TRC 2.0 – Teachers Leading the Way, Again

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Mark Coté, Project Manager

For the second time in less than a year, CPM’s idea engine roared to life as the Teaching Redesign Corps version 2.0 crossed the starting line in Sacramento during the final week of June. At this dynamic gathering, 14 new teacher investigators joined as many veterans and the TRC Leadership Team to collaboratively launch eight new research proposals.

The new proposals were generated using ingenuity, creativity, reflection on current research findings, and hours of intense discourse supported by numerous proven study team strategies. Yes, the STTS work as well during TRC idea incubation as they do during a Core Connections course! All proposals fell within the broad categories of mindset, study team effectiveness, and consolidation.

When asked about the proposal generated by her team, Raven Mabe-Wortman said, “I am very excited to be part of the mindset-mistakes group because I have always served a population of students who were very terrified to take any kind of risk in the classroom. They always end up being very teacher-reliant despite my best efforts. I am hoping that this action plan created through my collaboration with my colleagues will move the students toward a growth mindset. I want them to see that it is okay to make mistakes and it is all part of the process of learning. This is going to be a really amazing journey I think, and I am excited that we were able to collaborate and come up with a plan.”

Planning for the TRC 2.0 meeting involved incorporating improvements based on several key lessons learned from the previous year. Thanks to some timely input from the 1.0 veterans and the TRC Leadership Team, adjustments for 2.0 included more time dedicated to the proposal writing/editing process, an enhanced communication plan that targeted more frequent Skype discussions during the school year, increased access to the university researchers who serve as mentors to the group and a more explicit understanding that the goals and methods will evolve through the year. Reflecting on the process changes enacted for 2.0, TRC veteran Cisco Cox commented, “Thanks for the extra day this year. It was nice and it was needed. We were definitely not in a place yesterday to be ready to leave the face-to-face meeting, go back to our classrooms and be clear about what we are going to do for our research project. Today, I feel more clear about those things (although I know that will end the first day in class!)”

All participants gained valuable insights and fielded tough, focusing questions from veteran researchers Judy Kysh, Tom Sallee, Mickey Davis, and Aaron Brakoniecki. The savvy research leadership team circulated among the groups over two days offering constructive criticism and pushing the TRC members to clarify definitions, set investigative goals, and refine action plans. Sage advice included the idea that these initial proposals would continue to develop even after the classroom investigations are set into motion this fall. Erin Hommowun found a silver lining in the struggle, “I am very appreciative of the experts we have had the opportunity to work with over the last three days. Each one offered us great questions and insight as to what we are exploring. There were certainly moments where if felt like a ‘grenade’ had hit our project, but those can be very necessary. We had moments of intense frustration in our team with both our ideas and each other, but I believe this is also a very necessary part of the process. If we experienced sunshine and dandelions the entire time I would be worried about the quality of our work.”

Fully expecting history to repeat itself, results from the TRC 2.0 investigations will add to CPM’s growing body of knowledge about best instructional practices. As with 1.0, look for contributions from this current group of teacher researchers at the CPM National Conference in February of 2016, in future CPM Newsletter articles and at the Summer Leadership Institute next June. In summary, 1.0 veteran John Hayes added, “Overall I love the TRC discussion. It is far richer than any educational discussions I have ever had. The TRC concept is pretty near perfect due to the fact that we embrace the messiness of discussing big educational issues. This is something that needs to continue if CPM wants to carry on its tradition of teacher-led curriculum design. CPM does a fantastic job of bringing together a group of teachers who aren’t afraid to push the envelope when it comes to educational conversations. Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this incredible group.”

Thank you John. We could not agree more.

TRC 2.0 Projects and Teacher Researchers
A. Mindset, Mistakes, and Classroom Culture. Alycia Clarkson, Michael Huler, Tanya Lantrip, Penny Smits.
B. Fostering a Culture of Investigation. Pam Lindemer, Raven Mabe-Wortman, Jen McCalla, Christy McConnell.
C1. Planning for Closure. Kerry Cardoza, Karen Hatch, Heather Kosmowski
C2. Implementing Effective, Timely and Engaging Closure. Lorna Vazquez.
D. Increasing Productive Authentic Mathematical Discourse in Study Teams. Erin Hommowun, Ardella Koester, Dechelle Rasheed, Jeanne Villeneuve.
E. Growth Mindset and Mastery Over Time. Mark Atkinson, Cisco Cox, John Hayes, Natalie Ijames, Anthony Johnson, Alan Little, Lyn Osburne, Erica Warren.
F. Alternative Summative Assessment. Aurora Alamillo, Sarah Morrison.
G. Mindset and Coaching in the CPM Classroom. Mark Ray
H. The Effect of Access to Desmos on CPM Instruction. Meghan Sanders

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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.