The Academy of Best Practices for Veteran CPM Teachers:  Re-ignite your Passion!

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The ABP provided me with many new ideas as well as a greater confidence in delivering the curriculum, and an ever-stronger commitment to the CPM program.

Why did 32 veteran CPM teachers gather last August in Seattle to learn more about a curriculum they already use? It turns out that the CPM courses are very interesting characters! The group included teachers from school districts across the country, each with five or more years of CPM teaching experience,who were ready to take CPM to the next level. The teachers spent a powerful week at Seattle Pacific University with time for reflection, productive struggle, and taking a deeper dive into the inner workings of a CPM classroom. One important theme throughout the week was the idea of a “mathematical story.”

Just as a literary story can be a short story, a long novel, or a multiple-volume epic tale, the notion of mathematical story also can operate at different grain sizes. …. The notion of mathematical story pays attention to the mathematical ideas in focus at each point of the sequence to understand how the content unfolds.

– Managing editor Leslie Dietiker, taken from the article “Shaping Mathematics into Compelling Stories: A Curriculum Design Heuristic”

Similar to a book study group, these veteran teachers analyzed the storylines in the curriculum. They learned that when lessons are modified (something we have all done!) it can interrupt the storyline and have unintended consequences on student learning. Two participants summarized their learning this way:

“I have always told my students that there are things that we use throughout the school year, but never put two and two together that there was an overall story that went with the book. Now I am able to see the chapters as short stories that connect to an overall story. How magnificent that I will be able to point this out to my students and help increase their mathematical connections.”

“I have taken a greater look at the threads, making myself more aware of how each problem fits in the mosaic.”

Throughout the week participants examined topics related to storyline, including equity, cognitive demand, learners who sometimes struggle, collaborative study teams, and team roles. These experiences were carefully sequenced to model the storyline concept and to help teachers answer the essential question “How do my actions as a teacher influence learning for all students?” Time for processing after each activity allowed teachers to reflect both individually and with peers. The opportunity to reflect was powerful, and something that teachers do not always have time for during a busy school year. One participant wrote:

“The essential question will resonate long after the Academy. After fully processing in the upcoming weeks I plan to not only use what I heard but will passionately be an agent for change and sharing. Too good to keep to yourself.”

In addition to reflecting on pedagogy, participants also experienced productive struggle by wrestling through a problem solving session known as  Tom’s Problem and then discussing the role of teams in the process.  Throughout the week, teachers re-examined the importance of teams and left committed to making them a part of their collaborative classroom this year. One participant described the impact of the Academy on her classroom in this way:

“I have found the ABP to be a great experience for my teaching. As of right now, my kids are still in groups! We are on week five of school and this is the longest I have gone with kids still in groups. Many of the rituals and routines we went over in the Academy I have implemented, or adapted, to my classroom needs. I use the videos in the online teacher edition daily, go over the team roles with my classes on a consistent basis, use the checklist that was mentioned by a peer, and have learned to ‘go slow to go fast.’ It has been an interesting start to the school year and I am happy to say that my school also has a CPM coach of which we get to take advantage! I am excited to see what the rest of the year will bring.”

The Academy of Best Practices for Veteran CPM Teachers is an important vehicle for helping teachers re-ignite their passion for CPM and for best practices. If you are a CPM teacher who has been using the curriculum for more than five years, consider applying to attend the Academy of Best Practices for Veteran Teachers 2.0 in the summer of 2018.  You and your students will be glad you did! Space is limited and selection is not guaranteed. Plan ahead!  Applications are comprehensive and will open in the new year.

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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

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.