Reflection On Learning To Empower Students at the Second Annual #CPM_abp

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Mollie Siegel, Louisville, KY

The 2016/2017 school year has already begun, and more than 175 students come in and out of my Louisville, Kentucky classroom every other day through block scheduling. It is my first year in a new teaching position, and I am teaching a subject that is also new for me. Fortunately, I am one of many young teachers who want to make this an excellent year for all my students.

A few short weeks ago, CPM Educational Program sponsored 32 relatively new-to-the-field teachers at the second annual Academy of Best Practices in Seattle, Washington.  I went to gain knowledge, learn new strategies, and build a network of support. I had a wonderful time on the week-long retreat, and a quick glance at the Twitter hashtag “#CPM_abp” proves many others did as well.

There is already evidence of my Seattle trip in the structure of my classroom. My challenge this year will be to better employ collaborative teams using study team strategies. You will find my room set up in assigned teams of four, with material boxes displaying different team roles, and numbered team rules posted on my wall for easy prompting and cueing. The students hear me say phrases like, “you have not got it yet,” “productive struggle,” “goal-setting,” and “self-assessment.” I even have a snazzy Desmos bumper sticker posted to my plan book. For each upcoming lesson, including the Desmos activities, I have listed pocket questions designed to support students operating at a high level of cognitive demand.

My thanks go to CPM Director Karen Wootton, CPM Project Manager Mark Cote’, and CPM Coach Coordinator Sharon Rendon for leading the cause of bringing More Math to More People. The math educator community involved with CPM Educational Program knows that the most direct way to empower students is to supercharge their teachers. More and more math classrooms are saying yes to making the math classroom a place for all students to thrive.

I am excited to share that I will be meeting virtually with three other teachers from the Academy to discuss Algebra 2 strategies through a cross-country professional learning community. I would not have this extended support if not for the veteran teachers in my life, who have looked out to mentor newer teachers. Like all of the new teachers involved in the Academy of Best Practices, I would not have attended if not for people like Rebecca Bell, Erin Schneider, Dan Kim, and Sarah Nordmann, who wrote valuable recommendations. I am confident that I will aim to be as helpful to new teachers as these people have been to me.

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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

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.