Behind What?

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Karen Wootton, Odenton, MD

You might have seen this tweet when it made the rounds:

After the chuckle, I started thinking What would have happened if the 4-year-old had not spoken up? During the pause in this tweeted conversation, I can imagine the gears turning as the 4YO is making sense of the statement. I can also imagine another outcome where the 4YO does NOT speak up and walks away confused by the conversation. The adult would think the 4YO is going to switch the shoes, while the 4YO is just stymied. There might not be improvement, and nobody would learn.

Students are not always forthcoming with information. It might be that they are shy and not willing to speak, or they might be confused and have no idea of the type of response that is expected. We cannot assume that we know what is going on in students’ heads.

We also cannot assume that we know students’ mathematical histories, so we should not try to guess. Every student experienced something different during the pandemic, and the learning targets that were hit probably varied from student to student. There is a lot of chatter about students having gaps in learning or students falling behind. Behind what? Behind an arbitrary line drawn during better times with the best of circumstances in mind? Everyone experienced an interruption in the normal mode of learning. It is true that some students, particularly those who did not have the structures at home to support continued learning, might have made less progress than others. This is not an argument for assessing students extensively to determine gaps, nor is it an argument for summer school for all to “catch back up.” It is an argument to not make assumptions.

Navigating the classroom in the fall will take a sympathetic caring heart within a teacher who is watching for misunderstandings. Start the school year strong, with the grade level/course material. Spend time doing team building activities and taking advantage of students being with their peers again to build a community of learners within your classroom. Provide just-in-time support when needed, not the just-in-case teaching many are pushing. (See the Professional Learning Departments offerings in the Professional Learning Announcements for support on just-in-time teaching.) For more than a year, teaching has been difficult, and while we hope it will be more like normal in the fall, it will still have its challenges. Lean on your colleagues, at your school, on social media, and at CPM, to help. Keep the growth of your students’ learning at the forefront of your thinking and planning. You’ve got this!

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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.