Outliers: Students in ACTION Newsletter
April 2016

Outliers: Students in ACTION is a monthly publication during the academic year highlighting students and events in the Science and Math Education in ACTION Choose Ohio First grant program at BGSU. 
Reflections from the ACTION Director
by Dr. Daniel Brahier
Dr. B hosted all nine ACTION students in England to celebrate the birthdays of Jessica & Erin
Now in our third month of teaching and learning abroad in England, the nine ACTION scholars who have accompanied me here have learned so much more than content in the classroom.  In the British system, all students go to the US equivalent of high school for two years until they are 16 years old.  At that time, they take intense and significant examinations that determine their future plans.  For example, if a student intends to study medicine at a university, he/she must score high enough on the exams and then will spend the last two years of high school (which they call "college" in England) focusing on biology, chemistry, and math.  In fact, those are the only three subjects the student takes in the last two years.  By the time they get to the university, most programs are only three years because students have already completed the equivalent of their first year of higher education while still in "high school."  As a result, more than 95% of university students will complete their degree in three years because if they could not handle the programs, they will have weeded themselves out in the examination process or during their two years of "college."
As I reflected on this structure of schooling, it helped me to appreciate even more how important it is for students in the US to enter BGSU with at least some college credit, either through having taken dual enrollment courses, classes on a university campus, or Advanced Placement courses.  The vast majority of ACTION students enter our program with at least a college level class or two on their records, and many have the equivalent of one or two semesters.  As a result, it is not unusual for ACTION scholars to graduate in 3 or 3.5 years.  Even our Middle Childhood majors who are in a program designed to take 4.5 years will almost always graduate in 4 years or less.  Of course, these are the types of scholars we seek in the program - students who are eager to learn, always looking ahead, and academically strong.
In the Fall Semester of 2015, the mean (average) grade point average for an ACTION scholar was 3.812, with a median (middle) GPA of 4.00.  In fact, 58 of our 101 scholars taking classes last fall had a perfect 4.00 GPA.  These grades do not come easily for our students - they are the result of many hours of hard work.  We have two ACTION tutors who work in our lounge each evening tutoring mathematics and science, as well as countless study groups and many hours spent in faculty offices to ask questions.  Our students have a strong work ethic that drives them to attend all classes and complete assignments on time and remarkably well.  I am proud of the work of all of our students and know how it pays off for them in terms of job searches and satisfaction in the classroom after graduation.
As we begin our last full month with our seniors - mostly in Cohort 4 - I want to wish our student teachers all the best in their teaching and job interviewing.  This is an exciting time and I look forward to flying back to Bowling Green in the first week of May to celebrate the fourth graduation of ACTION students.  I will be on the stage that day to personally congratulate each of our scholars!


Cohort 5 - Senior (graduating in 3 years)
AYA Chemistry and Physics  

What has been a highlight of ACTION for you?  Like most scholars, I loved Summer Bridge. One highlight from that summer was the very first session we did called "Race to the Future" by Dr. Duran. I loved working with my cohort members to solve the problems and was intrigued by the use of the 21st century skills. Dr. Duran has now published this activity so I am excited to download it and use it in my future classroom.
How did you decide to purse a career as a science teacher?
I've always liked science and math and been good at both; and I loved my chemistry teacher. As I considered careers, it became even clearer when both the student I tutored in math and a classmate in an AP science class commented (the very same day) that I would make a great teacher. Chemistry and physics were good choices since there is more math application in these areas.
Tell us about your experience this year in methods and student teaching. I was placed at the Toledo School for the Arts teaching physical science to freshmen and it has been a very interesting experience. The school has a big focus on art integration so it has brought out the creative person in me. I have a lot of freedom as a student teacher and appreciate that my Cooperating Mentor Teacher and I collaborate - he teaches one class while I observe, and then I teach the rest while he watches. It has been very beneficial.
What are your plans after you graduate in May?  I definitely want to stay in Ohio and would prefer to be hired at a school district in my hometown of Cleveland so I can live with my parents for a year to save money.  I am excited to have my own classroom and my own students with whom I can build close connections.  I also look forward to building relationships with other teachers.
What has it been like to complete your degree in three years? Because I had so much credit coming into college, I skipped over the BG perspectives and went straight into content courses. I had to be convinced right away of what I wanted to do. I never got to take any extra classes and had at least 18 hours each semester.  I've also been very involved with my sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, so my schedule has been full for the past three years but I love being involved.
Something people would be surprised to know about me is...
I have a pet hedgehog!  My sister gave him to me as a birthday present in high school. He only has one eye and now lives at home with my parents (although I did have him on campus for a while).  It is legal in Ohio, but in some states it is actually illegal to have a hedgehog as a pet! 

Cohort 7 - Freshman
AYA Integrated Mathematics

How did you hear about ACTION?
My junior year I came to BGSU twice and during Preview Day found out about ACTION. I put it on my calendar so I could apply the next year. I knew that I wanted to teach so I was quickly sold on Bowling Green and the ACTION program.
What experiences in high school prepared you to pursue a career as a teacher?  In eighth grade I started tutoring some of my friends in algebra and then my senior year I took a math teaching course where I was able to work closely with my algebra teacher.  She made math fun and was like an older version of me! This confirmed my decision to teach math. I also had an amazing opportunity my junior year to travel to Shanghai, China, to attend the Global Student Leadership Summit. I was placed in a group of students from across the globe that focused on identifying a worldwide educational issue and brainstorming some potential solutions.
What are you involved with at BSGU?  I have been intentional to join organizations that will benefit me as a future teacher. I'm a member of Bowling Green Council of Teachers of Mathematics (BGCTM), Bowling Green Science Education Council (BGSEC), Collegiate Middle Level Association (CMLA), and Math Camp.  I also recently volunteered at the Ohio Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (OJSHS).  Involvement in these things reminds me why I want to teach!  I'm also in the Honors College and this year was elected to the ACTION Student Advisory Board.
Tell us about your first-year research project for ACTION.
Last semester we took lots of photos that were used to make math problems and to do contextual comparisons. This semester, we are analyzing the attitudes BGSU students have toward math based on whether their past teachers used real world application problems. We've been taking surveys at the Union and gathering some interesting data that we will soon compile and analyze.
What has helped you be successful at college so far?
Growing up with my dad in the Air Force, I faced many new and different situations as we moved around a lot. My parents pushed me to work hard and made schoolwork a major priority. I want to make my parents proud and be proud of myself (sometimes I have to be careful not to push myself too hard).  It's also really helpful to have ACTION students in my classes so that we can discuss the content and learn together.
What are some things that people might be surprised to know about you?  I have a twin! She is attending OSU studying business so we are very different but are good friends. Also, I was born in Italy and lived in several places, including California and England, before coming to Ohio.

ACTION Seniors - Capstone Research Projects
Our seniors have the amazing opportunity to conduct pedagogical research in the classroom during methods and/or student teaching. They work closely with a BGSU faculty member in the process before submitting a final paper and presenting at the ACTION Capstone Colloquium at the end of April. The varied topics of our soon-to-be May graduates are listed below:

Anna Bailey  
Taking Mathematics Outside: 
Outdoor Education in 
a Mathematics Classroom

Nick Buhrow 
Interactive Notebooking 
and Increased Student 

Molly Conroy  
Jigsaw in the Mathematics 

Rachel Gerges 
Virtual Manipulatives: 
Is it Worth It?

Kali Irvin
The Relationship between 
Inquiry-Based Teaching and 
the Scientific Method

Sheri Klatt
 Different Review Strategies 
Helpfulness to Students 

Kevin Knapke
Student Choice in 
the Classroom

Allison Marino
Homework Turn-In 
Procedures Effect on 
 Student Effort and Time

Jacob Musal 
The Effects of Meditation 
Practices on Student Content 
Retention in a Secondary 
Mathematics Classroom

Maria Nielson 
 Student Use and Justification
of Multiple Representations

Amanda Pummell
The Effects of a Flipped Classroom 
on Student Academic Ability and
Confidence in Math Ability

Elizabeth Remley
 Journaling in Middle School 
 Math and Science Classrooms

Jessica  Shearer
Decreasing Anxiety for Students

Rebecca Shroka
 Positive School Experiences 
 and their Affect on Academic 
 Success and Student Motivation

Tyler Stevens 
 Scientific Argumentation 
and Student Success in 
Summative Assessment

Nikki Szymanski 
 How Does Changing the  Learning 
 Environment Impact Student Attitude, 
Motivation, and Engagement in 
 the Science Classroom?

Rachel Wiemken
Formative Assessment in a 
Secondary Mathematics Classroom

Nicole Winhover
 Readers' Theater in Middle
 School Classroom and its 
Effects on Learning

Alexa Woodburn
The Effect of Self-Regulation 
on Task Completion Rates

Jessica Wright
Critical Thinking in 
Formative Assessment

New Student Updates
Awards have been offered to both incoming freshmen and those who plan to "transfer" as rising sophomores into ACTION for Fall 2016. Most have accepted our offer with a few still deciding. These new talented students from across the state will fit right in with our current top scholars. We all look forward to getting to know them!

Pi Day
For those immersed in the world of mathematics, March 14 is a meaningful day that has become known as "Pi Day." Cindy baked muffins for the ACTION lounge that day and made sure to include apple pie muffins for the students to enjoy. A few ACTION scholars let us know how they celebrated...
Chelsea Mayer, Bonnie Altstaetter, Liz Baker, and Rachel Lundeen: We celebrated at Bob Evan's by ordering an entire French silk pie. We got a funny look from the waiter, but after telling him it was Pi Day, he laughed and put the order in. It was way too much to eat, so we had leftovers for post-Pi Day.

Alli Marino: I had my students group the desks into six groups of four. Each groups had a circular object on it such as a roll of tape, a can of tuna, a candle, plastics lids, etc. They also had a piece of string on them and either a ruler or yardstick. Students measured the diameter of the objects with the measuring tool and recorded it in a table. They also measured the circumference with the string and transferred that length onto the measuring tool and recorded that length. The last column of the table required students to divide the circumference by the diameter. All the ratios were near 3.14! Students discovered the value of Pi on their own, and got to enjoy an oatmeal cream pie afterward!  I also have an exchange student from China who was able to record Pi to the 100th decimal place! It was an exciting Pi Day at my placement.

Spring Break
BGSU's Spring Break was at the beginning of March. 
When asked who did something interesting for the break, a number of scholars responded...
Alyssa Lustgarten:  I volunteered at Give Kids the World Village through an Alternative Spring Break trip. We provided services for families with children suffering from life-threatening illnesses. Wish-granting organizations sponsor families' trips to Give Kids the World Village in Orlando.  
Erin Janecko:  Those of us in England are doing a lot of traveling over spring break! Jessica Thompson and I are in front of the Trevi Fountain in Rome in the photo below. We also saw the Colosseum, Vatican and Roman Forum. Later we go to Paris, The Fjords in Norway, and then Poland to tour Auschwitz. 
Ann Howard: I didn't travel because my family's schedule was not the same as mine. However we went to The OSU vs UM hockey game, the Crew Season opener game, and took bike rides that led to a lot of ice cream! It was fun to spend much-needed time with family. 

Emily Breech, Shawna Russell and Christian McKnight:  We visited Chicago with the Honors Learning Community.

Jordan Truitt and Emily Knollman: We went on a mission trip with St. Thomas More to Nashville, Tennessee, and spent the week serving at different ministries around the city from homeless shelters to community gardens. Every night, we ate at different cultural restaurants such as Vietnamese, Indian, and Turkish. The best part was having the opportunity to talk to people experiencing homelessness and hearing their amazing stories and how positive they were. 

Alexandria Stough: I traveled from England to Paris and next will visit Venice, Ireland and Poland.

Noteworthy Events
Our scholars are involved with numerous organizations and activities. While many, many things are not mentioned, a few students passed along specific events they have been or will be part of soon...

Logan Bretz: I'll be competing in the 2016 Cheerleading World Championship in Florida on April 24th for my fifth and final time! 
Alli Marino: The day after graduation I am going on a trip with Dr. Matney and two Cohort 3 graduates to China, Australia, and Fiji. We will meet with schools to research how mathematics is taught in different countries while experiencing the culture.
Catherine Hildebrand:  I am training for the Glass City Marathon in Toledo and have been running 50 miles weekly.
Jake Musal:  I presented my Capstone research at the Comparative & International Education Society Conference in Vancouver in early March.

Taylor Nicholson and Katey Wendel:  We volunteered for Science Olympiad in March

Free HS Math Tutoring 
The Math in ACTION Tutoring Hub opened this fall and is an opportunity provided by the state of Ohio and BGSU to help high school students become more successful in their math courses; and as a result, help them become more prepared for their college math courses. High school students can use the free tutoring services for help with any high school math course ranging from Pre-Algebra to Calculus.
ACTION scholars have been hired as tutors for the Tutoring Hub that is located in 120 Olscamp and one of the our graduates is currently serving as co-coordinator. More information on this free math tutoring opportunity for high school students can be found on the Math in ACTION Tutoring Hub website.