Author Archives: Chris Brownell

Episode 28 | Pedagogical Content Knowledge: Its Role in Teaching

Joining Chris in the studio this week is Paul Reimer, a Sr. Researcher at the AIMS Center working with our Early Mathematics studies. Paul is also a student in the Michigan State University Doctoral Program, studying the effects of teacher beliefs on student learning. We discuss his studies and how they connect with our work here at the AIMS Center.

Episode 27 | Professional Noticing Part 3: Deciding

In the studio with David Pearce and Wilma Hashimoto two of the AIMS Center’s Research Associates, and we discuss the third aspect of Professional Noticing: Deciding. We discuss how this aspect takes place in the midst of classroom activity, and how it is dependent upon the two prior aspects of: Attend and Interpret. We end up discussing how this supports the goal of creating a student centered classroom, one in which the learner’s thinking and conceptualization is valued as the starting place for academic learning.

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Episode 26 | Reaching a Million Students with Uplifting Mathematics

Dr. James Tanton returns to the ZPC to discuss the Global Mathematics Project and its goal of reaching 1 million students with some joyous, uplifting, and powerful mathematics. A few years ago, six colleagues at the Mathematical Association of America and a few other organizations came together with an idea…”What if the world could an “hour of code” like experience with mathematics?” We chat about the hopes, the goals, and the network that is building around this movement. During the week of October 10, 2017 the hope is to have these million students, their teachers, parents and friends working through some very fun, puzzling mathematics, centered on a place value representation Dr. Tanton has developed called “Exploding Dots.” For an audacious introduction to these both you can follow the links below.

For more information on the Global Mathematics Project, and how you can get involved, pleas […]

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AIMS Outreach Role to Increase

Since its inception the outreach side of the AIMS Center has focused upon two major initiatives: The AIMS Colloquium Series and The ZPC Podcast. These have been quite successful with both garnering appropriate attendance and listenership. However, we here seldom like to rest on our laurels. We are planning some significant pushes into both regional… Continue Reading

Episode 25 | Vertical Threads in California Core Standards in Mathematics

Carl Veater joins us in the studio this week. He has spent a large amount of time examining the “Progressions” documents that were the genesis of the standards that have become the California Core State Standards in Mathematics. These document outline how several content themes are coherently linked through the grade levels and were in fact constructed in this manner for the first time in the Standards era of education. Carl describes how teachers can make use of these threads to make curricular decisions, and most importantly how to decide which topics are not specifically warranted for their grade or course level. A very engaging topic for teachers concerned with how to decide what to keep and what to let go of in order to address at appropriate depth the core topics in their curriculum.

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Episode 24 | Robots, Legos, & Learning: Oh Yes!

Joining me in the studio is AIMS Center Research Associate, Aileen Rizo. she is a mentor/coach to student teams in both robotics, and Lego engineering competitions. She describes the learning, and persistence that are embedded in these activities. These are profound and powerful events, that feel like play to the children who take part in them. However there are deep concepts in mathematics, and science that are made real for these students.

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Episode 23 | Professional Noticing Part 2 Interpretation: Darrell Blanks & Elin VanVleet

Two of the AIMS Center’s Research Associates, both with years of teaching and professional development experience, come into the studio to talk about the import phase of Professional Noticing: Interpretation. We discuss some practices and implications for teachers to employ and be aware of. The role of Noticing in Formative Assessment, its use in Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s), and some challenges to accuracy are examined.

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Episode 22 | Teacher Disposition Towards Students who May Need Special Instruction

With the Director Special Education Studies at Fresno Pacific University, Megan Chaney, joining us in the studio we discuss some of the issues of “co-Teaching” students with and without special needs in the same classroom. Some good advice on this task is provided from a voice of experience. Focus upon each other’s strengths and shore up each other’s weaknesses in a setting where ego gets set aside. Letting the content instructor be the expert in the content and the Education Specialist be the expert in the process. We examine the role of teachers disposition in providing a successful learning environment for all students.  Ms. Chaney is a doctoral student at this time focusing on the disposition veteran teachers have working in the Special Needs situation. She reminds us to focus upon the child, the child’s knowledge, and as much as possible to know the child’s needs.

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Episode 21 | Additive to Multiplicative Thinking with Brook Lewis

Brook Lewis talks about the research she has been studying regarding how students progress from additive thinking to multiplicative thinking. Children start early to count, but we can help them to “segment” their counts into various speech patterns. She references a face to face meeting with Dr. Les Steffe the major researcher we look closely at here at AIMS. She introduces to us the concept of a “composite unit” and how to help children to recognize that it is possible to make use of that form of counting. We discuss a multi-dimensional representation of the interconnections she is seeing between composite units and other areas in our research here.

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The Shift, Continued

In my last post, I mentioned that I had been seeing a pattern in the presentations at conferences this past fall. Many of the keynote and special guest speakers had incorporated a frame of reference that seemed to me to be a focus on student thinking. “Why is this an important shift?” you might ask.… Continue Reading