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Topics for Math PD Course

The Powerful Practice: Evidence-Informed Math Teaching course supports educators to develop an understanding of evidence-informed instructional methods to teach math to students in grades K-12, with particular attention paid to teaching students who are below grade level or struggling in math, children with disabilities and students who are English language learners. The online curriculum allows participants to work independently or with a cohort supported by regular discussions. The titles and the detailed descriptions of specific objectives of the 14 modules are below.

How the Brain Learns Math: An Overview

  • Unpack what we know about how the brain develops mathematical generalizations and how this science guided the development of the Common Core Standards for Mathematics.
  • Consider how these shifts in math instruction disrupt narratives about who can learn mathematics and opens doors to historically marginalized students like multilingual learners and students with learning and thinking differences.

Rigor: Let your standards be your guide

  • Explore how the three aspects of rigor – conceptual understanding, procedural skill & fluency, and application - allow students to make sense of and be able to use math.
  • Determine which aspect(s) of rigor are called for in grade-level standards, why, and how this should influence instructional decisions.

Procedural Fluency and Conceptual Understanding: Two sides of the same coin

  • Unpack how conceptual understanding leads to procedural skill & fluency.
  • Explore the pitfalls of starting with procedural fluency instead of conceptual understanding.

Fluency: It’s more than speed

  • Define fluency in math by exploring what it is, what it isn’t, why it matters, and how we can support students’ building fluency.
  • Experience the Contemplate Then Calculate instructional routine and reflect on how this routine can support fluency in your classroom.

Learning Goals: Focus on the math not the trick

  • Identify “tricks and tricks” in mathematics instruction and explore how replacing these with mathematical generalizations yields deeper learning.
  • Explore how students develop mathematical generalizations.

Learning Goals: What’s language got to do with it?

  • Explain how language and mathematics are interdependent.
  • Unpack how language routines serve to define how language learning supports mathematics learning.
  • Explore how Math Language Routines can support multilingual learners and students with thinking and learning differences.

Math Tasks: What’s in a task?

  • Select math tasks that align with the aspect of rigor called for by the standard.
  • Explore how “low floor/high ceiling” tasks give access to and challenge students with diverse linguistic and learning needs.

Representations: Opening the doors to mathematical ideas

  • Understand how the five types of representations help multilingual learners, students with thinking and learning differences and all students make sense of mathematical concepts.
  • Experience the Compare and Connect instructional routine and describe how this routine can support students in connecting representations.

Word Problems: The problem with key words

  • Discuss the pitfalls of teaching students to identify “key words” in word problems.
  • Explore strategies for launching a task including the Three Reads instructional routine.

Discourse: Look who’s talking now

  • Identify strategies and instructional routines, such as Stronger & Clearer Each Time, to increase student voice in the math classroom.
  • Explain the role math discourse plays in supporting multilingual students and students with thinking and learning differences.

Questioning: Assessing and Advancing Student Understanding

  • Understand the role that advancing and assessing questions play in deepening mathematical understanding.
  • Use question stems to write strategic questions.

Expectations: Power of asset- based language

  • Unpack what the research says about how our expectations influence student achievement.
  • Reflect on how to build an asset-based mathematics culture in our classrooms.

Just in Time Supports: Moving beyond remediation to accelerate learning

  • Explore the science behind how to support learners who need it the most.
  • Identify what just-in-time supports look like for grade-level content.

Putting it all together

  • Create a vision for excellent mathematics instruction in your classroom.
  • Write goals and an action plan to help you move closer to your vision.