Study Team Success From The Start

Sharon Rendon, Coaching Coordinator

As the new school year begins, it is a great time to consider your plans for study team effectiveness. Students do not automatically know how to work collaboratively. They need opportunities to discuss what effective teams look like and sound like. Additionally, students need to know they will be held accountable for participating in their study teams productively. Intentional planning is a necessary component in getting your teams established and maintained.

First, carefully consider how you will teach and model for your students the characteristics of effective study teams. This could include using a jigsaw activity to teach the team roles. It might include creating “looks like” and “sounds like” posters highlighting the team norms. And it could also be accomplished with the STTS Fishbowl, where students observe a team while that team is working on a problem. Students can learn from observing both effective and not so effective teams in action.

Another component of successful teams is some type of accountability system. This may include many different parts, but items to contemplate include individual accountability, team interdependence, and celebration of successful teams. One idea is to use a random recorder/reporter system: have students work in teams to prepare their answers, and then randomly choose who from the team will report. Building team interdependence through participation quizzes, team tests, and homework credit are all great options.

Consider making any accountability system not a part of the grade, but a true opportunity to celebrate effective teams where your highest achieving teams receive some type of acknowledgment. When the time to switch teams arrives, be sure to have some type of recognition. This can vary from certificates, to a team “selfie” board, to a special lunch opportunity, to even something as simple as a hot chocolate party. Be creative and have fun.

Finally, remember to go slow to go fast. Investing the time now at the beginning of the year and planning to continually revisit team effectiveness will pay huge dividends in the end. Students will be the owners of their own learning, they will be more likely to persevere and solve problems, and they will be successful at working collaboratively in study teams.

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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.