Valuable Feedback Through a Support Visit

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Cynthia Gonzalez, Imperial Beach, CA,

Using a new program is always scary, especially if you have been teaching for a while and are pretty much set in your ways of what and how to teach. CPM for me was an exciting new program that I felt was going to help my students get excited about math and, more importantly, really understand math. But as a teacher, getting started was a little scary. The management of the program was new for me and for my students. Having students work in productive teams has been a challenge.

One thing that has made a difference was the visit from my Teacher Leader. At first, when I knew that I needed to sign up for an implementation support visit, my anxiety level went up. I started thinking, “Oh no!! I’m going to be judged,” but in actuality it was the opposite. My Teacher Leader was able to observe what the students were doing and what I was doing. The way she did her observation did not make me nervous at all. The whole time she observed she gave me the feeling of support and confidence. After her observation we went over the lesson and she listed all the good things that were done during the lesson. She then went into the support part and gave me ideas and tips on how to make the lessons run smoother. One of the things that I appreciated the most about her feedback was something I had not noticed or even thought I was doing: I was being a crutch to some of my teams. I was helping them too much by lingering near their tables and waiting for them to start working. My Teacher Leader said that I need to get the teams started right away and do a quick walk around the classroom to make sure all teams have gotten started. She also mentioned that if the teams have not started right away, I should remind them to start as I walk by. Then I can simply say that I will be back in a bit. This has really made a difference in my class. I make sure that I quickly circulate around the whole class at the beginning of every lesson, and I keep circulating throughout the lesson. I am sure I see all the teams more than once each lesson. It has helped in keeping my students on task and focused on the work, knowing that I will be coming around sooner than they think.

The support and feedback from my Teacher Leader has been vital to making my math time more efficient and effective. If you have not had an observation, I highly recommend it. It is something that can make a difference in your teaching.

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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.