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Nicholas A. Love, Chicago, IL,

CPM teacher Lauren Hall created a buzz among CPM’s Professional Learning staff in December of 2022. “So this is amazing,” was the message I received in Slack when Lauren started posting about her Intervention Throwback Thursday on Twitter.

After we shared the Twitter thread with more CPM staff, I knew we had to reach out to Lauren and learn more about her math story, what drives her creativity, and how she ended up with students posting videos about math on TikTok.

Not only did we hear back from Lauren, but from some of her students as well! So enjoy this window into a CPM classroom—and make sure you read all the way to the end of the interview for some teachers-helping-teachers encouragement.

Q: What are your math teacher and CPM origin stories?

A: This is my 8th year teaching high school math. I started teaching at a private school for 3 years, where we did traditional math classes like I grew up taking (pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, etc.). Then, I moved to a public school that had recently adopted the CPM curriculum, and I immediately fell in love!

This is my 5th year teaching with CPM, and I have attended CPM conferences, presented at the 2022 CPM [Teacher] Conference, and I am presenting at two sessions at the upcoming 2023 conference. I have learned so much about math since I was a student as I’ve been teaching with the CPM curriculum and facilitating the learning of my students.

Q: How do you keep your students engaged and excited about math?

A: Student Makaela says of Lauren, “You make learning fun. You turn everything into a game. Keeps people competitive and active.”

Q: How do you keep yourself engaged and excited about math?

A: I get inspired on Twitter by seeing different ideas people share. I love talking with other math teachers, and just other teachers in general, about cool things they are doing in their classrooms. Our Tech and Innovation Team at our district does a great job of facilitating training and [professional development] where I have learned about incorporating [the] Voice and Choice [protocol] regularly within my classroom.

Q: Can you share about your process and inspiration behind activities like the Parent Function Dance and the Taco Bell Choice Menu Board?

A: I was inspired to do the Parent Function Dance because of the Teacher Notes in the CPM textbook for section 2.2.3 in Integrated Math 3; the suggested lesson activity is to do function aerobics. So I thought that instead of doing it as a class, give them a choice to make a TikTok.

I was inspired for my Taco Bell Choice Menu because it was the first week of the new trimester with a new group of students in Math 3. They had all come from a variety of teachers, and I didn’t know all of them and wanted to meet them where they were at in their learning of quadratics. I had read somewhere, probably Twitter, that instead of calling problems “easy,” “medium,” or “hard,” you can call them mild, medium, and spicy. This immediately made me think of Taco Bell, and I quickly created the Taco Bell Choice Menu on Canva.

Q: How did your students respond to the Parent Function Dance?

A: Only about two groups of students from each class chose to do the Parent Function Dance activity on TikTok. But they had a lot of fun, and once they shared the link with me, I shared it the next day with all of my classes, and everyone enjoyed watching the videos.

Student Faith explains, “I found it very entertaining and engaging to watch.”

Q: There are many demands on class time these days. How do you balance pacing and covering content with doing extra activities (like the dance challenge)?

A: I have attended a lot of [professional development] from our Tech and Innovation Team at our district that emphasizes [the] Voice and Choice [protocol]. Since we came back from distance learning, I have incorporated “Intervention Days” into my pacing calendar for each course. I try to have one every other or every third week. This is a day when I can see where my students are struggling, and I can put together some sort of playlist of different activities that students can choose to work on. While they are working on the activities of their choosing, I meet with every student and work one-on-one with them on a specific topic that I choose for that day.

Q: What encouragement would you share with your fellow math teachers?

A: There is always time to allow for Voice and Choice! Plan for intervention days when you pace out your curriculum. Sometimes it is worth doing a double lesson on one day just to have a flexible day for targeted interventions. Also… beg, borrow, and steal. Very rarely do I come up with ideas all on my own or create anything from scratch. I get inspired by things I hear about on Twitter, blog articles, or from my colleagues and ask for a copy and tweak it to make it my own to fit my and my students’ needs.

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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.