My Personal Experience ... by Richard Medeiros
my own experience in the classroom, teaching in today’s environment, with all the stress and responsibility for the
students to perform resting squarely on the educators’ shoulders, has taken much of the enjoyment out of teaching.
During my 35 years in the classroom at the Charles S. Ashley School in New Bedford, Massachusetts, I have seen numerous programs
from Individualization to large group instruction and everything in between.
With the increased emphasis on technology in today’s world, the need for better science and math instruction places
an even greater demand on teachers to educate their students in these areas. Therefore, in 2003, the city of New Bedford
required that all the elementary teachers take the “Math as a Second Language” course to improve math content
as well as math instruction. I was reluctant at first, not because of my math knowledge, but because I would have to
leave my classroom twice a week, prepare lessons for the substitute, and then return to the classroom and reteach the lessons.
However, “Math as a Second Language” with its instructors, Herb Gross and Michael Klugerman, gave me a new insight
into my teaching of math concepts. After internalizing Herb’s “Adjective/Noun” theme, I returned to
my classroom and began teaching the students from my own learning experiences in the course. The students became eager
to learn what I learned the day before. At that point, I started to develop PowerPoint presentations that I could take
back to my classroom. I am happy to report that these PowerPoint presentations became a vital tool in driving home Herb’s
math concepts to my class. For many of my students, math became enjoyable, and they actually looked forward to the next
Soon, I began working as a facilitator with Herb in various workshops throughout Massachusetts.
My many years of experience as an elementary school teacher made it relatively easy for me to bond with the workshop participants.
I was able to share my experiences with them and I demonstrated how the power point presentations could be used to help students
reinforce their learning of various concepts. Through these workshops, I continued to be amazed at Herb’s math
genius. His “Math as a Second Language” course is presented in a non-threatening way that reaches out to
all teachers, no matter what math phobias they may have.
Herb and I were both so pleased by how positively the
teachers reacted to the use of the PowerPoint presentations that we decided to “team up” and make our workshops
available to a larger audience via PowerPoint. Our first collaboration, under the auspices of the Gabrielle and Paul
Rosenbaum Foundation, was to produce the algebra course that you may now view on this website.
project now completed, we are looking forward to producing a PowerPoint presentation of arithmetic that will be based on Herb’s
“adjective/noun” theme. It is a tool that can be used in conjunction with any textbook series as well as
a supplement to any existing delivery system. Our goal is to produce a course that is as useful to you as it is to the
participants in our “live” workshops.
Herb and I are extremely pleased that Dr. Judith Bender has joined
our team and has provided us with her expertise in mathematics as well as the means to display the PowerPoint presentations
so that anyone can have access to at http://www.adjectivenounmath.com . Making mathematics more “user friendly”
to us as teachers is the first step toward making it fun and exciting for our students.