Report a Problem

Preview Form

Parent Support

Teacher Support

- Accelerated Pathways
- Block Schedules
- Newsletter
- Teacher Tip of the Week
- Study Team Support
- Video Models

**Week 35**

A quote to share:

“I used to do a lot of explaining, but now I do a lot of questioning,” said the teacher. “I used to do a lot of talking, but now I do a lot of listening. I used to think about teaching the curriculum, but now I think about teaching the student.”

--Catherine Gewertz, Expert Issues Warning on Formative Assessment Uses, Education Week Online, November 11, 2010.

[ Open All | Close All ]

**Week 34**
**Week 33**
**Week 32**
**Week 31**
**Week 30**
**Week 29**

**Week 28**

**Week 27**

**Week 26**
**Week 25**
**Week 24**
**Swapmeet****Week 23**
**Week 22**
**Week 21**
**Week 20**
**Week 19**
**Week 18**
**S S**tart promptly.

**P P**eer support expected within each team.

**A A**ssignments due each day.

**R R**espond to teams rather than individuals.

**C C**irculate. Circulate. Circulate.

**Week 17**
**Week 16**

“Suggested Interventions for Students in a CPM classroom,” September 2011

“Marzano’s ‘Basic Nine’ Instructional Strategies,” February 2010

“Reminders for the New School Year” (success, effective teams, and mathematical language), September 2010

“Ask a CPM Teacher” (questioning strategies), November 2009

“Maintaining Effective Study Teams.” January 2004

“Seven Proven Ingredients For A Successful Year.” August/September 2003

“Managing & Interacting With Study Teams.” February 2003

“Assertive Study Team Management.” February 2002

“Advice For First-Year Teachers.” August/September 2001

“Modeling Effective Team Behaviors.” March 2001

“Ideas For Managing A CPM Classroom.” September 1999

“Study Team Fundamentals.” January 1999

“Helping A Parent Understand CPM.” November 1998

“Everyday Instructional Strategies.” November 1998

**Week 15**
**Week 14**
**Week 13**
**Week 12**
**Week 11**
**Week 10**
**Week 9**
**Week 8**
**Week 7**
**Week 6**
**Week 5**
**Week 4**
**Week 3**
**Week 2**
**Week 1**

Self Reflection of the Year

Your professional practice should include time to reflect on your successes and challenges. One way to consolidate your thinking is to write yourself a letter about what you have learned this year in the workshops and your classroom and how it has affected your teaching. Write about any changes you have noticed in your classroom and/or with your students.

Ask yourself these questions:

- Are your students more mathematically powerful than in September? How do you know?
- Do you know more about what your students < text decoration="underline">can do mathematically, instead of what they cannot do?
- What are your challenges in finding appropriate ways to assess your students’ knowledge?
- What would our assessment look like if we could start from scratch and build our assessment resources?
- What are some of the assessments that you used? What are some you would like to try?
- What important issues do you plan to keep in mind to help get next year off to a strong start?
- What did you do this year that really worked? What changes would you make from what you did this year?

This is a good time of the year to start planning for next year. It is a good idea to have your math department take some time this week to talk about assessment. While some assessment decisions may be made at the district level, CPM provides you with an assortment of assessment resources. Each school/district should develop a common vision around assessment and grading issues and some common assessment practices that represent the consensus of the mathematics department.

The following questions will help to start your local conversation:

- Why do we assess students?
- What methods do we currently use to assess student understanding?
- What is the purpose of each of these types of assessment: formative, summative, individual, team?
- What would our assessment look like if we could start from scratch and build our assessment resources?
- What common assessments do we need to have as a department and what can be left up to each individual teacher?

If team interactions are weak, consider beginning a lesson by discussing the kinds of comments or questions that could be useful during team conversations for the particular activities of the day. If students understand the nature of the coming task, you could invite the class to brainstorm ideas using a **Whiparound** for sentence starters. Possible ideas are:

- What if we tried ________________?
- I have another approach to the problem. How about ___________?
- I’m not sure that will work because ______________.

What if we tried ___________? - Can anyone suggest a different approach?
- Your idea makes me think about _____________.
- Could you explain that another way?
- I hear you saying _____________. Is that right?
- I like your idea that ___________________.

You could then post the list of student-generated sentence starters in the classroom so that students can refer to them as they work together.

When you observe high quality interactions, commend the team members and share your observations with the class.

When there are several different problems that are all related or a task that has several parts or steps, it is a good time to use a study team strategy called **Red Light, Green Light** (see the tab “Team support and Universal Access” at the front of the Teacher Edition). After the team completes each problem, they need to stop (Red Light) and check their answer with the teacher (or with the answers that the teacher has located somewhere in the room). If their answer is correct, they go (Green Light) to the next problem and repeat the process.

To make this a little more interesting, make a game board on poster paper or on one of the boards in the room. Each section of the game board represents a problem from the lesson. Place a post-it or magnet with each team’s number in the first spot (first problem) on the game board. This will move as the teams complete and correct the problem. This strategy allows the teacher to pay attention to who is ahead and who is behind and to act accordingly.

As teams struggle with challenging problems, they often want the teacher to “rescue” them from confusion. However, it is sometimes necessary (and desirable) to leave a team with some of its questions unanswered for some period of time. By working through points of confusion on their own, students will come to understand ideas more deeply. When a team asks for help and you decide that they need more time to persevere and try out some new ideas, let them know that you will return and that they have made useful progress. Give them an interesting question or a goal and be clear that you will expect an answer when you return. To ensure that students do not feel you are simply ignoring them be sure to ask, “*Do you have enough information to keep working?*” before leaving so that you (and they) know how they will move forward. Make sure to return to the team and verify that they have worked through their confusion by asking them questions.

Have you used the **Fortune Cookie** study team **and teaching** strategy yet? Often teachers struggle with exactly how to use this STTS or what to write on the fortune cookie strips. Here are some ideas for you to try. First let’s review the strategy.

A Fortune Cookie

- Choose 5-6 questions or topics.
- Write a question or sentence starter for each topic on a strip of paper and put them in an envelope.
- Make enough envelope sets so that each team receives one envelope.
- One team member draws a question slip (a fortune), makes one statement about the topic/question on the slip, and then passes it on.
- The next person adds his or her own statement about the topic or responds to the previous statement.
- When everyone has responded to the first “fortune,” another person draws from the envelope and repeats the process.

A **Fortune Cookie** can be useful at the end of a Chapter when students want to share ideas and consolidate their understanding. Develop a list of five or six sentence starters to use as “fortunes” centered around the chapter topics, general ideas, or norms or strategies that need to be reviewed.

The **first person** draws a fortune, reads it aloud and then finishes the sentence starter, answers the question and/or makes one statement about the topic. After making his/her **one** statement, the next person rereads the statement and makes one statement **or** makes one comment about what the first person said, continuing the fortune cookie process.

A variation of this activity is to have a whole team discussion after each person has had his/her chance to speak. If you use this option you may need to place a time limit on this open discussion. (You can tell how the discussion is going as you circulate and adjust the time as needed.)

You should model the **Fortune Cookie** process the first time you use it. A good way to do this is with another strategy called a **Fishbowl**. One team will model the process while others gather around to watch. You may want to appoint a timekeeper and limit the “open” discussion to one minute. A **Fishbowl** also provides a good opportunity to model appropriate behavior in dealing with teams as you circulate and respond accordingly.

Optional: For each of the “fortunes” of this activity, have posters with each scenario/fortune written across the top already made. Have each team quickly put their best response/comment **on a sticky note** to be placed on the poster. If you choose to use the posters, remember that the focus of the **Fortune Cookie** activity is the discussion, so do not mention the posters ahead of time, nor make them a major part of the activity. Simply use the posters to wrap up the discussion and activity.

Here is a list of Fortune Cookie topics one teacher used about some “ways to become a successful student.”

- When studying for a test, I…
- When doing homework, I…
- To keep my notebook (Learning Log, Journal) organized, I…
- When working with my teammates, I…
- When using my Team Role, I (be specific about your role)…

The Standards for Mathematical Practice are the heart and soul of the Common Core State Standards and should be clearly exhibited by your students throughout the course. Use this week for some student reflection about how well they have understood and can demonstrate the Mathematical Practices in their daily classroom activities. You can bring the Practice Standards to the forefront during closure by having students note any of the practices they used during the lesson and how they used them. You might also mention specific Practice Standards at the beginning of the lesson that will be particularly apparent in the day’s lesson, and then follow up with a discussion during closure as to how students felt each one of the named practices was evident in their work.

Remember, the practices state that mathematically proficient students will:

- MAKE SENSE of problems and persevere in solving them.
- REASON abstractly and quantitatively.
- CONSTRUCT viable ARGUMENTS and CRITIQUE the reasoning of others.
- MODEL with mathematics.
- Use APPROPRIATE TOOLS strategically.
- Attend to PRECISION.
- Look for and make use of STRUCTURE.
- Look for and EXPRESS REGULARITY in repeated reasoning.

Make time this week to reflect on how well you have integrated the guiding principles of CPM into your daily classroom activities. Monitor yourself each day to see how well your interactions and the work of the students match the six CPM Principles statements below.

- Students learn ideas more permanently when they are required to engage and re-engage with the ideas for months or even years.
- Students learn and retain math concepts more deeply when they are grounded in problems, often from the real world.
- Students learn ideas more deeply when supported by established, effective study teams.
- Students will engage in learning in study teams that are guided, supported and summarized by a reflective, knowledgeable teacher.
- When students and stakeholders embrace a growth mindset, they understand that mastery takes time, effort and support.
- Assessing what students understand requires more than one method and more than one opportunity.

Sometimes a student or students have a tendency to monopolize class discussions. When one member of a team seems to be dominating the conversation, try using a study team and teaching strategy called a **Listening Post**. This strategy is effective when you want to make a team member aware of what dynamics are going on in the team or when you need to raise the status of a team member. To implement this strategy, select one person from a team to be the “Listening Post.” For 10 minutes or so, the “Listening Post” is to record questions that are being asked by the other team members or what the team members are saying to each other, who is doing the talking or any other norm that needs to be observed. The “Listening Post” is not allowed to talk, only record. At the end of the 10 minutes, the “Listening Post” reports his/her observations to the team.

Another way to use the **Listening Post** is to focus on vocabulary and precise use of mathematical language. Choose five or six relevant vocabulary words or terms that you would like the students to use. Have the “Listening Post” record how many times the team uses each of the words and/or which team member is using which word.

Students do not arrive at your classroom door with the same background knowledge or readiness, so you are constantly required to differentiate instruction. There are general notes and suggestions in the “Universal Access” section in the front matter of the Teacher Edition. You will find specific suggestions for differentiation of instruction within the “Lesson Activity” notes or in the Universal Access section at the end of the teacher notes for many lessons. These notes include questions to ask students when they need a nudge to move on with the lesson and extension questions for students who need more challenge. Asking well-crafted questions is one of the best ways to differentiate instruction, so prepare a set of questions as a resource. Include some questions to check for prior understanding, some to help students explain their thinking, and some to extend thinking. Be prepared to ask individual students within teams to respond to these questions depending on their depth of understanding or their need for help in attaining a basic understanding of the concept(s).

In some lesson notes you will find a discussion of typical points of confusion, common misconceptions, or anticipated errors and suggestions for how to address them along with information about the core problems and any extension and enrichment problems. Each lesson lists the core problems that all students need to complete, but which students do the non-core problems in your classroom may vary from day to day.

When more than the lesson notes and student textbook is needed you should refer to the Universal Access document in the front of the Teacher’s Edition. This document lists and discusses various strategies to use with various learners’ needs. The last few pages of this resource address literary support strategies.

Do you have teams that work at different paces? Some teams are working quickly, while others are stuck? A strategy that can help is called a **Swapmeet** and is the focus of this week’s tip.

- When a team task is partially finished, one pair from each team rotates to the next team.
- Pairs from the two teams share ideas, solutions, and thinking.
- Pairs return to their original teams and share what they learned.

Sometimes teams are at significantly different places in the solution process for a problem or for completing a lesson. Some of them are making good progress, while others are still unsure about how to proceed. The team that is on the right track benefits from having to explain their thinking, which confirms their work and deepens their understanding. A team that is confused can get some ideas about where to go next from their peers. A **Swapmeet** also focuses students on becoming more interdependent and less teacher dependent. Use a **Swapmeet** for an individual problem (either in the middle of the problem when some teams are getting stuck or at the end to share solutions) or at the end of a lesson for lesson closure.

This week make a conscious effort to see that everyone records their work. Sometimes teachers and/or students get the impression that by assigning the role of a Recorder/Reporter, there is only one person in each team who is responsible for recording the work that is done with the problems in the lesson. This is NOT the intention of the role. The Recorder/Reporter’s job is to make sure that everyone in his or her team records his or her own work.

Why is it so important for all of the students to record their work? There is research out there that supports the importance of recording your work. There is more about the writing process and brain function that shows the brain works one way when students explain their thinking aloud and another way when students explain their thinking on paper (using math symbols and words). Students form deeper understanding when they are able to explain their thinking both orally and on paper. If students work without speaking with their teammates or do not record their own work on their own paper, they are missing the full process of learning the mathematics deeply. Find a way this week to increase the expectations you have for what students record on their papers.

Note: There are some instances when we want the whole team to work from and complete one paper, but this is not generally the case.

Note: When you want team ideas, solutions, and work shared with the whole class, you can call on the Recorder/Reporter to share or summarize the work of the team.

This week make your study team and teaching strategy focus **Teammates Consult**. This strategy is especially helpful if some of your students are not committed to the team approach. It is also a good strategy to use if you find students are consistently slow at getting started with the lesson.

**Teammates Consult (Pencils in the Middle)**

- All pencils and calculators are set aside (or in the middle of the table/work space).
- Students read the problem or question (aloud is best).
- Give students individual think time.
- The team discusses the problem to clarify what it is asking.
- Possible strategies are devised and shared orally.
- The teacher indicates when pencils may be picked up and the written work should begin.

This activity should take no more than five minutes and is a GREAT strategy for those lessons with one big problem for the day. **Teammates Consult** helps all of the students to slow down, think about, talk about, and plan first, before they start to work. Besides helping students who are often unsure how to begin their work, this strategy slows down students who may know what to do but who only see the problem in one way or who tend to quickly solve problems but without much depth. Use this time while the students are sharing suggestions to check that they understand the task by listening in on the team conversations and asking questions to check their understanding.

During the CPM summer and school year workshops the mentors model many study team and teaching strategies. However, once the school year begins, it is easy to overlook the various options. The editors of the Core Connections series made it easier for you to use them by making suggestions for using specific strategies in most lessons. By using the suggested strategies you will build confidence and expertise with them and become proficient in assimilating them into your daily practice. The strategies are useful to focus the responsibility for working as a team and for learning mathematics **on the students**.

This week consider using a **Huddle**. A **Huddle** (calling up a person from each team and talking with all of them) is effective as well as versatile because it can be used to get a problem started, pass out materials, tell the students something you forgot to talk about as you discussed the lesson, correct a common error you notice, or get feedback about what different teams are doing (what problem are they on, what strategy they used, what answer they got, etc.). For example, if you want students to carefully check their work, you can call a **Huddle** and have each team representative share his or team’s strategy and answer. A **Huddle** can initiate a closure activity by asking questions and summarizing the lesson with each team representative, then having them go back and do the same thing with their team.

Be creative in deciding which member of a team to call to the **Huddle**. You may use Team Roles or **Numbered Heads** or have the person with the most siblings, the oldest or the tallest come up. If you have a specific student in mind (perhaps you want to use the **Huddle** to encourage a certain person’s participation) then simply call on the team role that person holds. You may want students to bring up their book and/or paper and pencil for a **Huddle**. Your challenge this week is to use a **Huddle** every day for different parts of the lessons. Have fun with it, save time with it, and see how responsible your students can be when you put them in charge of information for their team!

In CPM workshops the mentor teachers are often asked how to plan for days when a substitute will teach your class. By this point in the year your teams should be functioning reasonably well, so they should be able to complete most lessons with a substitute present. But this type of teaching may be entirely foreign to substitutes and you will need to help them understand their role in a classroom of teams. Make sure that the substitute understands that they are to circulate, keep the teams/students on task and monitor progress. Providing substitutes with a list of team norms and classroom expectations is a must. Avoid starting a new chapter or using a lesson that is just one big problem. If you must leave the class with such a lesson, use the existing “further guidance” section, if there is one, or create similar questions/guidance for the class to use. Team assessments or the closure problems from a chapter are also good activities that a substitute can supervise.

It is okay, and not unlikely, that your students may learn something new without you there. Have them each write you a note at the end of class (or to start the next class) about what they learned and use the notes as formative assessment tools to help you decide how to proceed. CPM teachers often note that a day with a substitute teacher does not seem to create a gap in the students’ learning as much as it keeps the teacher from knowing how the students processed the lesson from that day. Talk to your students about their increased responsibility when you are not there to help them. They might just impress you.

How do you typically plan for each lesson you teach? Whenever possible it is best to first do all of the problems from a given lesson using the student book (without answers visible). This will help you see the problems from the students’ point of view and help you to anticipate any areas where students will have questions. As you work through the problems make a list of some questions of your own and your predictions regarding common misconceptions. Next read through ALL the teacher notes including the objective of the lesson, the core problems, the suggested lesson activity, possible study team and teaching strategies, and closure. Now you are ready to complete your planning. Put in time limits for each portion of the lesson to serve as a guide and do your best to follow them. However, watch for instances where your predetermined time slots may need adjusting. Without a planned pacing guide, sometimes strong students will go too fast and ignore the deeper questions, while students who take longer to do their work will, if given the opportunity, take the entire period to do one problem. The more you practice timing out a lesson, the better you will be at scheduling a lesson to fit into the time allotted. Nonetheless, you will always need to be sensitive to the needs of each class.

If this is your first year teaching the course we strongly suggest that you follow the lesson as it is written. Once you have taught the entire book and are comfortable with the overall objectives and content, you can use your professional judgment to adjust the lessons as needed. Creating simplified versions of the problems or turning them into “worksheets” instead of following the lesson as written is not recommended. It often stripes the lesson of the thinking and exploring that is the basis for conceptual understanding and that fosters long-term retention of ideas. Nevertheless, CPM does understand that working with the students requires some flexibility. Carefully monitor the work of your students during class and adjust your plans as needed while making every effort to implement the program with fidelity. Have fun listening to your students’ thinking and watching them learn math!

One way to start a new year (calendar or school), semester or chapter is to make a commitment and concerted effort to try something new. If you have not used teams consistently, make a commitment to do so. If you have not used team roles, try them. If you have not used a study team strategy, try one.

An easy place to start is with **Reciprocal Teaching**. Have each student find a partner (it could be their elbow partner or someone from another team). One member of each pair pretends that the other was absent and explains something that they learned today. Then have the partners switch roles. This is great for vocabulary review. When teaching someone else, students are able to consolidate their thinking.

You have established good classroom norms from the very beginning, but you must continue to revisit them throughout the year. *Remember*:

- Have a team member read the problems aloud to the team.
- Circulate. Circulate. Circulate.
- Face the class as much as possible when talking with a team. If it is a quick check-in, it is ok to have your back to the class, but if a team is going to need a minute of guidance, position yourself in such a way that you can still see the class.
- Get down at eye level to communicate.
- Talk to the whole team even if only one student appears to need help.

Your tip this week is a reminder about how important it is to circulate around your classroom effectively and often while students are working. We can easily get in the habit of just responding to whatever hand comes up first rather than completing our purposefully designed circulation routes.

It is ok to tell a team, “I will be there once I am finished talking with the teams I haven’t checked in with yet.” Often teams will work out the problem they thought they needed you for while waiting for you to complete your rounds. Make it a goal to visit each team at least twice per class and to physically join them and ask a few target questions about their work. While circulating notice your pattern. Is it always the same path? Do you cover all sides of a team or always pass by the same students? Keeping things varied can help keep students on task and give you a clearer assessment of how teams are functioning and how individuals in the team are developing. Keep a list on a clipboard (perhaps using your seating chart) of which team you visit, which student(s) you talk to, what questions you ask, and which problems you have discussed. These notes can help you identify your circulation patterns. In addition, they can help keep you organized and provide valuable formative assessment information.

Often we are unaware of our own habits and behaviors as we circulate. If possible, ask a colleague to come in and observe your circulation in class and give you feedback about it and perhaps questioning techniques as well. An alternative method is to set up a video camera and tape a class for later viewing. Try to focus on the math as you circulate and listen carefully to your students. It is both informative and exciting to hear all their ways of thinking!

Are you struggling with getting your teams to work well together? This is a constant challenge for most teachers, but well worth the effort. You may need to work hard to resist the temptation to curtail the use of teams or revert to simply telling students what they should know.

The list below has on-line articles from past CPM newsletters that may help. Most problems you will face with your students are discussed in one of these articles written by CPM teachers. If you are part of a professional learning community or have regular department meetings, consider using some of these articles for discussion with your colleagues. You can find all of them at: Newsletters

“Teaching Team roles,” August 2012“Suggested Interventions for Students in a CPM classroom,” September 2011

“Marzano’s ‘Basic Nine’ Instructional Strategies,” February 2010

“Reminders for the New School Year” (success, effective teams, and mathematical language), September 2010

“Ask a CPM Teacher” (questioning strategies), November 2009

“Maintaining Effective Study Teams.” January 2004

“Seven Proven Ingredients For A Successful Year.” August/September 2003

“Managing & Interacting With Study Teams.” February 2003

“Assertive Study Team Management.” February 2002

“Advice For First-Year Teachers.” August/September 2001

“Modeling Effective Team Behaviors.” March 2001

“Ideas For Managing A CPM Classroom.” September 1999

“Study Team Fundamentals.” January 1999

“Helping A Parent Understand CPM.” November 1998

“Everyday Instructional Strategies.” November 1998

This week is a good time to remind your students of your Classroom/Teamwork Guidelines. If you have not already done so, try making a poster with expectations (such as those listed below) and post it in a prominent location for all to see and reference.

- No talking outside your team.
- Discuss questions with your team before calling the teacher over.
- Within your team, keep your conversation on math.
- You must try to help anyone in your study team who asks.
- Helping your teammate does not mean giving answers. Help by giving hints and asking good questions.
- Explain and justify your ideas; give statements and reasons.
- No one alone is as smart as all of us together. Do not leave anyone behind or let anyone work ahead. Your team is not done until everyone is done.
- Clear off tables (or desks) before getting to work so you can see everyone’s paper.
- You must use study team voices.

Remind yourself of the role you play in facilitating teamwork. When you approach a team, remember that it is important to engage all of the students in conversation. Specific choices you make about body language and eye contact will impact the conversation. Consider squatting down so that you are at the students’ level or, if there is an empty chair, consider actually joining the team.

This week focus on what it means to achieve mastery by giving students a single topic assessment on a problem most of them have mastered. This can give the whole class a sense of accomplishment!!!

Ask students to reflect on their own learning styles. Ask them what they have learned and what methods in class have helped them learn. By now, we expect students to be able to acknowledge that having the ability to talk about the mathematics with their classmates is really helping them to understand at a deeper level. Remember to keep this assessment positive by focusing on what students have mastered rather than what they have yet to achieve. This can foster confidence in students and motivate them to work harder to master the topics they still need to work with.

Students who are still grappling with the basic concepts that most of the class has mastered need and will benefit from a specific plan to help them. Make time to sit down with these students and ask them what you and they can do differently to achieve success in class. Remind them of the support that is available to them. Using the Extra Practice and Parent Guide resources is one way to start working on a specific plan for each student who needs additional time and support to learn some ideas. The Checkpoint problems are another resource.

This week focus on what it means to achieve mastery by giving students a single topic assessment on a problem most of them have mastered. This can give the whole class a sense of accomplishment!!!

Ask students to reflect on their own learning styles. Ask them what they have learned and what methods in class have helped them learn. By now, we expect students to be able to acknowledge that having the ability to talk about the mathematics with their classmates is really helping them to understand at a deeper level. Remember to keep this assessment positive by focusing on what students have mastered rather than what they have yet to achieve. This can foster confidence in students and motivate them to work harder to master the topics they still need to work with.

Students who are still grappling with the basic concepts that most of the class has mastered need and will benefit from a specific plan to help them. Make time to sit down with these students and ask them what you and they can do differently to achieve success in class. Remind them of the support that is available to them. Using the Extra Practice and Parent Guide resources is one way to start working on a specific plan for each student who needs additional time and support to learn some ideas. The Checkpoint problems are another resource.

Often students start off the school year following your expectations and working well together, but you may find that about the third or fourth time new teams are formed they lose their focus. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but recognizing and responding to this right away is important. It may help you to know that this is a normal part of the use of teams in the classroom and that when a class works through this issue collaboratively the teams become even more effective.

To help reinforce team expectations this week, do a challenging team assessment that really pushes students to discuss the mathematics in order to succeed. This is also a good time for another **Participation Quiz** to help re-state your expectations and to give positive reinforcement to the teams that are showing commitment to working effectively and following class norms.

The following behaviors are characteristic of successful teams. They:

- Share ideas in the middle of the table.
- Give reasons for statements.
- Rearrange the seating so that everyone can see.
- Make sure everyone understands or agrees before moving on.
- Expect participation from all team members.
- Persist even when stuck.
- Take risks, such as suggesting ideas even when they are not sure the ideas will work.
- Ask questions of the entire team (instead of asking just some teammates or the teacher directly).
- Ask the teacher only team questions. (Resource Manager calls the teacher over.)
- Get off to a quick start. (Facilitator ensures that the task is read out loud.)
- Do not talk outside the team. (Task Manager steps in to remind teammates to not talk outside team.)

Effective circulation techniques are essential to effective teamwork. Make your circulation purposeful with a specific path mapped out and a specific plan for each pass.

1st pass: Move around to make sure that everyone is on task and following directions. Do not answer questions except those that help teams begin their work, primarily clarifying questions. Do not check homework.

2nd pass: Make sure everyone is working. Ask/Answer questions that help students with their developing understanding.**

3rd pass: Ask/answer questions to help students complete the task.** Listen carefully to student thinking and encourage them to move on to the next problems or extend their thinking.

4th pass: Continue listening and asking questions that help students correct any errors you note. Ask higher order thinking, extension or reflective questions.

As you circulate, always be on the lookout for errors or misconceptions. Be sure to continually check for understanding and offer positive reinforcement. Design your routes so that you visit every side of every study team. Follow varied routes and stick to them. Don’t allow yourself to be pulled off course by teams that try to rely on your assistance instead of listening to each other.

Most teachers find it helpful to carry around an answer key or pages from the teacher edition when circulating. Do not carry a writing utensil with you. You do not want to find yourself doing the problems for the students. If you want to model something, find another student in the team or in the class who has done a step correctly and have them show the student or team the work they have done.

**When circulating and asking clarifying questions, feel free to restate the discussion points to add to the discussion. Encouraging students to reread the discussion points aloud to the team is a great way to get the conversation going. Remember that everyone on the team needs to agree to questions, and your response is best when it is a question that helps them answer their own question. Obviously some clarifying questions simply need to be answered.

It takes time to make the use of study team and teaching strategies a part of your day-to-day teaching. So does developing the ability to quickly choose appropriate strategies on a case-by-case basis. If you find you have not been using the study team and teaching strategies suggested in the lessons as well as you might, commit to picking **just one** to use this week and use it every day so that you and your students become comfortable using it.

One strategy that most teachers find easy to implement is the **Huddle**. You can use a **Huddle** to disseminate information or check for understanding. Another strategy that works well for students to share their thinking and see other ways of thinking is the **Swapmeet**. A **Swapmeet** can be done half way through or at the end of a problem or set of problems by sending two people from each team to a new team to share their work. After sufficient time, the team members who have been swapped return to their original team to share what they have learned.

Make it a goal this week to notice the positive behaviors in your classroom and to acknowledge them. When students see you giving attention to positive behaviors, they are more inclined to be on task so they, too, can have a similar “pat on the back.” Saying things like, “I have two teams ready to go” instead of “I have six teams who aren’t ready yet” and “I see a team that has solved the problem in two ways and is working on a third way” instead of “Hurry up, you are off task” often raises the behavior of all students.

Team dynamics can be tricky. What if one person in a team is not working? What if someone is being ignored, separating from the team, getting behind and giving up, or asking questions without getting a response from their peers? If this occurs you will want to intervene in order to help the team get back on track. You may want to have a private conversation with that person or with the team about what is happening.

**
Finding a way for that student to reconnect with the team is important.**
You might ask the team: “What problem are you all on?”, “How come ____ doesn’t have this information?” or “Let’s discuss how you did this problem.” Try to understand the situation leading to the dynamics you are observing, but place responsibility for fixing it on the team whenever possible. Encourage students to invite each other’s participation, to give time for people to think before discussing, and to listen to each other’s questions and ideas. **Once the students are reconnected, you can continue circulating around the room, but come back to check that the team is continuing to work together.**

You might also consider using a specific study team strategy to bring the isolated student into the conversation as an important part of the team. One possible strategy is **a Huddle** where that person is given important information to take back to the team.

This week is a good week for students to do a self-evaluation of their progress so far. Have students evaluate their participation in their teams, their use of team roles, their commitment to completing and understanding the homework, and/or their overall level of understanding of the math concepts studied so far.

You may want to lead your students in creating a class list of things to try when they are stuck on a problem. Display the list they create on a chart or bulletin board where it will remind them that they can, for example: ask each other, look in the book for a similar problem, re-read the problem, look at the Math Notes boxes, reread the focus questions, ask the teacher, or move on to the next problem in order to jog a memory or make a possible connection. You might also want to use an I Spy for stuck teams.

When assessing for understanding, remember that mastery takes time. For this reason, approximately 2/3 of the items on a test should be on topics from previous chapters and approximately 1/3 of the items should be on newer developing concepts. Team assessments should include only a few challenging problems with a focus on problems that require students to work together. Much more information on creating and grading assessments can be found in the assessment handbook in the front of teacher’s edition, in the assessment guides at the beginning of each chapter, and at the assessment website.

Note that team assessments need not be graded. Instead, focus your review of student work on the strengths they show—in both mathematics and solution strategies—and point out areas where they need additional work, including suggestions about what to do.

Are your teams still not working in quite the way you want them to? Here are a few important points to keep in mind.

• This is normal! Many very successful teachers report that their teams are not functioning smoothly until two or three months into the school year.

• The hard work involved in teambuilding is worth it and pays many benefits, including:

Social support for learning math

Success for more students

Opportunities to see and discuss multiple approaches

More meaningful learning by discussing and explaining

Better mastery of basic skills

Greater mathematical exploration and creativity

• Research shows that collaborative problem solving in the math classroom leads to:

Higher achievement

Increased retention

Greater use of higher-level reasoning

Greater intrinsic motivation

More positive heterogeneous relationships

Higher self esteem

More on-task behavior

Better attitudes toward teachers and school

Greater social support

More positive psychological adjustment

Greater collaborative skills

Know that while this way of teaching can be challenging, it will bring many rewards. So keep up the good work!

Your tip this week is a reminder of how important it is to keep up with the recommended pacing of the course. If it is week 6, and you are teaching in a traditional schedule, you are likely finished or nearly finished with the first two chapters of the book. Take a minute to note where you should be and if you are keeping up with the pacing suggested in the teacher’s edition pacing guide. Note any reasons you feel may explain why you are ahead or behind where you expected to be. If you are ahead, be sure you are not sacrificing the opportunity for students to explore the ideas deeply and completely, as well as building proficiency for some students. If you are behind, make sure you are clear about the philosophy of “mastery over time,” spaced practice, and implementing the curriculum as designed.

In your first year of teaching any new text it is best to maintain the pacing as intended while you familiarize yourself thoroughly with the scope and sequence of the material. If you feel students need more time with the lessons, focus on completing the core problems (listed in the teacher notes for each lesson), reserving the extensions and non-core problems for differentiation or interventions. Remember that supplementing lessons in order to push students to master a single concept before moving on is not recommended. Keep in mind that the homework assignments are specifically designed to provide opportunities for students to practice developing skills and that mastery of a topic is often not expected until two or three chapters beyond where it is first introduced. If, in spite of your best efforts, class time keeps getting away from you and you are not finishing a typical lesson during the time allotted, try using a timer. Chunk the classwork into pieces with expectations as to how much time is necessary for each piece. Have one student in each team keep track of time (a good job for the Task Manager) or project an online timer on the board for all to see. And be sure to reserve the last five minutes of class for closure.

Above all, resist the urge to skip the closure in order to save time. Make effective closure an essential part of every lesson. In fact, it is important to have closure even if students do not finish all of the problems.

Remember that changing study teams every couple of weeks or every chapter is a good rule of thumb. When deciding how to form teams, consider which of three main grouping techniques you prefer: Fixed (assigned), Random, or Fixed-Random. If you are choosing **Fixed groups**, you use your knowledge of your students’ abilities and limitations to determine the teams. For example, you might decide to put teams together with a high, a low and two average students, or to group students based on their ability to cooperate with each other. **Random grouping**, as the term implies, can be done with a deck of cards, or using any of a number of random grouping ideas found at the link above. **Fixed-random** grouping is where you have individual team members of existing teams move to another team. For example, have all Resource Managers move one table clockwise, or ask whoever has the most siblings to move two tables away. Keep asking for movement until you have mixed up the teams to your satisfaction. (Note: This kind of team restructuring can also be used as an icebreaker.)

When you do create new teams, remember to do a quick icebreaker so students will feel more comfortable with each other and be more willing to share their thinking. Specific icebreakers are not always included in the text, so you will want to choose one of your own that fits into your lesson plan. There are several icebreakers to choose from and additional ideas at http://cpm.org/study-team-support

This week is an excellent time for a Participation Quiz if you have not done one already. See the assessment handbook in the front tabs of your teacher’s edition for multiple suggestions on ways to do Participation Quizzes. Each chapter assessment plan suggests where a participation quiz might be appropriate. Concentrate on team skills that you want to see improved. A video of a participation quiz is at http://cpm.org/video-models

Remember, just as students are learning new mathematics in this course, they are also learning how to work effectively in teams. It is important to communicate expectations to students clearly, to model the kinds of questions you hope to hear students asking each other, and to reinforce constructive team behaviors throughout the course.

Students will respond more positively to working in teams if they understand the importance of teamwork, so share the proven positive effects of collaborative learning with the class on a regular basis. Research-based benefits of teamwork include:

- Working in a team provides opportunities to see and discuss multiple approaches to problems.
- Encourage your children to study and take notes.
- Students experience greater learning gains when they have multiple opportunities to explain their thinking and discuss ideas.
- Interacting with others gives students the opportunity to become skilled collaborators, which will serve them well in many career paths.

Also, remember there are Lesson Math Casts for you to view when you prep for a lesson along with mentor support in the eBook. These resources along with the videos at cpm.org and through the eBooks provide several examples of effective teamwork in action. Consider showing some of these videos to your students so that they can see what effective team behavior looks like, and follow up with a class discussion about what they have observed. This will help to clarify expectations.

Remember to keep parents informed and involved whenever and however possible. If your school does an open house or back-to-school night, this is a perfect time to **do a problem that shows the understanding of a topic familiar to them. This is critical.** Hopefully they will then say, “Why didn’t they teach it to us this way?” If you don’t have a means of meeting parents face-to-face, creating a brochure or simple note describing your class and the available CPM resources is a great way to get out information. Simply adding the cpm.org website link to any general correspondence will remind parents where to go for answers to many of their questions.

One idea to improve communication is to enlist your students’ help by sending home one problem related to the class work you have been working on with the assignment for each student to explain their work to his or her parent. Ask for parent feedback in the form of a short response to a few questions on the concept and a summary of the explanation given by their child.

Remember that the Parent Guide is an excellent resource for parents who want to follow along with what is happening in class or to work with their child on a specific concept. The Math Notes boxes in the text and CPM Homework Help also offer support for parents who wish to help with homework.

Finally, remember the parent portal at cpm.org that contains a great deal of valuable information. **Don’t wait for misinterpretations or misconceptions about CPM to develop.** Be proactive and positive from the start.

Changing Math: Parent's Roles

Parents

Discuss with your children the importance of mathematics for their future.

• Instill in them the idea that they can learn mathematics.

• Encourage your children to study and take notes.

• Ask questions about what they are doing in class.

• If your son or daughter asks for help, ask them questions that will lead to their figuring out how to do the problem themselves.

• Be aware of current research about learning mathematics.

Remember: more effort in August and September on study teams and expectations makes less work the rest of the year. Hold a classroom discussion this week about what makes a good team using a Think-Ink-Pair-Share. Then have your students create posters that define what a good team “Looks Like, Sounds Like and Feels Like.” Using these posters and a Math Chat or Gallery walk will help students to envision the expectations of a well-functioning team. Giving feedback as to how the teams are doing will encourage teamwork and build confidence!! Ideas for effective feedback strategies include providing a written note to each team, holding a classroom conversation about what you or the students see, passing out positive comments to each team as you circulate, or administering an ungraded participation quiz.

Making sure that team tables/desks are cleared and that there are no ‘walls’ between team members will foster better discourse and make room for working collaboratively. If you are using eBooks, there should probably be no more than two computers open in a team. Otherwise, communication will suffer.

A reminder: If students are struggling with homework in Chapter 1, they should be getting help immediately as the topics in the homework are assumed to be topics they should have mastered from a previous course. CPM Homework Help is a great resource to share with students at this time. Be aware of issues of access to this online resource and brainstorm ways to provide it in cases where the need arises.

Remember Chapter 1 is an overview of the course and mastery of classroom topics is not expected. Have fun with these introductory, team-building lessons! As students have success in class they will have fun, too!

COLLABORATIVE LEARNING EXPECTATIONS

T E A M S (in your book)

Is this your first year using CPM? See “Advice for first-year teachers,” August/September 2001, in the newsletter archives at the CPM website.

Having your students’ working together in teams on the first day of school is a great way to establish your classroom expectations around cooperative learning. Remember that all of the activities, including team roles, and study team and teaching strategies provided in the first few lessons are specifically designed to encourage conversations between students - conversations about themselves as well as the math. Use icebreakers to help students break down some of the barriers to working as a study team. Most importantly, use time this week to set up classroom and study team expectations. Having students actively involved in making a list of classroom expectations is a great **Think-Ink-Pair** Share activity.

Getting students to be on task all the time is your ultimate goal, but remember that a few moments of off task conversation is normal. Finally, don’t forget to inform parents of your expectations as well.

Whether your students are working with graphing calculators or manipulatives for the first time or just being introduced to a new topic, there are some helpful strategies that foster quality teamwork. One is to make sure the students are working in pairs first. Have them use a **Peers Check**, where they are constantly checking to see what their partner is doing. Another idea is to have a few students (preferably the Facilitator from each team), come in before school (or after school the previous day) and teach them the use of the calculator or manipulatives that you are going to be using during the lesson. Then when the lesson begins you will have an experienced person at each team who will help facilitate the lesson. Remember to allow the students a few minutes to explore with the manipulative or calculator. There are also videos about using the graphing calculator on the eBook under Reference→TI 83/84. The TI graphing calculator videos and
Desmos videos are in student help!

Have a great start to a new school year! For an overview of collected “quick tips” for starting the school year, see the newsletter archives at the CPM website, September 2007 (“keys to success”) and September 2008 (quick tips).