A First Year of CPM Reflection

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Lori Williams, Rochester, IN   Lori.Williams@culver.org

It was the last week of July, 2017, and I decided I was ready for a change in my career. As I wrote my letter of resignation, I was open to endless possibilities, but knew that school in most public sectors of rural Indiana would be starting very soon. I started searching the Internet and decided to apply at Culver Academies, a boarding school approximately 25 miles northwest of where I already lived. I was not expecting an email the following morning requesting an interview, one that would change my entire outlook on education. During my interview I was asked about my knowledge of CPM. What was CPM? I had never heard of the curriculum, nor did I have any time to waste. After accepting a position, I immediately asked if I could attend the training to learn as much as I could before school started. The closest workshop that was in session was in Minnesota under the direction of Lisa Comfort. She graciously accepted me and I headed out west.

I participated in a fabulous three-day interactive training of the CPM curriculum. Not only should the workshops be a requirement for anyone teaching with the program, but Lisa Comfort, the Regional Coordinator for Minnesota, was beyond exceptional. I felt that I was more prepared to teach Core Connections, Geometry after a short amount of time than I had with any other summer preparation or professional development I have ever done.

As the school year began, and I embraced each lesson, I fell in love with CPM. Not only were the students engaged, I realized how much closer I became to my students. I was actually feeling good about my teaching, and planning for each day was fun. I was doing the lessons ahead of time, integrating teaching strategies, creating team building activities, and still finding time to make the class original and unique with my own flare. One of the coolest things that I use is the “CPM Tip of the Week” that Lisa emails to our group every Monday morning. I have mastered some of the study team and teaching strategies, and I am working to improve with others. I have the unique and awesome opportunity to work with two expert CPM teachers at my new school. We have built-in collaboration time daily, so I really am blessed.

The last major CPM impact for me happened just recently in San Francisco at the CPM National conference for teachers. Wow! What an awesome weekend. My energy level is still super high and my students are already benefiting from my attendance at the conference. I was honored to be able to attend the conference and was blown away with the generosity and knowledge that was shared. I have attended and presented at several professional development conferences, but this one was different. It was personable, professional, and made an impact. I was very inspired, and spent time on the flight home documenting all the things that I wanted to do when I got back to school. It can be very overwhelming with a lot of new information, but at the conference, we were all speaking and hearing the same language. It is hard for me to manage my excitement knowing that I cannot do it all, so I jotted down a couple new teaching strategies I want to do, like the Fortune Cookie or Hot Seat. I want to have my students do a “silent cheer” for our competitions that we already are doing in class. I want to add more to my “week at a glance” and be creative with my Mystery Student. I need to become diligent about closures and understand the importance of team norms and what makes effective teams. I need to make sure my students are a part in the creation of the teams and team norms. Most importantly, the conference reaffirmed that my HEART is full of passion and love for kids and teaching and CPM has brought joy to the classroom at Culver.

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Algebra Tiles Blue Icon

Algebra Tiles Session

  • Used throughout CPM middle and high school courses
  • Concrete, geometric representation of algebraic concepts.
  • Two-hour virtual session,
  •  Learn how students build their conceptual understanding of simplifying algebraic expressions
  • Solving equations using these tools.  
  • Determining perimeter,
  • Combining like terms,
  • Comparing expressions,
  • Solving equations
  • Use an area model to multiply polynomials,
  • Factor quadratics and other polynomials, and
  • Complete the square.
  • Support the transition from a concrete (manipulative) representation to an abstract model of mathematics..

Foundations for Implementation

This professional learning is designed for teachers as they begin their implementation of CPM. This series contains multiple components and is grounded in multiple active experiences delivered over the first year. This learning experience will encourage teachers to adjust their instructional practices, expand their content knowledge, and challenge their beliefs about teaching and learning. Teachers and leaders will gain first-hand experience with CPM with emphasis on what they will be teaching. Throughout this series educators will experience the mathematics, consider instructional practices, and learn about the classroom environment necessary for a successful implementation of CPM curriculum resources.

Page 2 of the Professional Learning Progression (PDF) describes all of the components of this learning event and the additional support available. Teachers new to a course, but have previously attended Foundations for Implementation, can choose to engage in the course Content Modules in the Professional Learning Portal rather than attending the entire series of learning events again.

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Building on Instructional Practice Series

The Building on Instructional Practice Series consists of three different events – Building on Discourse, Building on Assessment, Building on Equity – that are designed for teachers with a minimum of one year of experience teaching with CPM instructional materials and who have completed the Foundations for Implementation Series.

Building on Equity

In Building on Equity, participants will learn how to include equitable practices in their classroom and support traditionally underserved students in becoming leaders of their own learning. Essential questions include: How do I shift dependent learners into independent learners? How does my own math identity and cultural background impact my classroom? The focus of day one is equitable classroom culture. Participants will reflect on how their math identity and mindsets impact student learning. They will begin working on a plan for Chapter 1 that creates an equitable classroom culture. The focus of day two and three is implementing equitable tasks. Participants will develop their use of the 5 Practices for Orchestrating Meaningful Mathematical Discussions and curate strategies for supporting all students in becoming leaders of their own learning. Participants will use an equity lens to reflect on and revise their Chapter 1 lesson plans.

Building on Assessment

In Building on Assessment, participants will apply assessment research and develop methods to provide feedback to students and inform equitable assessment decisions. On day one, participants will align assessment practices with learning progressions and the principle of mastery over time as well as write assessment items. During day two, participants will develop rubrics, explore alternate types of assessment, and plan for implementation that supports student ownership. On the third day, participants will develop strategies to monitor progress and provide evidence of proficiency with identified mathematics content and practices. Participants will develop assessment action plans that will encourage continued collaboration within their learning community.

Building on Discourse

In Building on Discourse, participants will improve their ability to facilitate meaningful mathematical discourse. This learning experience will encourage participants to adjust their instructional practices in the areas of sharing math authority, developing independent learners, and the creation of equitable classroom environments. Participants will plan for student learning by using teaching practices such as posing purposeful questioning, supporting productive struggle, and facilitating meaningful mathematical discourse. In doing so, participants learn to support students collaboratively engaged with rich tasks with all elements of the Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices incorporated through intentional and reflective planning.