Grove students learn from each other | SLIDESHOW

MARYSVILLE — Last year, math was far from Trina Davis’ favorite subject at Grove Elementary.

This year, she’s not only excelling at math, but the 10-year-old fifth-grade student is helping other kids at her school get a handle on the subject, just as some fifth-graders in last year’s class helped her do the same.

“Last year, it took me a really long time,” said Trina Davis, who struggled with multiplication and fractions as a fourth-grader. “This year, I got 100 percent on my multiplication test, and it only took me three minutes.”

Last school year, Trina was one of the nearly dozen fourth-grade students, every Monday and Tuesday afternoon at Grove Elementary, to receive peer tutoring in fourth-grade teacher Dwan Kinney’s room from fifth-graders.

“I think it helped that they spoke her language,” said Vikashni Davis, Trina’s mother, who had previously paid a tutor to help her daughter. “They brought it down to her level.”

“It made me understand,” Trina Davis said. “Fractions are basically just division problems.”

For Vikashni Davis, who counted math as one of her favorite subjects in school when she was Trina’s age, it was difficult to see that her daughter didn’t enjoy the subject.

“Now she’s learning faster than I was at her age,” Vikashni Davis said. “When they saw how well she was doing, they asked her if she would be willing to come back to tutor other children this school year.”

“It’s something better to do than just watching television,” said Trina Davis, who agreed with her mother that teaching the concepts to other students made them clearer to her as well. “It helps me too.”

While Trina Davis and the peers she sits with after school learn more about math, Vikashni Davis sees them learning about giving something back in exchange for the support they’ve received. She also appreciates that the 40-minute-per-day program in Kinney and fellow fourth-grade teacher Beth Vavrousek’s rooms are provided free of charge.

According to Kinney, the program started almost by accident three years ago, when one of her students’ parents wasn’t able to pick them up after school right away, and another student who happened to be doing errands for her volunteered to help the waiting student with their math.

“We’ve wound up recruiting excellent math students who come back to help others,” Kinney said.

Near the end of February, Trina Davis looked on patiently as fourth-grader Gabryelle Carmona reviewed her multiplication tables, gently prompting the 9-year-old when she needed to fix the numbers she’d written, and smiling broadly when her pupil answered the questions correctly.

Elsewhere in the room, other students were filling out their own worksheets, using the computers to do math problems, working with a projector board that offered its own math lessons, or getting together in groups to count off multiples of various numbers in circles.

“I like the interactivity of it,” Kinney said. “They’re not only learning, but also getting a fun place to hang out.”

“They can play games with math,” Vikashni Davis said.

“I like doing math now,” Trina Davis said. “It’s fun.”


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