Learning Takes Time for Students and Teachers, Even During Remote Learning

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Jeremiah Morgan, Eagan, MN  JeremiahMorgan@cpm.org

One of the reasons I became a teacher is because of my own experience as a child. Teachers were so much more than distributors of math, science, and language arts content. They were the ones I relied on through the loss of family members and friends, through poverty, and so much more. They were also the ones there to coach me through sports and build confidence in my own resiliency for life through seemingly insignificant interactions over more than a dozen years. When the stay-at-home orders began, I felt like all of the reasons I became a teacher were put on hold and I sat behind my computer at home to deliver content.

How would I promote collaboration for my students and the math team when we were miles apart? Gradually, I learned to navigate online tools for sharing work between my students and myself. I encouraged students to form regular math teams, and they began reporting that the routines in class could be applied to outside of the classroom. Many learned to better verbalize their thinking because they could not simply point to a step on their paper. We all became better problem solvers.

How could problems written for effective teams be completed outside of school? Gradually, the answer came in a very similar way. Each day I sent out a basic slideshow with key pieces of the problems. I embedded audio of the problems being read aloud, but many students stated that they read the problems too. Then, strategically, I typed my pocket questions and animated them throughout the slideshow. Students said they liked this better because there was more think-time to answer the questions. In terms of circulation, this was my first and second pass. Students sent images of their work via email, and I would respond with follow up questioning, in effect continuing my circulation.

In some ways, learning in this new environment created natural opportunities for interleaving the problems. When students scheduled time with classmates or me, they left problems and came back to them throughout the day. Many times questions were sent to me via email that I did not open for many hours. Often, students said something similar to, “Thanks, I was able to figure it out after a little time.” But, they also were able to think about the question one more time. I also got back some of those interactions that I missed from the classroom, as students asked for advice beyond mathematics.

Distance learning is something that I never want to take part in again. There were many students for which this environment created unfair inequities. I want our communities safe and healthy, but I also believe in the interconnectedness of being together in the same building for learning. The energy that comes from teams collectively sharing in the responsibilities of problem solving is in some ways unreplicable. CPM is doing amazing things to support the professional development for teachers in the classroom and through distance learning environments so that they can better serve our students no matter the problems we face.

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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.