A Week with ABP

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Cheniece Arthur, Baltimore, MD  ChenieceArthur@yahoo.com

Imagine walking into a classroom with white board walls covered with ideas you have come up with, teachers huddled in groups exchanging thoughts, algebra tiles spread across tables, remnants of oversized bubbles, candy, participation tickets, and eyes lighting up as people have ‘aha’ moments! That’s CPM, that’s the Academy of Best Practices!

I was given the opportunity to spend five days on the beautiful campus of Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, Washington with like-minded math teachers. I had no idea what I was getting into, I just knew I was excited to participate in whatever activities they had planned. Speaking of planning, this was the most well thought-out, planned, and organized event I have ever attended. The energy was great, making it a comfortable environment to flourish in.

My ABP Leaders were amazing! They triggered ideas in me that I did not know I had. They introduced us to new ways of delivering math content by putting us in the shoes of a student. Usually in my professional development meetings I walk in thinking “How long will I be in here before I can get back to making copies or planning?” However, this week long professional development sparked something in me. We did things, had discussions, and participated in all types of activities, which made me excited about learning and teaching. I was a student all over again but in this case I wanted to be there. Little did I know my life was going to change for the better; not only as a teacher going into her fourth year teaching, but as a person as well.

Along with the experience in the classroom, I was able to connect on a personal level with the other participants in the program. Once the work day was over, most of us got together to tour the city. Every night a social event was informally planned allowing us to bond. We had a chance to bounce ideas off of each other, share our “teacher stories” and really form friendships.

This experience provided me with a new perspective. It revealed to me what type of teacher I am. I never felt like I was forced to change my teaching style but rather a mirror was held up showing me what I was doing and what I could be doing with my students. The Academy of Best Practices (ABP) gave me so many new tools for my math tool box. What is great is, even though this was a math focused professional development, I was given tools that would be helpful to all teachers. I look forward to sharing all the strategies I learned with my coworkers. I am so excited to get back into classroom this upcoming fall. Every math teacher in America should have this opportunity! I hope this grows into something that is international!

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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.