Julia McDonald-Plumb

MMSA Title: STEM Specialist, Mathematics

Hometown: I grew up in Nobleboro, ME and live in Albion.

Education: BA in Music from Bates College (ethnomusicology focus) and M.Ed. from USM (literacy focus)

What projects are you currently working on? Consulting, Math4ME, and WFR/CT-IT

Something you’re proud of at MMSA: I’m proud of the way MMSA staff push themselves and each other to be learning and growing for themselves and for Maine students.

What is your teaching/learning philosophy? Exposing student questions, ideas, problem solving processes, and connecting different students’ reasoning.

What is your STEM passion area? I’m very passionate about math learning across the preK-12 span and also particularly interested in botany and zoology.

Favorite STEM-related memory: I had just finished reading Peter Liljedahl’s Building Thinking Classrooms book before starting my new job as a middle school math teacher. On the first day of school, all 5 classes of students worked in small groups at chalkboards for a solid 45 minutes on his Tax Collector task. Each class was totally engaged and excited to come back to the problem the next day and a friend told me her 7th grade child actually talked to her about something they did at school.

What did you do before you worked at MMSA: Taught adult ed math, 5th grade, and then 6-8th math in RSU 71 (Belfast). Before that I was a professional fiddle player and teacher in my duo Velocipede.

What do you like to do in your free time? During my down time, you might find me taking a walk with my wife, grafting apple trees, hand sewing a quilt, or just curled up with a good book and a cup of tea.

What memory from your childhood would you like to share that exemplifies why you do the STEM education related work that you do? When I was a middle school student, I remember trying to help a friend learn how to divide fractions. I diligently repeated the directions and the steps for my friend again and again and again. It was not particularly effective. As I’ve learned better ways to teach, I’m excited to share them with other people.

Pronouns: she, her

Email: all emails are first initial last name at mmsa.org

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