Building Power in Mathematics The Grand Ledge Journey
Thank You! This Courageous Journey into new dimensions of learning and teaching mathematics could not have taken place without the vision, leadership and support provided by: • Dr. Glenda Lappan, Michigan State University, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics • Dr. Sandra K. Wilcox, Michigan State University, Professor Emeritus • Dr. Kathy Peasley, Grand Ledge Public Schools, Assistant Superintendent of Academic Services
Thank You! Also, special recognition is well deserved by those whose support and contributions were essential to this journey’s success: • Dr. Steve Mathews, Superintendent, & the Grand Ledge Public Schools Board of Education • The Center for the Study of Mathematics Members—Dr. Betty Phillips [MSU, Professor of Mathematics Education], Elizabeth Jones [Lansing Public Schools], Jill Newton [MSU Doctoral Candidate] • The GLPS Teachers who ‘Came to the Edge, Took the Leap, and Flew’ Here’s Their Story…..
In the Beginning The Year is 2000. To Support Changes in Math Standards, Three Different Mathematics Programs are Adopted – Grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8
Executive Level Shifts Occur • Fall 2001---Superintendents change • Fall 2003---Assistant Superintendents for Instruction change • Fall 2004—Assistant Superintendents for Instruction change again. [Dr. Kathy Peasley arrives.]
In the Meantime • Teachers are working hard to learn & execute the new curriculum at their levels. • There is a growing sense of concern. • Gaps and overlaps are taking place with critical math concepts, especially at the transition grades. • There is no common vocabulary being built.
In the Meantime A Critical Issue is taking focus: Students will be at an increasing disadvantage if we keep doing what we’re doing.
Pivotal MomentsTake Shape • Teachers share their growing concerns and frustrations. • The new assistant superintendent for academic services listens intently & uses her knowledge, skills & network to find a support system to help them.
Pivotal MomentsTake Shape • Michigan State University invites Grand Ledge teachers to join 2 other school districts in the Mid West in a school-university partnership with the Center for the Study of Mathematics Curriculum [CSMC]. • The 3 year project is funded by a grant through the National Science Foundation.
Pivotal MomentsTake Shape • In January 2005, those who teach math in elementary & middle school are invited to an afterschool meeting to hear about the project. • Drs. Glenda Lappan and Sandra Wilcox from MSU describe the project, its possibilities to be of help to them and extend the invitation.
Pivotal MomentsTake Shape • Afterward, those who attended are invited to think about it and talk to one another. They probably ask each other questions like: Can this program help? Can we trust them? Can we trust each other? Is it worth it? Can we really do it?
Pivotal MomentsTake Shape “ A journey itself…is made because of a sense of adventure, a desire for discovery, a push to something new…. We do not want to make a mistake, and yet if the journey is to have any real worth, it must be founded on dreams and risks and adventure.” W. Pat Dolan
Pivotal MomentsTake Shape • In the Winter of 2005, 17 teachers volunteer to sign on for the journey…and the commitment, sacrifice and risk that it will take. • More joined in time…classroom teachers, resource teachers, and high school teachers in grades K-9.
Pivotal MomentsTake Shape • The District commitment to the project meant teachers, university faculty and doctoral students would all work together over the next 3 years.
Pivotal MomentsTake Shape • Together, as partners, they learn how investigating the curriculum can affect • teacher learning • school-based curriculum leadership • student learning power in mathematics.
Creating a Cultural Shift Understanding the Core Principles of a Change Process: • There is a single system in place and all of its parts are interconnected. • The system will resist change in fundamental and powerful ways.
Creating a Cultural Shift • Each system is unique. Pay attention to its characteristics, its particular history, its evolving relationships. • We must change some parts profoundly to offer quality through empowered teachers and learners.
Creating a Cultural Shift All else in the structure must be rearranged to support this. W. Patrick Dolan Restructuring Our Schools
Influencing Change As leaders, do we really believe it is possible for people to change their behavior? The authors of the book, The Influencers, The Power to Change Anything do! Their book is based on extensive research about real people who have been powerful influencers in the lives of others. So, what did they find?
Influencing Change The Big Idea A few behaviors can drive a lot of change. Enormous influence comes from focusing on just a few vital behaviors. Discover high-yield behaviors.
Influencing Change It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and THEN do your best. --W. Edwards Deming
Influencing Change Search for Vital Behaviors— You already know what you want to achieve; now you want to learn what to do.
Influencing Change Search for Vital Behaviors— People will attempt to change if they believe it will be worth it, and they can do what’s being required.
Influencing Change All forces that impact people’s behavior work on 2 mental maps: Can I do what’s required? [Am I able?] Is it worth it? [Am I motivated?]
Influencing Change Master Six Sources of Influence
Influencing Change Personal Motivation Overcoming reluctance & resistance to change by connecting to key values
Influencing Change Personal Ability New behavior depends on new skills, so over invest to master those skills.
Influencing Change Social Motivation Recruit colleagues, partner with opinion leaders, and become one yourself.
Influencing Change Social Ability Amplify influence through rigorous, time sensitive, meaningful teamwork.
Influencing Change Structural Motivation Celebrate early successes. Kindly confront deviations from the shared commitments.
Influencing Change Structural Ability Harness every aspect of the system to support the new behavior. Keep focused on what’s working & readjust. Keep trying new strategies.
Influencing Change Master Six Sources of Influence— Personal, Social & Structural Motivation [Is it worth it?] Personal, Social, & Structural Ability [Can we do it?]
The Journey Unfolds Center for the Study of Mathematics Curriculum---CSMC Michigan State University & Grand Ledge Public Schools Western Michigan University & Kalamazoo Schools University of Missouri & Columbia Schools
The Journey Unfolds The Focus of the MSU Partnership • Learn more about how curriculum material investigation can be a vehicle for teacher learning
The Journey Unfolds The Focus of the MSU Partnership • Study a model for enabling teacher learning through curriculum material investigation • Engage in powerful, reflective dialog through half & full day sessions together
The Journey Unfolds The Process of the MSU Partnership • Setting the curriculum context • Choosing the content domain for investigation • Deepening their understanding
The Journey Unfolds The Process of the MSU Partnership • Experimenting with tools to document teacher learning • Tackling teaching issues
The Journey Unfolds The Curriculum Context --The Domain of Fractions • Identified by teachers as challenging to teach & learn • Analyzed in its treatment across the three curriculum programs
The Journey Unfolds Tools to Trace the Learning --Concept Maps • Initial Maps by individual teachers that show their own big ideas about the domain of fractions • Small Group Maps that reflect consensus about big ideas and connections among them • Final Maps that show how teachers conceived big ideas in the domain at the conclusion of the work
The Journey Unfolds Deepening Our Understanding of Fractions --Rich Tasks to Spur Thinking What are the core elements of performance? What might students do with the task?
The Journey Unfolds Deepening Our Understanding of Fractions --Rich Tasks to Spur Thinking Examining anonymous student work to see: • What do students understand? • Where are they struggling? • What is the evidence? • What reasoning might lead a student to respond incorrectly?
The Journey Unfolds Deepening Our Understanding of Fractions --Rich Tasks to Spur Thinking Tackling the Assignment: Try the task with own students, bring back samples of work that are interesting & will engage colleagues in discussion about students’ thinking & reasoning
The Journey Unfolds Deepening Our Understanding of Fractions --Rich Tasks to Spur Thinking Engaging in problem solving around carefully chosen fractional tasks: • The meaning of fractions • Big ideas—partitioning, benchmarks, operations • Models & representations
The Journey Unfolds Deepening Our Understanding of Fractions --Analyzing Textbooks The Results: • Gaps in content at the transition grades • Redundancies at upper elementary & middle grades • Models & representations not always appropriate • Specific lessons inordinately complex
The Journey Unfolds Deepening Our Understanding of Fractions --Analyzing Textbooks Next Steps: • Continuing to identify core work on fractions at each grade level to reach clarity & consistency
The Journey Unfolds Deepening Our Understanding of Fractions --Reflective Writing What new insights do you have as a result of our work today?
The Journey Unfolds Deepening Our Understanding of Fractions --Reflective Writing Our Discoveries: Wow! There are so many ways fractions are used it is no wonder kids are confused! I think our work on this topic will be time well spent. How can we teach kids in a way that will help them develop their understanding of concepts? How can teachers gain confidence in using sound instructional methods?
The Journey Unfolds Deepening Our Understanding of Fractions --Reflective Writing Our Discoveries: It’s always great to listen to and see the different ways people approach solving a problem!...So why do some of our kids struggle so much still in 8th grade and beyond?
The Journey Unfolds Deepening Our Understanding of Fractions --Reflective Writing Our Discoveries: Major concepts that are stressed in 7th/8th grade are already a major part of 5th grade curriculum—so makes me think we need to rethink—what is taught at each grade level.
The Journey Unfolds Tackling Teaching Issues --Reflective Writing What have you learned from the Final Concept Maps? How has this project reshaped things that you do in your classroom?