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Math in the Middle What are we learning about rural mathematics education? Ruth Heaton and Jim Lewis University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

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Presentation on theme: "Math in the Middle What are we learning about rural mathematics education? Ruth Heaton and Jim Lewis University of Nebraska – Lincoln."— Presentation transcript:

1 Math in the Middle What are we learning about rural mathematics education? Ruth Heaton and Jim Lewis University of Nebraska – Lincoln

2 Invest in high-quality teachers * To improve K-12 student achievement in mathematics and to significantly reduce achievement gaps in the mathematical performance of diverse student populations. M 2 Goal

3 M 2 Partnership Vision Create and sustain a University, Educational Service Unit (ESU), Local School District partnership Educate and support teams of outstanding middle level (Grades 5 – 8) mathematics teachers who will become intellectual leaders in their schools, districts, and ESUs. Provide evidence-based contributions to research on learning, teaching, and professional development. Place a special focus on rural teachers, schools, and districts.

4 Rural needs assessment The top five priorities for the rural educators we surveyed are: (1) expanding opportunities for collaboration and resource sharing, (2) increasing student engagement with learning, (3) creating professional learning communities, (4) understanding student learning skills and abilities, and (5) deepening teacher knowledge of their content area.

5 M 2 teachers are spread across Nebraska

6 Reaching rural teachers with M 2 courses Academic Year Courses –Blackboard –Polycom –Breeze –PC NoteTaker –Increased Instructional Support –Additional offerings?

7 Reaching rural teachers with M 2 courses Bringing Professional Development Opportunities to Rural Nebraska –Courses at ESU 13 in Scottsbluff Math 800T – Summer 2005 1-Day Mathematics Workshop – February 2006 Math 802T – Summer 2006 –How do we finance similar opportunities?

8 Math in the Middle Research Agenda What are the capabilities of teachers to translate the mathematical knowledge and habits of mind acquired through the professional development opportunities of M 2 into measurable changes in teaching practice? To what extent do observable changes in mathematics teaching practice translate into measurable improvement in student performance?

9 Understanding The Rural Context 64 of 96 Math in the Middle Participants are teaching in rural areas of Nebraska 64 rural Math in the Middle Participants teach in 45 different school districts and 51 different schools in Nebraska

10 Of 64 Rural Math in the Middle Participants: 26 teach in towns of less than 1,000 32 teach in towns between 1,000-15,000 6 teach in towns of more than 15,000

11 Assessing Student Achievement the research challenge created by Nebraska’s state assessment system using local assessments, standardized tests, and our own assessment a qualitative study of the nature of middle school student responses to alternative assessment items requiring reasoning and communication

12 Talking to Teachers A study study of the professional lives of rural Math in the Middle participants, funded by Nebraska Rural Initiative, Sandy Scofield, UNL. -relationship to colleagues and the community - the advantages and tensions of teaching in a small school -extracurricular school related responsibilities -out of school responsibilities

13 Asking about Leadership and Instructional Improvement Survey, Jim Spillane, Northwestern University -sources of instructional leadership - network within M 2 and statewide -activities and opinions related to school leadership in instructional improvement, expertise in mathematics leadership and the conditions associated with each - people, resources and activities teachers seek out to gain information and advice related to teaching in general and math specifically

14 Classroom Observations What does it look like as M 2 teachers translate mathematics learning in the Institute into classroom practice? How do teachers translate the idea of mathematical habits of mind as developed in the Institute into their work with middle school students?

15 How does diversity among students impact the improvement of mathematics education? What are the capacities of M 2 teachers working with diverse populations to translate what they are learning into classroom practice? What does a M 2 teacher’s classroom practice look like when diversity is envisioned as an asset rather than as a deficiency?

16 How is school capacity built in settings where more than one M2 teacher is in a school? How do M 2 teachers interact both with each other and with other (non-M2) teachers in their school communities? What is the position of M 2 teachers in their school communities as a whole, in terms of leadership, decision making, and classroom practice?

17 18 teachers (six from each cohort) plus any M 2 colleagues in the same school 3 school clusters of M 2 teachers

18 Knowledge Generated by M 2 Teachers Using Math Vocabulary Building to Increase Problem Solving Abilities in a 5 th Grade Classroom The Effect of Student Journals and Group Work on Students’ Attitudes in Math Ability Perceptions of ‘Tracked’ vs. ‘Untracked’ Seventh Grade Math Students

19 Greater Understanding Through Improved Homework Justifications The Effects of Self-Assessment on Learning Self-Directed Learning in the Middle School Classroom

20 How to Better Prepare for Assessment and Create a More Technologically Advanced Classroom Daily Problem Solving Warm-Ups: Harboring Mathematical Thinking in the Middle School Classroom Departmentalization in the 5 th Grade Classroom: Re-thinking the Elementary School Model

21 Bad Medicine: Homework or Headache: Responsibility and Accountability for Middle Level Mathematics Students The Effects of Teaching Problem Solving Strategies to Low Achieving Students Factors that Influence Mathematics Attitudes The Effect of Staff Development on Teacher Practice Math Anxiety: What Can Teachers Do to Help Their Students Overcome the Feeling?

22 Cooperative Learning Groups in the Eighth Grade Math Classroom An In-Depth Study of Student Engagement Motivating Middle School Students

23 An Analysis of the Action Research Projects What does it mean to the teachers to translate learning in the Institute into classroom practice? What insights do these studies offer into the nature of teacher learning and change?

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