Karen Wootton, Director of Curriculum & Assessment, firstname.lastname@example.org
Students are expected and encouraged to struggle productively in mathematics. When a student has an occasional period of unproductive struggle where things are not making sense or seem confusing, the teacher can step in, and through some well-chosen questions, set the student back on the right path. Embracing the notion that mastery takes time, effort, and support, allows the students who occasionally struggle time to develop their understanding.
When the time, questioning, or added support is not enough, then what should happen for the student? Usually, the word “intervention” is mentioned, as a way to help. But ask teachers or administrators “What is intervention?” and you will hear a variety of answers.
CPM will be piloting an intervention course during the 2018-19 school year. CPM’s intervention course will be different from what many might think an intervention course should look like. The focus of CPM’s intervention course is not pre-teaching, front loading, or drill. Nor is it a vocabulary intensive course or a place to do homework. Instead, this intervention course has a few simple goals.
First, we want the students in the course to become a community of mathematicians. It will take a special teacher who truly likes kids, and who is willing to get to know them as people, to teach this course. Having strong relationships with children has a large effect size on student learning, so this course is structured in a way that promotes relationships between students and teachers as well as students and their classmates.
Second, we want to bolster the students’ problem-solving capabilities. While some people might believe that intervention time is best spent drilling the students on the skills needed in their math course, CPM’s intervention course takes the position that the students will be better served if they can become better problem solvers. This course is filled with enjoyable problems, some of the classics and some new ones, that are just fun to solve. Students will build their problem-solving toolkit, filling it with tools that will carry over to other courses.
Third, we want students to love math. We believe that by focusing on the first two goals, we will accomplish this third one. Students will be given ample time to discuss and solve problems, experiencing the success that promotes enjoyment of mathematics and a growth mindset. The course includes brain information metacognitive pieces relevant to having a growth mindset as well as goal setting and personal reflection.
We were pleased to have so many great applicants apply to pilot the course. We did have to limit the number of pilot teachers, and look forward to their commitment to giving CPM timely feedback on all aspects of the course. With the feedback, the writing team will adjust and revise the curriculum, readying it for sale for the 2019-20 school year. This is an exciting project, and the team is eager to hear what the students and teachers accomplish. Stay tuned for updates!