become a cool place for students thanks to a grant from the Exxon-Mobil Corporation. The $500 grant will go toward the purchase of an electronic instant response system. The system has been on the math departments wish list for some time, but they didnt have quite enough money in the budget to purchase one. The Instant Response system, which is compatible with the electronic white boards already in some classrooms, allows teachers to receive immediate responses from the students about the material they are learning that day. Students each hold a clicker and can answer questions at the push of a button. The immediate feedback helps the teacher determine whether the students have an understanding of the materials or whether they need more instruction. Alternatively, it tells the teacher when it is time to move on to the next topic. The system can be programmed a number of ways, from anonymous results posted on the white board to sending the data to the teachers computer where it can be handled confidentially on a student by student basis. Anything cool and technological wakes up students, said St. Martin, who, along with her colleagues, is very excited about the new teaching tool. Whats really nice about this grant is that its something we wouldnt have done otherwise. It will really excite the kids. The grant is part of Exxon Mobils Educational Alliance program which awards grants to schools through area dealers and suppliers. Kathleen Norris, owner of the Jerusalem Country Store in South Starksboro has applied for the grants for the past four years and believes the grants are a good way to invest in the community. St. Martin was thrilled to receive a phone call from Norris last week telling her about the grant and asking if the math department had a need for the funds. It was the easiest grant Ive ever gotten, said St. Martin, who, like most teachers, must be creative in order to find and fund innovative teaching methods and technologies. Past recipients of the award include the Robinson School Fine Arts Program, Mt. Abes English Department and Mt. Abes Science department to help fund a study on wind power to meet the schools energy needs.

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