Chris’s Corner

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Chris Mikles, Director of Professional Learning,

Professional Learning is one of the best ways to foster change, and support what you are doing in your classes.

Going to conferences, state, regional or national conferences, is an outstanding way to add to your professional learning. You can go to so many different sessions, mostly targeted on what you personally want to learn. Now is the time to find the one conference that works for you, and start working on funding. (Remember: CPM does offer a National Conference in February! Get your administrators to commit to letting you attend now!) If your district will not support you attending professional development, then there are many organizations and companies that offer educational grants. Do not wait till the last minute; start looking now! There are conferences beginning this summer and many, many conferences in the fall. There should be at least one conference that will work for you.

If you can not fund a conference then look for workshops. The workshop season is right around the corner. This summer, CPM is offering many workshops for free. The first year implementation workshops will get you started teaching in a student-centered classroom. Besides modeling problems and going through the math at your grade or course level, the Phase 1 workshops also cover the resources CPM has, research, questioning, assessment, effective teams, study team and teaching strategies, and more. You do not need to be teaching CPM to attend, just find a workshop and register.

We have a second year implementation workshop for teachers who have already been through the first year training and are now ready for the next step. The Phase 2 workshops concentrate on instructional strategies. The resource we use is the book Principles to Action put out by NCTM, which talks about the Guiding Principles for School Mathematics. One of those principles covers Teaching and Learning and that is where we pull from to come up with content and activities.

Our Phase 3 workshop will be centered on assessment. We are continuing to use Principles to Action as well as tried and true activities from past CPM assessment workshops.

If you cannot find the workshop that you need, please contact your Regional Coordinator.

There are other workshops/seminars hosted by CPM. One is the Creating Collaborative Classrooms workshop and the other is the Academy of Best Practices institute. Look on our website for more information. The Creating Collaborative Classrooms workshop is for schools or districts that do not use CPM in their classes, but would like to learn about creating a student centered classroom. If you know of a school or district that would benefit from a Creating Collaborative Classrooms workshop, please contact your Regional Coordinator or Chris Mikles at Applications for the two Academy of Best Practices seminars were due May 1, but they are something to keep on your radar for next year. Visit for more information.

I hope you find the professional learning opportunity that will help foster change and give you support in your classroom, your school, and your district.

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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.