Throwback Thursdays

May 2024

Intervention. Voice and choice. Ownership. Those were our goals when we started to think about how we wanted to do things differently in our classroom. Our classroom is an Integrated 1 co-taught classroom where one-third of the students have IEPs, 504s, and/or designations as English Language Learners. We were loving the conversations that we were hearing in our class, but the test scores didn’t match what we were hearing and seeing. We knew we had to do something different.

As we planned for our trimester, we decided to add in intervention days. We knew we wanted our students to have targeted interventions, but we also wanted them to have some voice and choice in what they wanted to learn. We created what we call “Throwback Thursdays” to do in-class interventions and allow our students to take ownership of what they felt they needed to work on. Activities range from Desmos, Quizizz, Blooket, worksheets, vertical surface work, and one-on-one intervention with a teacher. Each Thursday, we choose a concept that we feel our students need a little bit more instruction on and we work with each student individually to see where they are. This allows us to track some data to see their growth and to see where we can customize our lesson.

While we often think of interventions as something that should happen outside of the classroom, our students are involved in so many other activities that getting them to do more outside of class wasn’t an option. Creating “Throwback Thursdays” allowed us to focus on these important goals:

  • Addressing Individual Needs: Every student has unique learning styles, strengths, and weaknesses. Targeted interventions allow us to identify and address specific areas where students may struggle, providing personalized support to help them overcome challenges and build confidence in their mathematical abilities.
  • Bridging Learning Gaps: Without targeted interventions, learning gaps can easily develop, where some students fall behind while others progress. By pinpointing areas of difficulty early on and intervening promptly, we can prevent these gaps from widening, ensuring that all students build a solid foundation for future learning.
  • Promoting Equity: Targeted interventions are crucial in promoting equity in the math classroom. By recognizing and responding to the diverse needs of students, we create a more inclusive learning environment where every learner has the opportunity to succeed, regardless of background or ability.
  • Maximizing Instructional Impact: Rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach, targeted interventions allow us to allocate instructional resources more effectively. By focusing attention where it is most needed, we optimize the impact of our instruction, leading to greater student engagement, understanding, and achievement.
  • Building Deep Understanding: Understanding of mathematical concepts requires more than just exposure to content: it demands ongoing practice, reinforcement, and support. Targeted interventions provide students with the additional time and resources they need to understand challenging concepts, helping them develop a deeper understanding of mathematics and build essential skills for future academic and professional success.

Targeted interventions in our math classroom are vital for promoting student learning, bridging gaps, fostering equity, maximizing instructional impact, developing deep understanding, and building relationships. By embracing these interventions, we create a more inclusive and effective learning environment where all students have the opportunity to thrive in mathematics.

[Editors Note: Mindy Karp and Lauren Hall both presented at the 2024 CPM Teacher Conference in their session “Throwback Thursdays.”]

Picture of Mindy Karp & Lauren Hall

Mindy Karp & Lauren Hall

Mindy Karp (Poway High School, Education Specialist. Poway, CA)
Lauren Hall (Poway High School, Mathematics Teacher. Poway, CA)

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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.