Making a Difference

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Leah Gaines, Blacklick, OH leahgaines@cpm.org

I became a teacher because I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to change the way students experience math and the way they see themselves as mathematicians. As a teacher, I made a difference for 120 students each year. Once I had been teaching for several years, I wanted to expand my reach. I became department chair and coached fellow teachers in my school and district to make a difference for their students. In this position, I made a difference for over a thousand students each year. Then I had the opportunity to expand my reach even further. After over a decade in the classroom, I became a curriculum writer for CPM and now I write curricula that make a difference for tens of thousands of students each year. 

As a curriculum writer, not only do I get to help teachers across the country and all over the world make a difference for their students, but I get to do the fun and interesting work of digging into how and why people teach the way they do. I get to investigate the latest research on best practices in teaching math and discover ways to weave them into CPM’s already fantastic curriculum. I get to collaborate with the wealth of experienced and knowledgeable teachers that make up CPM and learn every day. And I get to do this all from home. I get to cut out all the time I used to waste commuting, which allows me to meet my son at his bus stop at the end of the day and have lunch with my husband when he works from home. I get to use my paid volunteer time off to help out in my son’s classroom. And, most fun of all, I get to travel all over the US to meet with my colleagues on our writing team. 

I am so grateful to CPM for the opportunity to do such important work. I truly love what I do and am excited for what is to come.

We are looking for more writers to join our team, so please consider applying and embarking on this fulfilling and rewarding journey with us!

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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

This series contains three different courses, taken in either order. The courses are designed for schools and teachers with a minimum of one year of experience teaching with CPM curriculum materials. Teachers will develop further understanding of strategies and tools for instructional practices and assessment.

Building on Equity

In this course, participants will learn how to include equitable practices in their  classroom and support traditionally underserved students in becoming leaders of their own learning. Participants will reflect on how their math identity and mindsets impact student learning. They will begin working on a plan for implementing Chapter 1 that creates an equitable classroom culture and curate strategies for supporting all students in becoming leaders of their own learning. Follow-up during the school year will support ongoing implementation of equitable classroom practices.

Building on Assessment

In this course, participants will apply assessment research to develop methods to provide feedback to students and to inform equitable assessment decisions. Participants will develop assessment action plans that will encourage continued collaboration within their learning community.

Building on Discourse

This professional learning builds upon the Foundations for Implementation Series by improving teachers’ 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 rigorous, team-worthy tasks with all elements of the Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices.