On April 11, Herb Clemons requested information on efforts at K-12 articulation. I am forwarding a posting I drafted last October in reply to a similar request from Virginia Stimpson.
Here's basically what we did in the Bellingham school district two years ago in a K-12 effort. 1. We (Jerry Johnson, Millie Johnson, and I) conducted a presentation for all school principals in the district [on the Standards and the direction we thought valuable for the district]. 2. We then conducted an evening program for all teachers and parents in the district in which examples and illustrations of the new directions in math education were highlighted [we ran this twice, once at each of the high schools]. At these large group meetings, interested people signed up for year-long monthly seminars, each lasting two hours. 3. There was sufficient response for us to create six different seminar groups of about 25 people each. We called this year long seminar effort "Building Bridges and Creating Dialogue." Each group consisted of a mixture of teachers from K-12, parents, and administrators. We weren't sure how such a diverse mixture would work, but in the end, it turned out to be a very good feature of the programs. 4. Each month there was a different theme. For example, in the third seminar, the focus was related to "Number Concepts, Numeration, Estimation, and Computation within the context of the Standards. Students began by sharing the results of two problem assignments they had been given the previous month but which related to the current month's theme. Students were given copies of six supportive references [e.g.,an AT article from March 1990 by the Reys entitled "Estimation--Direction from the Standards."]. During the session, the group discussed seven problems [e.g., a Fermi problem about hamburgers, the game Diffy, et al]. Students were then given two assignments to complete prior to the next meeting: 1) They were to select one of the seven problems, modify it, and implement it in their classroom. They had to do a write up of what happened. 2) They were to work on a new problem from a different area--geometry--in preparation for the next class [we gave them the classic Surfer and Spotter problem]. Again, they had to write up their solution, summarize their thought processes, and so on. Then, the next month they would bring these assignments to the seminar and we would spend some time initially sharing experiences. Following that sharing, the rest of the seminar would be devoted to the new area of geometry in a way similar to what I have described above. 5. At the end of the year, we engaged in some assessment activities and discussed future directions.
In my mind, the highlight of the year was seeing how differently elementary, middle school, and highschool teachers approached the same problems. The highschool teachers were quite impressed with the creativity shown by many with significantly less math background. And people were able to discuss related issues across grade levels. I thought the experience was very positive, so I would encourage you in your K-12 effort.
Last year, the district built on that experience within its math steering committee. It also conducted inservice work targeted more to grade level groups [e.g., the K-2 teachers met all year.] A number of its intermediate and middle school teachers were simultaneously involved in one of my Eisenhower grants for developing a network across intermediate/middle school levels. This past summer, I also conducted two workshops for K-3 and 4-6 teachers entitled ">From Dialogue to Meaningful Action." And I now have a significant number of teachers involved in a new Eisenhower effort partially aimed at extending the network down to Kindergarten.
I hope this is helpful to you.
Ron Ward/Math Dept/Western Washington U/Bellingham, WA 98225 firstname.lastname@example.org