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Q&A #3025

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Core Plus Math Program

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From: Diane Moore

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2005030311:57:02
Subject: Core-Plus works for All students including college bound

My experience teaching Core-Plus mathematics is quite different from those posted here. Our school was a field-test site for CMPM; consequently, we have been involved since the second year of the original curriculum project. As with many schools who are trying to change the way in which mathematics is learned and taught, we struggled with how best to implement such a mathematically complex and intricate curriculum - afterall, our former experiences with what textbook authors asked students to do was mostly symbolic in nature and we as math teachers, former math students, were good at symbolic manipulation. Now we had new challenges - it would take much work for us to change our teaching practices, the way we planned for instruction, how we would assess what our students "know" about mathematics, and use what we found out about their knowledge to inform us about us about our teaching practices. We would need to know how to best facilitate small group and large group discussions and listen carefully for mathematical understandings and misunderstandings that our students might have. We had to learn how to pose questions to students that might help them clarify their thinking and help us challenge them to think even harder about the mathematical ideas. I had the priviledge of teaching AP Calculus to many of the students who had completed most of the four year CPMP curriculum in three years. I was amazed at their conceptual understandings of the underpinnings of calculus and at their procedural proficiency. I had students who went on to many different colleges and universities. Their correspondence with me provided reassurance that they were indeed well prepared and were continuing to work hard at college level mathematics with the habits of mind we had established as an expectation for students in our high school mathematics classrooms. Over time we saw more students taking four years of mathematics, more young women in mathematics classrooms, and more students taking AP calculus and/or AP statisitics. With full disclosure in mind, I think it is important to tell you that I have since retired from 30.5 years in the classroom and have returned to school. My research position is working with CPMP - that may say different things to different people but what it really means is that an experience with teaching with a curriculum like CPMP can excite and motivate teachers as well as students!

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