How I Became a Better Teacher at the CPM Conference

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Leah Gaines, Teacher Reporter, Westerville, OH

When first arriving at the CPM conference I was excited to have some time to collaborate with other teachers and learn something new; little did I know it would be so much more than that and my experience at the conference has already had a positive impact on me professionally.

Beginning with Jo Boaler, the keynote speaker, I was instantly inspired—she is so passionate about her work and research. She specifically spoke to issues that have been brought up on numerous occasions by our district’s parents and students as we have transitioned to CPM: ability grouping, students thinking they are “not good at math,” and the research behind the benefits of a growth mindset. Everything she shared with us made me a bigger believer in the fact that we are doing what is best for students and will continue to see huge growth in their learning.

Next it was on to the individual sessions. The amount of information I soaked up during these sessions was astounding. I was amazed by the scope of what can be done with Desmos, I heard of fellow teachers’ experience with a standards-based grading system, I was introduced to tech tools I can incorporate into my everyday lessons, I learned how to grade with a rubric, and how to make my grading practices fair and equitable. I could go on and on about the invaluable learning that took place. But what really solidified it for me was the chance to discuss these topics with my peers.

For the entirety of the two days I was constantly collaborating with teachers from all over America, from schools of all types and backgrounds. In true CPM fashion, this is where the true learning happened. I had the chance to internalize all of the information I had heard, was able to learn what others had learned in different sessions, and was able to compare notes and come away with so many ideas for my own classroom and school.

For me, being a teacher is summed up perfectly in the saying “you can’t see the forest for the trees.” As any teacher knows, the day-to-day grind of planning, grading, emails, and meetings makes it hard to take time out to focus on your teaching practice as a whole. I know for me personally, taking time to come to the CPM conference helped me see the forest and remember why I am a teacher.

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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.