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Summer Workshop for Middle School Math Standards (MS)2 Project

submitter: Middle School Math Standards Project: (MS)2
published: 09/21/2001
posted to site: 09/21/2001

LSC summer workshop survey
Middle School Math Standards - (MS)2

Frances Stern, Academic Director
New Visions for Public Schools

(MS)2 Year III began this August with Summer Institute III, a 5-day workshop that met from 8:30 - 4:00 with a lunch break. Nineteen Teacher Leaders participated.

This summer's workshop had several new features, based on our observations of the previous year. Among the most significant changes were:

  1. Conducting the 5-day workshop from Wednesday to Tuesday, giving us the additional rest and thinking time of a weekend break after day 3..
  2. Providing two levels of math content course to accommodate the very different needs of our Teacher Leaders, some of whom do not have math certification and are trying to learn middle school math, others of whom have thorough knowledge of the material
  3. Holding two concurrent sessions for new and experienced Teacher Leaders so that the former group could learn the basics of what is expected of them, what is meant by a "study group" while the experienced TL's could work on improving their leadership skills. There was one joint session for them to talk with each other.
  4. Having separate classes for Math In Context and Connected Math users was not new, but creating a mini-course with clearly outlined agenda and a fixed time for them to meet was a change from the previous year when the math content work frequently overran the time intended for those curricula.

The Teacher Leaders expressed appreciation for each of the sessions. Some quotes from the reflections, each from a different participant:

"I liked the format of breaking the large group into smaller groups in two rooms. It made for more immediacy and less restlessness. Also, the various parts were themselves valid, interesting and well-taught."

"...I learned how asking the right questions to a group can help them discover new ways of approaching a problem without simply telling them what to do. [sic]"

"[The] presentation on Levels of Language Acquisition in the Mathematics Classroom was a real eye opener."

"...I'm becoming more comfortable with the TI-83+. What I learn [in the math content class] is reinforced [in the CMP curriculum course]." "I have an issue with probability. I have trouble when I have to find the probability of two objects or twice on an object. Such as dice or spinners. [sic]"

"The use of the graphing calculator was exciting..."

""I learned how to do a tree diagram with two dice. [sic]"

"...magnificent. so far this program is even better than last year's - something I thought was impossible...the teachers were so excellent and patient."

"I found the assessment exercise and subsequent discussion to be very instructive and thought provoking."

The answers to the other survey questions are included in the agenda and brief outline of the workshop, below:

(MS)2 Summer Institute III
Wednesday, August 15 - Tuesday, August 21
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM

  1. Mathematics
    Probability & Statistics A1 (5 sessions, 2 1/4 hours each)
    Teaching with Technology A2 (5 sessions, 2 1/4 hours each)
    Using a graphing calculator to teach middle school math
    • for those who know basic prob. & stat & can focus on learning to use the calculator, how to use it as a basis for inquiry learning
    • admission by permission of academic director
    Math courses described in greater detail below

  2. Pedagogy & Standards
    Using the standards-based curriculum (MIC-B1/CMP-B2): (7 sessions, 1 hour each)
    Planning the year in the context of 3 years use of the program (grades 6, 7, 8)
    • What sections can be omitted with the least problems in the following years?
    • Which sections can I use as extra for those ready for more challenge?
    • How do I fit in basic skills practice?
    Pedagogy course described in greater detail below

  3. Leadership
    What is a Teacher-Leader? C1 (2 sessions)
    for new T-Ls
    • Focusing on teaching
    • Facing teacher resistance
    Increasing leadership skills C2 (2 sessions)
    for experienced T-Ls
    • Making good use of the consultants - create guidelines
    • Focusing on teaching of specific material
    • Gaining support of administrators
    • Facing resistance
    Joint session & closing (1, 1-hour session)
    • Planning the 2001 - 2002 year

  4. Assessment (3 sessions, 1 hour each)

    Posing Questions to cause thinking at all levels / What we learn from looking at student work / Creating Test Questions for both Concept and Skill assessment

  5. Equity (2 sessions, 1 hour each)

    Levels of Language Acquisition in the Mathematics Classroom
    Communicating with Parents

  1. Mathematics - minicourse - 50% of course grade

    Probability & statistics B1 (5 sessions, 21/4 hours each)

    1. Choosing a Number to Represent a Set of Numbers: Mean, Median and Mode
    2. Bar Graphs, Histograms, Pie Charts and Line Graphs
    3. Probability - Mathematical Definition and Calculation
    4. Sampling - Data collection and analysis applied to science, geometry, or social studies
    5. Experimental vs Theoretical Probability

    Teaching with Technology B2 (5 sessions, 21/4 hours each)
    The same topics were approached from the point of view of how to teach them using a graphing calculator. This technology was new to all the Teacher Leaders participating, so the focus was to achieve competence with the tool.

  2. Pedagogy & Standards - minicourse - 30% of course grade

    Using the standards-based curriculum (MIC-A1/CMP-A2): (7 sessions, 1 hour each)
    Planning the year in the context of 3 years use of the program (grades 6, 7, 8)

    Look at one or two strands (number sense & operations, probability & statistics, geometry & measurement, algebra) through all 3 grades. Discuss what is essential, what sections can be omitted with the least problems in the following years, which sections can be used as extra for those ready for more challenge. Create guidelines for how much time to spend on each topic that are in line with the district pacing guides (where present). Include handouts or build them with the T-L's so that each leaves with a set of guidelines.

    • How to include basic skills practice. Sources, time planning and organization.
    • Assessment. (Continuous, throughout teaching and ones provided with curriculum) If possible, include samples of student work.
    • Homework. (T-L's learning how to make maximal use of their assignments to their students)
    • Equity as teaching all students, rather than as expecting all students to be the same.