The Power of Reflection

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Sharon Rendon, Director of Professional Learning, sharonrendon@cpm.org

It seems like school years continue to go by faster and faster.  It is already March and many of you are about to turn the corner, entering the fourth quarter of the year. Now is a great time to take some time to reflect and consider the opportunities you are providing for students to make sense of mathematics.

If you are in your first year of implementing, you are probably just now seeing the beauty of the connections and the learning over time that is happening with students. And those of you in your second year or beyond continue to see the beauty of mathematics unfold over time. I remember the first year I started teaching I was thrilled when my student arrived at the factoring quadratics section and they could see many of the previous concepts connected.

This year the professional learning department has made a concentrated effort to use the Implementation Progress Tool to provide some language and descriptors during support visits.  However, this tool is also useful beyond the first few years of implementation. Many of you have not had the opportunity this year to engage with this document, and you may not be aware of this tool or the ways in which it could be used.

The tool is aligned with the three pillars behind CPM’s design. The first section describes the foundational idea of the pillars. The second and third sections provide powerful opportunities for reflection. Section two focuses on student learning. Think about your lessons this past week and identify where your students are having success. What evidence are your students providing of high quality learning? You might also consider the areas your students need more support or structure to be successful in their learning. Maybe you and your colleagues could identify a goal that you work on collectively.

The third section provides some language about teacher actions. The language included in these descriptions is similar to the eight teaching practices found in the book Principles to Actions, published in 2014 from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Use this tool to identify a goal for the fourth quarter of the school year and put some action items into practice.  If you have not read the publication, put this book on your summer reading list.

Don’t wait any longer or let any more of the school year go by without taking the time to reflect on the learning happening in your classroom. Gather a couple of colleagues and spend some time celebrating your successes and identifying some next steps.

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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.