Math Interview with Carol Fisher. The Golden Apple Award Winner- Part 1

Golden-Apple-Award.jpgAn interview with math specialist Carol Fisher, who creates challenging math activities for KidzClix.  Carol is a Golden Apple Award winner and has worked as a math teacher and curriculum creator for Chicago Public Schools over the past 35 years. 

 1.Tell us about yourself.  Why did you become a math teacher?

Well, first of all, I really enjoyed solving problems as a child.  Sometimes I got frustrated when my teachers wouldn’t or couldn’t answer some of my questions (apparently I was quite annoying).  Even in elementary school I knew I wanted to be a teacher.  By the time I got to college I realized that many of my friends didn’t like math because of their teachers, so I knew that being a math teacher was what I wanted to do…. I wanted to be the teacher who would answer all the questions and make everyone like math.

2.You’re a Golden Apple Award Winner.  What is that?

The Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching  was established in 1986 because its founder felt that excellent teachers did not receive adequate recognition for their contributions to building a stronger, better-educated society.  Each year since 1986 (I won in 1989), teachers have been nominated for this award.  Thirty semi-finalists are selected, and those thirty are observed in their schools and interviewed.  Ten finalists are selected and publicly recognized on a Chicago PBS broadcast each year.  The winners also receive a computer, a one-semester sabbatical, and a cash award.  More importantly, they then become a member of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators and work with other members on a variety of programs to ensure a better education for all.

3.Did you like some kinds of math better than others?

As a child, I really liked the computation problems because I could solve them quickly (and that’s mostly what we got, anyhow).  In high school, I discovered geometry and how much fun that was.  Now, I especially enjoy sharing problem solving and art-related math with others.

My secret is that I don’t like Suduko!

4.What do you tell teachers who are learning how to teach math to kids?

The first thing is to find out if they themselves enjoyed math in school.  If they didn’t they have to figure out why.  Then they have to realize that they can find the fun in math and share it with their students.  Allowing students to dialog before, during, and after math lessons is critical, so is using multiple modalities.  Manipulatives at all grade levels help bring understanding to a variety of topics.  Mathematics is both content and process, the process being necessary to understand the content.

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