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Q&A #3025

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Core Plus Math Program

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From: Diane Moore <diane.moore@wmich.edu>
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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