Chapter Closure Strategy: Concept Map Extension

J.C. Lewis, York, PA

Using a concept map as a chapter closure activity is one of my favorite ways to conclude a chapter, especially one that has introduced (or reintroduced) a number of vocabulary words.  However, chapter closure can be a chaotic time in my classroom, as I often have any number of students working on different activities based on their individual or team needs. I find some students fly through multiple closure activities while others need that extra processing time, especially as we get closer to a chapter test. Additionally, I am constantly trying to find ways to unlock deeper connections with the relevant content and vocabulary for all of my students. To help solve these problems, I have employed a concept map extension.

This closure activity begins just like any concept map, as teams are asked to not only draw arrows indicating connections from one vocabulary word (card) to another, but also succinctly write what they believe those connections to be. The extension occurs once the maps have been completed as teams are asked to first take a picture of their completed product to refer back to as an answer key. Then, teams take the vocabulary words off of their maps, leaving only the arrows and connections. The maps can then be traded, rotated, or shared with new teams attempting to put the map back together again.

As you plan out how you might personally use this extension in your own classroom, consider providing students with pre-made vocabulary cards in addition to a few blank cards in the event that they get on a roll and want to extend their thought process. If you wish to actually display the concept maps around the room, using sticky notes for the vocabulary cards works effectively.  Finally, regardless of how you have your teams share their maps, this extension works well immediately following the completion of the maps, after another closure activity has been completed, as an extension for a group that works through another lesson or activity quickly, or even as a review activity later in the year (before a final exam, for example).

After using this extension repeatedly in my classroom I’ve found that it not only unlocks some more meaningful connections but also raises the expectations for each team. They now know another team will be relying on the connections they have made to reassemble their map.  Hopefully, the concept map extension will help your students engage in more genuine mathematical dialogue as well as gain a better understanding of the vocabulary they see each and every day in your classroom.

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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

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.