I have been blessed with the opportunity to function as the math coach at my school for this upcoming school year. Since I was informed I would be in this new position, my mind has been racing with possibilities, both positive and negative. In a women’s conference I recently attended, the pastor spoke about how often times we feel inadequate for an opportunity to which God has called us but in actuality, it’s a matter of being unprepared, not inadequate. Therefore, in order for me to embrace the journey I’m currently walking for God, I have been taking time to prepare and here’s what I’m thinking.
As we speak I have been granted this position for 1 year. One year to make the most impactful, sustainable affect on my middle school. When I think of something we need established and maintained throughout years to come is balanced math instruction. From conversations with middle school parents and teachers there seems to heavy emphasis on procedural fluency. All skills are covered and practiced which may show proficiency on multiple choice tests. Unfortunately, the skills don’t often transfer to other concepts or more complex mathematics and can lead to misconceptions. In middle school, building conceptual understanding seems to be too “elementary” or basic. This causes students’ gaps to widen and already shaky foundations to weaken. And too often application is seen as the ability to correctly answer word problems.
I’ve decided to make balance numeracy, a balance of procedural fluency, conceptual understanding and application my year long goal. To help us attain the goal, I’m developing differentiated professional development.
Course 1: Creating and Implementing a Student Centered Environment Duration 3-4 weeks, beginning August 12th During this course teachers will experience an interactive professional learning session followed by a preconference where each individual teacher and I will discuss modeling the components of PL within their classroom. The course will also include coach modeling or team teaching, coach observation and debriefing.
Course 2: Implementing FALs. Duration 4-6 weeks, beginning August 19th This course includes PL and will take teachers through the coaching cycle. The goal is to educate teachers of the rationale of Formative Assessment Lessons and effective use (implementation, use of data) of them.
Course 3: Putting the SMPs in the Forefront of Instruction. Duration 4-6 weeks, beginning August 20th Standards for Mathematical Practice should spearhead how you implement your instruction and the resources selected. This course will familiarize teachers of the 8 standards and allow exploration of what they look like in action and how to ensure they are present within every lesson. Just as the others, this course will begin with PL followed by the components of the coaching cycle.
My original plan included more courses but with the suggestion of my principal I have narrowed my focus more. Based on teacher feedback, I’ll will be able to adjust my plan to meet their needs as we all work towards a common goal. In addition to this, I’m making a strong push to have the Numeracy Project implemented for RTI and further math support for our students.
This post was inspired by Sarah Marshall, Mike Wiernicki, and Robert Kaplinsky, thanks for letting me pick your brains!