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Seventh-grade students standing at Vertical Non-Permanent Surfaces (VNPSs), working collaboratively on percent error tasks, exhibiting puzzlement yet persevering, is what was taking place in my classroom on an early spring day. As a teacher field testing Inspiring Connections Course 2, class periods like this are now more typical, which, I have to admit, has made the time and effort worth it for me and my students.

When I first learned that CPM was in the writing process for a new curriculum, my curiosity was piqued. After being accepted as a field tester, and going through the summer 2022 professional learning opportunity offered by CPM, I felt excited, prepared, and inspired for the upcoming school year.

As my students and I have experienced Inspiring Connections Course 2 together throughout this year, there are a few things that stand out to me: intentionality, engagement, and rigor.

Intentionality: Each lesson is slated to take one day and includes an intentional Launch, Lesson, and Closure. When planning and working the lessons ahead of time, the Authors’ Vision (AV) describes potential teacher moves and what to be on the lookout for. Not only does the curriculum provide me with a vision of what the lesson is going to look like prior to facilitating with students, but it intentionally and regularly incorporates social-emotional learning and inclusive strategies, and language routines. The closure activities connect to the learning targets and lesson experiences, providing students with a structure to consolidate thinking independently and collaboratively.

Engagement: Students engage in their learning through a variety of venues (VNPSs, Mathematician’s Notebooks, Desmos, etc). In previous years, I always worked with teams and students to “make their thinking visible.” This year, I have the capacity to visibly see the thinking of all teams while they are at their VNPSs. Together, we are then able to critique and reason through what teams are thinking in a purposeful and sequential way. Students are challenged on a consistent basis and pushed to apply and connect their thinking from previous learning to new tasks.

Rigor: Inspiring Connections has increased the rigor and the expectation of what students should know and be able to do (compared to my experience with Core Connections). With the increase in rigor comes an increase in teacher support in monitoring and providing feedback to students, in the form of connecting Reflection & Practice questions to specific lessons, and providing ample opportunities for students to self-reflect as learners. The result is that students’ learning is progressing towards proficiency with the learning targets.

When preparing to teach each lesson, I always:

complete the problems ahead of time (both from the lesson and the Reflection & Practice)—this is probably the single most important strategy I have experienced to support a successful lesson;

check the Reflection & Practice question that is connected to that day’s learning target (which is communicated in the Mathematician’s Notebook that each student has), as it helps me to increase my understanding of the lesson goal and/or focus on a certain aspect while teaching the lesson;

get excited when I see a “Data Chat” launch, because I feel like the addition of more data analysis has a positive impact on students, supporting them in noticing and wondering about what is being communicated and what may not be communicated within a representation; and,

remind myself that there are going to be challenges that my students and I experience, as we all try something new with the end goal of improving ourselves as people, mathematicians, and learners.

To say that my students and I have benefited from this experience of field testing Inspiring Connections Course 2 is a gross understatement. I have seen my students grow in their understanding of society, mathematics, and one another. Together, we have been inspired to continue our journey, and invite others to inspire connections too!

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Sara McKittrick

Omro, WI, smcki@omro.k12.wi.us

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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

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.