In Pasco County, Twitter + math add up to success

John Long Middle School, Wesley Chapel

PASCO COUNTY, FL (WFLA) — Pasco County has more than 30 middle and high school students, but there’s only one Brian Dean, who oversees Teaching and Learning of 6-12 mathematics for all of them. That’s a big problem to solve.

“How do we connect these people that are working harder than ever, that teach the same course, the same standards?” says Dean. “How can we make them work smarter, not harder?”

Dean’s solution was an idea he named #PascoMath.

He’s encouraging 6-12th grade teachers to tweet photos, videos, or questions to one another using that hashtag. Doing so allows for an open and streamlined collaboration of ideas – what’s working, or not working – for teachers using the same lesson plans.

The concept has been helpful for Katherine Rickfelder, who provides educational support for students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades at John Long Middle School in Wesley Chapel.

“I did get some more information on one of the topics we’d already taught, and I brought it back to the kids the next day. It really just opens up a new window in to other classrooms,” Rickfelder said.

Sixth grade math teacher Jessica Beagle, already an advocate for using social media, appreciates seeing how other teachers are making lesson plans “click”. And, she says her students get a kick out of showing off their work.

#PascoMath gives them a sense that they’re doing something great, and school’s become something more than just a task that they have to do. It becomes a place where they can feel confident and comfortable,” she said.

To encourage teachers to share ideas using #PascoMath, the Pasco Education Foundation has provided grant money for five weeks’ worth of gift cards to popular coffee shops. Each week, two participating teachers will be rewarded.

To see what the teachers and students in Pasco County have been up to, search “#PascoMath” on Twitter.

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