Six Degrees of Separation – CPM Style

Community/Public Relations Icon

Mark Cote’, CPM Project Manager

Every so often the phone rings and, instead of an insurance salesperson or a scammer calling to transfer a large sum of money into your bank account (just send him the pin and the account number), it is someone you actually want to talk to. I received such a call last fall.

“Hi Uncle Mark! It’s Angelina,” said my niece with a very upbeat and joyful tone of voice.
“Hi Angelina! Wonderful to hear from you. How are you doing?” I replied.

“I’m fine. You know what? They handed out our new books in math class today, and your name is in it! I told my teacher that you’re my uncle and she said you should come visit our class as a guest speaker!” Angelina seemed truly excited about this occurrence, but you could also hear the adolescent voice of doubt in her head wondering ‘Uh oh. Is this going to be embarrassing?’

“Wow, what a coincidence!” I replied. “And how nice of your teacher to invite me.” Having worked with adolescents for the better part of thirty years, I added, “We’ll do something fun and I promise not to be embarrassing.”

This delightful conversation happened because Angelina is currently a student at Herman Intermediate School in San Jose, CA. The Oak Grove School District is piloting the Core Connections Middle Grades Program. By happenstance, I would soon be traveling from Washington state to San Jose for a family celebration.

After exchanging several emails in December with Barbara Maguire, Angelina’s energetic and gracious teacher at Herman, and Principal Laura Meusel, a visitation date was set. We continued to talk during the next several weeks about course objectives, class progress, and possible lesson ideas. I was also contacted by Shannon Anido-Bui, the Oak Grove Educational Services Coordinator about the possibility of visiting other classes and meeting with several teachers from the other middle schools at the end of the teaching day. This sounded like a wonderful opportunity to offer additional support. Shannon gave rave reviews for the initial training provided by Gail Standiford, CPM Regional Coordinator for the San Francisco Bay Area and Teacher Leaders Gabrielle Baumgartner and Jan Carlson-Williams.

What a superb visit to Herman Intermediate! Barbara and I enjoyed the opportunity to team teach a lesson that helped the students understand the connection between proportional relationships, lines, and linear equations. We also employed several study team strategies to promote discussions and help consolidate the learning. The final bell of the day came very quickly. After bus duty, Barbara and I debriefed as teachers from the other intermediate schools in the district arrived. Over the next hour we had a stimulating discussion about grouping, pacing, and a number of other topics. As I packed up and prepared to leave, Shannon remarked, “Thank you so much for your time! I have loved learning about CPM during this pilot year!”

How did I get to help work on the textbook? I have been fortunate to participate in numerous outstanding professional development opportunities with CPM. One of the very best was assisting in the creation of the Connections Series and the Core Connections Series as a contributing author on several writing teams. For 26 years, CPM has relied on scores of classroom teachers just like you and me to make the textbooks. After responding to a request for writers and submitting several sample problems, I was asked by Senior Managing Editor Leslie Dietiker to join the team. A year of hard work lead to one of the proudest moments in my professional life, holding a copy of the finished text while reflecting on the dedication of dozens of CPM teachers who committed an enormous number of hours to the project. And now, our manual for learning mathematics was in the hands of my niece, one of ten million students who have participated in a CPM course.

I am fairly certain that Angelina was not too embarrassed to have her uncle visit school because she was willing to be in the picture. Here we are, two members of the CPM family, at zero degrees of separation!

You are now leaving

Did you want to leave

I want to leave

No, I want to stay on

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.

Edit Content

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.