TRC 8.0 Starting Strong

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Mark Coté, Issaquah, WA, MarkCote@cpm.org

CPM’s Teacher Research Corps is starting strong with seven new investigations this fall. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the TRC 8.0 Institute was conducted virtually during the summer. Thanks to the efforts of 23 Teacher Researchers, 5 members of the TRC Leadership Team, and the CPM Professional Learning Team, the virtual Institute resulted in the successful completion of the following key goals:

  1. Possible problems of practice brainstormed/reviewed/refined and temporary investigative cohorts formed.
  2. Temporary cohorts discussed/decided on a specific goal(s)/question(s) to investigate and wrote a first draft (not detailed) of a research proposal.
  3. Initial proposals were briefly shared with the entire cohort.
  4. TRs made a final choice about a problem of practice.   
  5. Final cohorts wrote a second, more detailed draft of the initial proposal.
  6. Teams developed brief presentations and shared them with the entire TRC team.
  7. Completed proposals were presented with feedback. 
  8. Research investigations began in August.

We are excited that CPM has yet another opportunity to tap into the “wisdom of teachers” and offer new investigative findings that will influence pedagogy as well as contribute to the ongoing development of our curriculum materials. The TRC 8.0 Teacher Researchers and investigations are as follows:


Cathy Sinnen, Michelle Lo
How can we distribute the authority to the students so that they expect (are encouraged, empowered, invited) to critique, question, and validate each others’ mathematical thinking during the whole group and/or small group discussions?


Amanda Ethridge, Jennifer Moriarty
How can we shift student mindsets around content understanding and grades through asset-based reflection, instruction, and assessment?


Adam Blomberg, Jen McCalla, Sarah Shon
How can success criteria help students 

  • self-assess and peer-assess, 
  • be strategic in choosing a mathematical tool to solve a problem and justifying why the tool worked to help solve the problem, and
  • “track” their learning and celebrate the understanding of a concept?

Alexis Reid, Jamie Kaper, Karen Kurcz, Penny Smits
How can teachers make learning targets more visible and manageable so that students have increased awareness and invested ownership in their learning and progress?


Amy Bowden, Brooke Raven, Carrie Velasco, Laura Bell, Simon Terrell
How can we encourage students to redefine who they are as a mathematician in order to increase their enjoyment while doing mathematics? How can we create a culture of collaborative learning so that students find the value of engaging in the challenges of mathematics, leading to a feeling of empowerment and ownership over the learning process?


Angie Kraft, Mollie Seigel, Pamela Propst
How do we rejuvenate our lessons by offering more student choice so that students can better relate to the mathematics content, feel a more desired sense of ownership in what and how they learn and increase enjoyment, wonderment, and engagement in the classroom?


Janine Scott, Matt Rector
How do we create instructional systems that reframe a student’s place in mathematics and highlight the MATH AWESOMENESS that is already contained within them? How do we undo the mathematical mindset/status damage?


In parallel with past practice, all research teams launched their projects as school began. Data collection, participant reflections, and team meetings are underway. Teacher Researchers will soon be reporting updates on their investigations using the TRC blogspot www.imath.us, and several teams are looking forward to presenting at CPM’s Teacher Conference in February. The TRC Leadership Team is delighted to announce that applications for TRC 9.0, which is scheduled for the summer of 2022, will be available in early spring. Read Teacher Research Corps for more information.

Huge congratulations to Teacher Researchers Cathy Sinnen, Mollie Siegel, and Penny Smits on the forthcoming publication of the manuscript entitled “Who’s Doing The Talking In Your Classroom Discussions?” in the NCTM journal Mathematics Teacher: Learning and Teaching Pre-K–12. This is a wonderful achievement highlighting several years of research into promoting more equitable whole-class discussions and a first for TRC! Thanks to Dr. Lisa Amick and Dr. Lara Jasien for all the assistance in this effort.

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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

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.