Building Fundamental Mathematics for Number Sense

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Building Fundamental Mathematics for Number Sense: Enhancing Virginia K-2 Standards of Learning and Assessment is a K-2 mathematics partnership between Faculty from George Mason University (GMU) and school divisions in Northern Virginia (Alexandria, Fairfax County, Falls Church City, Manassas City and Prince William County). The mission of the COMPLETE Center is to promote excellence in mathematics teaching, learning and collaborative coaching in Northern Virginia through innovative and solution-oriented initiatives. Using a systemic and sustained approach to high quality teacher professional development through content-focused summer institute and content-focused coaching in the Fall Lesson Study for Kindergarten through second grade math teachers, special educators, and teachers of Limited English Proficient (LEP) students, we were able to engage the teachers in: a.Modeling Mathematics Ideas aligned to the 2009 Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) for mathematics content, classroom strategies, and student assessment standards; b.Developing problem based assessment and performance based tasks for younger students in mathematics; c.Developing activities to differentiate instruction with parallel tasks that enrich critical thinking aimed at increasing the academic achievement of diverse populations (special education, gifted, ELL and economically disadvantaged students); d.Developing need-based on-site and e-learning professional and curricular resources (video clips of exemplar lessons, real-life math connections and concepts modeled using virtual manipulatives) to ensure that all teachers are able to participate in high-quality professional development that result in improved teaching practice and enhanced student learning.

Description of the Project Activities

The goal of the Math Modeling Ideas in the Elementary Grades: Building Foundations for Number Sense (Grades K-2) is to impact student learning in mathematics by improving teachers' mathematics content knowledge and pedagogical strategies. The professional development will include two parts. Part I is a summer institute held in early August 2012 with a course entitled Math 600: Building Foundations for Number Sense (Grades K-2). This course covers the topics: ways of representing numbers, relationships between numbers, number systems, the meanings of operations and how they relate to one another, and computation within the number system as a foundation for algebra. Teachers will examine the developmental sequence and learning trajectory as children learn this material. There will be a focus on formative and performance based assessment and error analysis to improve student learning. By improving teachers' content-specific knowledge in mathematics, the project increases the potential for improving the math achievement of all students in the collaborating districts. Part II follow-up sessions include Collaborative Coaching and Lesson Study throughout the school year. Lesson Study will support teachers' needs in the classroom as they implement materials and strategies during the school year. Through the network, teachers will work on Lesson Study as a team with K-2 teachers, special educators, LEP teachers led by a mathematics educator and a math coach. The network will become the mechanism in place to sustain the learning and keep the focus on the content, helping teachers understand how the tasks they are using in their classrooms are intended to contribute to student understanding.


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