ABP: Building Self-Confidence

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Naomi Paulson-Michael, Gillette, WY   npaulson@ccsd1schools.net

When I was accepted to attend the Academy of Best Practices, my hope was to learn ways to improve my students’ experiences in my classroom. I have never wanted my students to simply learn more math; I want them to struggle, persevere, and grow. Through this process, I believe, they will more deeply interact with mathematical concepts. I came to the academy with an idea of what should be done in my classroom to better foster the collaborative community I aim to create. However, I did not realize that one of the biggest difficulties I faced in creating this learning environment lived in my own level of confidence. Before heading to Seattle, I believed I knew what should be happening in an effective math classroom. Still, I struggled with truly believing that I could actually make it happen. The Academy of Best Practices helped me build self-confidence to achieve my goal.

The most powerful aspect of the week for me was the student-centered experience. We were given the opportunity to experience best practices through the student perspective. As we moved through daily themes of productive struggle, professionalism, equity, technology, and feedback, I became more aware of how the positive and encouraging classroom environment helps to build student confidence. The leadership team demonstrated immense support as we faced the struggles of learning. This helped me relate to what my students feel every day and, more importantly, gain a better understanding of how to deal with my own doubts and uncertainty as the teacher. Given my limited teaching experience, I have been reluctant to admit what I did not know and what I felt unprepared to teach.

The community of learners with whom I was blessed to spend the week was also instrumental in my personal growth. Every member of our cohort was encouraging and provided a unique point-of-view in working through challenges. Not only did we have the opportunity to grow together during our week in Seattle, but we have created a nationwide support system that each of us can turn to for ideas and encouragement.

I had originally hoped to attend the Academy of Best Practices to learn how I can better help my students. What I know now is that I needed to build my own self-confidence in order to improve experiences for my students. Education, with its ever-evolving nature, is not a profession that allows us to maintain a static comfort level. However, we cannot permit any doubt or uncertainty to discourage us from trying to improve the classroom experience for our students. Attending the Academy of Best Practices was extraordinary and helped build my self-confidence. Now I know I can foster an effective, collaborative, and positive classroom environment for my students.

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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

This series contains three different courses, taken in either order. The courses are designed for schools and teachers with a minimum of one year of experience teaching with CPM curriculum materials. Teachers will develop further understanding of strategies and tools for instructional practices and assessment.

Building on Equity

In this course, participants will learn how to include equitable practices in their  classroom and support traditionally underserved students in becoming leaders of their own learning. Participants will reflect on how their math identity and mindsets impact student learning. They will begin working on a plan for implementing Chapter 1 that creates an equitable classroom culture and curate strategies for supporting all students in becoming leaders of their own learning. Follow-up during the school year will support ongoing implementation of equitable classroom practices.

Building on Assessment

In this course, participants will apply assessment research to develop methods to provide feedback to students and to inform equitable assessment decisions. Participants will develop assessment action plans that will encourage continued collaboration within their learning community.

Building on Discourse

This professional learning builds upon the Foundations for Implementation Series by improving teachers’ 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 rigorous, team-worthy tasks with all elements of the Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices.