Author Archives: Chris Brownell
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Meagan and Brandon Dorman chat in the studio this week. We discuss a topic that is important in the Special Education world known as Universal Design for Learning, and how it can assist in creating an environment for all students to learn well, something that is central Meagan’s work. Also we focus on a related topic of Formative Assessment (assessing student knowledge along the path to learning not merely for grading or at the end of a unit). We discuss how shifting to these two foci supports a strong learning environment, rich with opportunity for students to learn. The use of several technology tools are brought up as Brandon’s work is completely focused upon this aspect of the learning enterprise.
This highly nuanced topic is a core idea that we study here at the AIMS Center, and Ms. Beverly Ford has been a member of the Research Associates team longer than anyone around here. She gives us clear and coherent exposition what this idea means and how understanding it can be of benefit to teachers. This research focuses upon the idea of the “Epistemic Student,” a topic we have engaged with in earlier podcasts. We discuss some of the methodology of the Center in how we sort through deep ideas in the Mathematics of Students.
To see more from Beverly and her desire to understand the Mathematics of Students, head over to her most recent blog post at http://www.aimsedu.org/2017/01/18/mathematics-of-grace-using-finger-patterns/
I am joined in the studio by four Research Associates from the AIMS Center for Math & Science Education. Elizabeth Gamino, Everett Gaston, Brook Lewis, and Aileen Rizo discuss some of the goals of this mode of teacher behavior, and provide a few strategies for its inclusion in the teacher repertoire. If you want to understand and assess the understandings that your students possess, you have to learn to notice how they communicate them.