Pat Derr
Closing the gaps

Intermediate TEAchers of Mathematics (ITEAM) is a unique opportunity for outstanding Nebraska elementary teachers willing to accept the challenge of returning to graduate school to study mathematics and the teaching of mathematics. Faculty and graduate students at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln also are engaging in research to help us learn more about the potential of programs such as ITEAM to impact the mathematical achievement of children from elementary through high school.

ITEAM focuses on grades 4-6 teachers

ITEAM is an 18-credit hour graduate program for teachers of grades 4-6. Thanks to the generous support of The Sherwood Foundation® and the Lozier Foundation, we have offered OPS fourth- to sixth-grade teachers the opportunity to participate in this outstanding program at no cost to the teacher for tuition or fees.

ITEAM is ideal for fourth- to sixth-grade teachers who enjoy teaching mathematics and who seek to develop special strengths in mathematical and pedagogical knowledge which transfer into enhanced learning in their classrooms. Our experience is that teachers who complete NebraskaMATH OPS TLA programs become important resources for their colleagues with respect to mathematics teaching and learning.

The ITEAM Program

OPS teachers who started in 2016 took three mathematics courses, two education courses, and one integrated mathematics/education capstone course to earn 18 graduate credit hours from UNL. OPS TLA funds covered all tuition and fees.

Each ITEAM summer institute uses the concentrated immersion approach used by the OPS TLA Primarily Math and Math in the Middle programs. During summers, classes meet 8-5 daily (Monday-Friday) for two weeks with nightly homework. At the end of a course, teachers complete an End-of-Course assignment designed to support the long-term retention of material studied in the course. Thus, teachers are able to earn 6 graduate credits each summer while being in class for only two weeks. While this experience is intense, support for participants is substantial. This approach has proved to be quite popular with teachers because it protects most of the summer for other activities.

During academic year courses, each semester, participants take a 3-credit graduate course, using a "blended distance education" format. Teachers will attend some in-person course meetings on Saturdays, and will complete other assignments online via UNL's Blackboard system. We note that the two academic year courses are the same education courses that Primarily Math participants take, with a shifted focus to upper elementary, rather than lower elementary, students.

Course Number Title
1 Math 800T Mathematics as a Second Language
2 Math 804P Problem Solving and Critical Thinking in the Elementary Classroom
3 TEAC 808A Teaching Elementary Math: Planning Lessons for Diverse Learners
4 TEAC 808J Helping Children Become Mathematical Thinkers
5 Math 802T Functions, Algebra and Geometry
6 Math/TEAC ITEAM Capstone Course

Springboard to a Master's Degree

More than 50 elementary teachers are building on their grant-funded graduate education to pursue a master's degree. The 18 graduate credit hours earned through ITEAM mean that participants are halfway to a master's degree. For more information about applying and using ITEAM credits toward a master's degree from UNL's Department of Mathematics or Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education, please visit the Master's Degree Possibilities page.

ITEAM participants will have two different options for completing a master's degree from UNL. First, ITEAM participants can complete a Master of Arts from the Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education. This degree would typically include taking TEAC 800: Inquiry into Teaching and Learning (required), TEAC 801: Curriculum Inquiry (required), Math 803P: Algebraic Thinking in the K-4 Classroom, Math 804T: Experimentaion, Conjecture and Reasoning, TEAC 813A: Teaching English Language Learners, and TEAC 889: Master's Seminar (required). The elective courses may include those listed or may be related to assessment, diverse learners, or other issues of teaching and learning. Teachers plan and carry out a summative classroom research project to study their own teaching as part of the requirements of the master's degree.

The other option is to complete a Master of Arts for Teachers from the Department of Mathematics. This degree would involve taking more math courses, such as Math 804T: Experimentation, Conjecture and Reasoning, Math 805T: Discrete Mathematics, Math 806T: Number Theory and Cryptology, Math 807T: Using Math to Understand Our World, Stat 811T: Statistics for Middle Level Teachers, and Math 808T: Concepts of Calculus for Teachers.