Deanne Berg not only teaches math to students of all abilities at Urbandale Middle School, but she understands that it is a crucial point in a student’s academic career.
“The reason I love teaching middle school is I feel like it’s the last chance stop for some kids in math. If we don’t get fundamental concepts here, most likely high school math will be difficult for them. We want to prepare them for the future with fundamental mathematics skills,” she says.
Berg, now in her seventh year of teaching at Urbandale Middle School, teaches two sections of seventh grade math, an accelerated math class and two physical science classes. When we visited her classroom, she was teaching students conceptual reasoning. This month, her lessons include how to interpret graphics, as well as concepts regarding fractions and decimals.
“I do a lot of pre-teaching and re-teaching of math skills in my regular math classes,” she says.
Berg says pre-teen students begin to develop a passion for their favorite subjects in middle school, and she wants students to not be intimidated by math.
“Students tend to gravitate to subjects in which they gain accolades,” she says.
Another lesson that Berg teaches her students is how to find and use credible sources of information with the help of the Internet.
“We have to teach students how to use technology to help them with their skills,” she says. “How do you know what’s a credible source? I might grab an iPhone or iPad to help them and to teach them to be actual thinkers. We see more students with iPhones, iPods and iPads. That’s their reality.”
Technology might change, but some things never fade, like teamwork and good teaching.
“This school truly is a community. There’s a sense of belonging in that we’re in this together,” says Berg.
“It’s a good feeling to come to work knowing that everyone here is helping students do their best.”