The benefits of being an AIMS Facilitator are many, but when I started I did not know that I would get to know so many amazing educators from around the United States. Paul Agranoff is another one of our AIMS Professional Learning Facilitators and he hails from Minnesota. His teaching career has been spent in the middle school math classroom. Over the years, Paul has facilitated many high quality AIMS workshops and he is currently part of the Florida and the Islands Comprehensive Center (FLICC)/AIMS math project team. Paul facilitates the middle school workshops for the project and this year the 6th – 8th grade group is focusing on Proportional Reasoning.
Each participant in the project utilizes an online interface as an extension of the Professional Learning Community that starts in the face-to-face workshops. The first introductory prompt in the online PLC is, “What brought you to FLICC/AIMS Project, and what you hope to learn and accomplish?” Here are the responses from some of Paul’s participants:
- “I understand math concepts easily, but my students often need extra support. I am hoping that AIMS will help me to teach math concepts to students who don’t easily understand math.”
- “I need help slowing down my teaching and adding hands-on activities.”
- “I attended the AIMS series of workshops last year and am so excited to have the opportunity to return this year. I feel that AIMS activities provide students the opportunity to explore and deepen their knowledge instead of applying rules and procedures, as well as increase my own content knowledge.”
- “I actually began my career focused on teaching writing and language arts. Although I was “ok” in math, it used to be harder for me to understand. I was (and still am) a “process” learner. Over time, I realized the struggles students had in learning math, because they were my own at that age. So, I set out bound and determined to successfully teach math for understanding. Over time, I became better at teaching math, and I am constantly trying to learn new ways to teach math in such a way that students who struggle with math will learn the content. This is what I hope to get from this AIMS opportunity.”
Paul will continue to share AIMS tasks that use hands-on, content rich, conceptually-based math lessons as the FLICC/AIMS project continues. His participants will spend time extending the adult learning of mathematical concepts and cooperatively practicing these concepts. In his sessions, teachers will have the opportunity to discuss the language of math, discuss how students think and write about math, and to discuss how using hands-on math strategies enable them to differentiate the teaching of students at various levels. He will give teachers time to reflect and to think about how they might initiate change by using those tasks in their own classroom. AIMS lessons are designed to be engaging and to provide the rigor educators are expected to incorporate as they teach. Paul will continue to model how these activities allow a teacher to explore the cognitive complexity of mathematics deeply with more depth and less breadth.