How can we use a problem-based throughline such as Exeter to transform a lifeless but mandated Algebra 1 course into a rich, differentiated experience of mathematical sense-making for a wide range of students?
This morning session will be a master class in differentiating a generic Algebra 1 course using problem-based learning, exploratory talk, PCMI-style differentiation, and deliberate practice in its appropriate place together with metacognitive self-monitoring.
Over the course of our time together, we will move back and forth between the perspective of learners and the perspective of teachers. During reflective "master class" segments, we will explore the theories, techniques, and practical aspects of rearchitecting Algebra 1. During immersive “math-doing” segments, we will do selected sequences of problem-based mathematics together in groups so we can experience different approaches to concept development, cultivating habits of mind, building norms through math content, and engaging the whole student through experiential problems. Immersive segments will be interwoven with reflective, “master class” segments in which we will analyze the theories, techniques, and ideas we're exploring.
Here is the 30,000-foot overview of the topics we'll be digging into over our three days.
DAY 1 TOPICS
I. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK:
Brief review of the How People Learn (HPL) learning cycle so that we will have a shared vocabulary for our work together. EQ: What research research informs these ideas about teaching and learning with understanding?
II. TIPS ON PRACTICAL PREPARATION FOR TEACHING EXETER:
Practical strategies and tips for organizing and managing your own teaching and learning of Exeter sequences to support your work with students. EQ: This feels overwhelming— how can I set myself up for success?
III. REIMAGINING ALGEBRA 1 AS A COURSE IN ADVANCED PROPORTIONAL REASONING:
Why and how Algebra 1 must be reimagined as a course in advanced proportional reasoning.
IV. EXETER'S BEST-KEPT SECRET—EXPERIENTIAL, NOT EXPERIMENTAL:
Through experiential "doing" segments and reflective discussions, we'll explore some of the ways in which the anchor problems and supporting problems within the Exeter sequences encourage students to get inside the problems in a state of flow rather than killing time filling in charts with mindless data-gathering. EQ: How do the Exeter problems cultivate a stance of shareable curiosity?
DAY 2 TOPICS
V. EXPLORATORY TALK AS THE GROUND:
Strategies for integrating Talking Points as a focused technique for developing collaborative speaking and listening skills.VI. RADICAL DIFFERENTIATION—THE BOWEN & DARRYL METHOD:
Structuring your room and tasks to support the needs of both katamari and speed demons. EQ: How can I create an environment that consistently values all student ideas and thinking?
DAY 3 TOPICS
VII. ANCHORING MATHEMATICS IN THE PRESENT MOMENT:
Anchoring students' mathematical thinking in the body, in the present moment, and in the value of their own existing knowledge and understanding.
VIII. A PLACE FOR PRACTICE ACTIVITIES:
How and where to integrate practice activities in ways that support student agency, dignity, and understanding.