CPM’s Academy of Best Practices

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Joe Sebastian, Alpine, CA   joe.sebastian@lfcsinc.org

This summer, I took an Alaskan cruise from Seattle and took the picture to the right while the ship was on its way to see a glacier. I noticed the water was still enough to reflect the mountain range. I also noticed the reflection was slightly fuzzy. I wondered if the math I teach can also be as unclear to my students. I wondered if my students feel like math is upside down for them. I realized I was doing a Notice and Wonder and recalled that CPM’s Academy of Best Practices (ABP) is what brought me to Seattle to embark on this adventure and challenge me to help my students see math right side up, clearer, and in focus.

As math educators encounter challenges, the CPM staff and ABP mentors challenged us with a deep dive into NCTM’s “Principles to Actions.” They, along with prominent leaders in math education, reviewed the eight Mathematics Teaching Principles. They shared not only philosophy but also strategies that can be used in the classroom immediately. They modeled some of CPM’s Study Team and Teaching Strategies and demonstrated the value of the algebra tiles, the importance of connections to the real world, providing discourse for students, how technology should be used, and promoted the idea of using a feedback system to assess student understanding and not just their lack of knowledge. Equally valuable, ABP established a network of 30 colleagues to collaborate on our ideas as we returned to our respective schools.

The strategies and practices that were modeled can be used in our classrooms “as is,” or modified to our teaching styles.  As the ship continued along Endicott Arm to see Dawes Glacier, I snapped this picture to the left which reminded me that one of the favorite callbacks we learned was to say “Waterfall,” and the teachers in unison would wiggle all ten fingers downwards as they said, “Shhhhhhhhhh.”  I will use this strategy, but having served in the Navy for 20 years and having launched rockets, I can easily alter it to say, “Rocket Launch,” to which the class in unison would raise both hands to the right and respond, “Whoooosssssshhhhhhh.”

Wherever you are in your teaching journey, consider applying for CPM’s ABP to discover different ways and directions to take your teaching to the next level.

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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.