Raising the Status

December 2023

It has been a long-time goal of mine to incorporate Study Team and Teaching Strategies that promote discourse and raise the status of each member in class. Some of my favorite Study Team and Teaching Strategies that foster this goal include Pairs Check, Hot Potato, Think-Ink-Pair-Share, Carousel, Fortune Cookie, and Huddle. However, this year I have had new learning pertaining to this topic.

Our middle school is piloting the newly released Inspiring Connections program at the 6th grade level. The authors have designed strategic Launches that promote discourse and raise the status of each class member. Each Launch is an activity that typically lasts between five to ten minutes at the beginning of the lesson. The format varies, but it consists of activities like Which One Is Unique?, Data Chats about infographics, Number Talks, Dot Talks, and Notice & Wonder. These Math Chats start with the students thinking silently. They extend one finger close to their chest if they have one way to explain or answer the question, and they can extend additional fingers if they have other answers or explanations.

We have found that in the first few months of the school year, the Launch has set the tone for the culture of the class. It serves as a mindset reminder each day that students all have something to contribute. They might think of an idea that someone else has not, and it is especially exciting to celebrate when the students think of something that the teacher did not think of! It greatly raises the participation because we are not looking for the one right answer, since these questions often have many correct solutions. What a great way to start class: feeling like you are a valuable part of the class and can contribute to the discussion each and every day.

I recently overheard one student compliment another student during a team challenge about his increased effort in math class this year (in comparison to last year). This small gesture made a big impact for that student; his face lit up and he dove right into the work. Building up each student’s self efficacy—their belief in their own ability—is the key to success not only for that student but for the entire class. The Launch, as well as the entire Inspiring Connections program, has been designed perfectly to support this initiative.

Discover what Inspiring Connections can do for your classroom: https://cpm.org/middle-school-ic/

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Kristy Reider

Menasha, WI

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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.