Academy of Best Practices 5.0: Cultivating a Cohort of Professionals

Mariah Vandertie, Luxemburg-Casco, WI,

I had the pleasure of serving as the junior mentor for the Academy of Best Practices 5.0 at Seattle Pacific University in August. As a participant in ABP 4.0, I was inspired to apply for such a leadership role because I discovered so much about myself, my teaching practice, and my potential as a leader in those five days. I left Seattle recharged in my teaching practice last summer as a participant, and this year as a mentor was no different.

The week focused on various topics including professionalism, cognitive demand, supporting productive struggle, equity, and technology. We launched ABP by diving into Principles to Action with Diane Briars. Participants explored the effective teaching practices and professionalism in mathematics. On day two, we learned about cognitive demand with Aaron Brakoniecki. Participants exposed themselves to various types of tasks with high or low potential for cognitive demand. Wednesday was a lesson in rough draft talk and how to support productive struggle in the classroom using Tom’s Problem. Participants tackled a complex task involving lighting candles through the effective use of study team teaching strategies. Dr. Kristopher Childs spoke about injustices, inequities, and access issues in the classroom on Thursday. We ended the week with a workshop facilitated by Eli Luberoff, CEO of Desmos, that wowed all participants as we learned about all the online graphing calculator had to offer.

As I summarize my five days at ABP 5.0, the one aspect I cannot quite put into words is the support system that undoubtedly builds over the week. As a participant, and now as a mentor, I have learned the importance of collaboration in this profession. Teachers can have a great education, pedagogical knowledge and mastery of their content, but what ABP always reveals is that we are truly smarter together than we are apart. It is because of this revelation that I will continue to learn from the Academy of Best Practices and collaborate with the professionals that I have met there.

Educators are not meant to work in isolation and ABP is a great place to develop a support system that may not exist for you in your district. I cannot find the words to properly articulate how reinvigorating the Academy of Best Practices is for all involved. I am grateful to CPM for allowing me to grow as a mathematics teacher and to help other novice teachers refine their teaching practice. I encourage you all to reach out for more information regarding our new teacher ABP and our veteran session. It is an experience of a lifetime that will impact your classroom and the education of your students for years to come!

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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.