Why Does CPM Do What It Does?

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Karen Wootton, President

Many teachers go into the profession because they want to help. They want to make a difference in people’s lives. Teaching is a noble profession, and teachers make a difference in students’ lives.

I am a teacher at heart who is currently not in the classroom, and at this time of year, my heart sinks a little as everyone else is going back to school. I laugh at the jokes, teachers dreading that first bell when the routine begins, and I tease my teaching friends that I will still be sleeping in to 6:30 each day, the time many are rolling onto campus. But when I started teaching in 1984 I had planned to still be in the classroom in 2034. That was my dream career. I wanted to be the staple at the school, the teacher that had been there forever. I wanted my students’ children to be in my classes, enthusiastically telling me “My Mom had you for geometry!” on the first day of school.

My plans were thwarted when life happened. My slow move from one coast to the other sent my plans of being that long time teacher spinning. While I could not always find a school that used CPM, I was able to keep my fingers in CPM work. When my children were little, I wrote assessment materials. When they got a bit older, I traveled to do workshops, and then coaching. Over the years my position changed: Teacher Leader, Regional Coordinator, Director of Assessment, Director of Curriculum and Assessment, and now President.

I miss the classroom, but CPM’s vision and mission are statements I believe in and therefore are worth working for. At CPM, we believe that all students (and parents and teachers and …) can understand and enjoy learning mathematics. Everyone working at CPM and all the teachers teaching CPM’s curriculum are part of a movement, the movement for More Math for More People. We are changing people’s lives, whether it is a classroom of 32 students who just completed Newton’s Revenge, enjoying every minute while they learned powerful mathematics, or 32 teachers new to the profession participating in CPM’s Academy of Best Practices in Seattle, Washington.

Every component of CPM, from curriculum development to professional development is working towards that one goal: More Math for More People. We do this work because we know how important understanding mathematics is for people. Not only do people need number sense, they also need to be critical thinkers and problem solvers. We know we help people reach this goal, so we keep working. We believe we can change math instruction in every classroom in the United States. We will worry about classrooms around the world later.

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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.