ABP-V: Professional Development is Worth the Time

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Marylin Fehringer, Peetz, CO   fehringerm@re1valleyschools.org

Ladies and gents, fellow teachers in the trenches, do I have advice for you! 
Take the time to apply for Academy of Best Practices – Veterans (APB-V). It is professional development you will actually use!

I know, a week of summer is like gold. No one wants to spend precious time away from family for (gulp) learning. After all, as a veteran CPM teacher, what could CPM possibly have to offer you? Oh my! How about networking, math all-stars, challenges, and fun? If you are in the market for re-energizing and rejuvenating your teaching mojo, the week at ABP-V is worth the time. Let me tell a tale of how ABP-V changed my year and saved my students.

Every day at ABP-V, our fearless leaders (Bruce, Cheryl, and Laura) modeled the CPM pillars and procedures, starting with ice breakers, grouping strategies and other CPM tidbits. Daily themes that challenged our teaching mindsets made ABP-V unique. “What is the level of cognitive demand in your classroom?” “How effective are your study teams?” “What’s new in technology and how are you using it?” Each day we were faced with perception-changing thoughts and discussions. How did this change my year and save my students? These discussions forced me to dump my mental toolbox out on a virtual worktable, and re-evaluate each teaching tool as to its current value, making room for new, exciting, thought-provoking, student-engaging tools.

Many of us use the Desmos graphing calculator in our classes. Students love the access and ability to test graphs and equations. At ABP-V, one day was dedicated to learning about the Desmos class activities and applications from the creator, Eli Luberoff, himself. That contact alone (he reads and personally answers emails – love it!) was worth the week away from home. Several times in this last semester I have ditched previously planned lessons for Desmos activities which have the students engaged, exploring concepts, and learning at a deeper level. Eli changed my year.

As with many CPM professional development workshops, ABP-V had assignments.  While at the Academy, we were challenged to create movie trailers/teasers for textbook chapters and book cover teasers for the courses we teach. Some participants jumped into action, used their technological expertise, and whizzed through the projects. For some of us, more life-experienced people (okay, old dogs learning new tricks), it felt like climbing up a mental mountain as we made our way through the technology challenges of creating videos and slideshows. However, the productive struggle sparked deeper thoughts. As a result, I have completely revamped my school-required semester finals. I will be replacing the pencil and paper test with a choice of projects. My students now choose from creating a Desmos-based art project, a movie-style trailer, or a book cover teaser, each demonstrating application of true understanding of the content we have covered this semester. My students are stoked! Engagement, interest, and student buy-in have risen to previously unknown heights and it is all because of ABP-V resources and mind-blowing information. Productive struggle saved my students.

One word of caution: this is a tough week. It is not for the faint of heart. It is definitely not for those who like status-quo. If you are comfortable being stuck in a rut, then no, ABP-V is not for you. (Actually, if you are, I cannot believe you have read this far.)

However, if you are willing to be tested, challenged, and ready for the newly improved professional you…what are you waiting for? Quit reading this and go apply! Then pack the vitamins and strap in for an educationally wild ride!

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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.