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Name: Magnus Hemans

Course: ELP 651 B

Professor: Dr. Pat Ashley

Focus question: If I were the principal at Warren County Middle School, what would I

have to do to ensure that every student at the sixth grade level is proficient or competent

in addition, subtraction multiplication and division of fractions? What are some specific

things that might be done to develop teacher capacity and improve student achievement?

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a set of academic requirements in

mathematics. They include both content standards and mathematical practices outlining

what each student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade level. Having

observed the Fifth Grade Math EOG data, unfortunately, a large number of our students

are currently struggling in various aspects of the Common Core in Mathematics at the

six-grade level at Warren County Middle School. Some of the most noticeable areas

include: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of fractions.

Having observed our sixth grade math classes and after speaking to our teachers,

there are several factors that have been revealed that are affecting teaching and learning.

Among these are: learning is not focused on developing understanding of concepts

through outlining clearly defined goals to target learning and therefore focus on problem

solving skills; students do not have a range of strategies and approaches from which to

choose in problem solving in order to promote reasoning and higher order thinking skills.

Additionally, sufficient opportunities are not given for students to use and connect

mathematical representations and as a result, solve contextual problems. Furthermore,

students are not pushed to think critically and so they are unable to participate in
insightful conversations about mathematical problems, because they are not taught

strategies to make sense of mathematical tasks. In addition to that, students are not

engendered to procedural fluency from conceptual understanding resulting in them being

unable to justify solutions, and make connections. Another major challenge is that

teachers have not put into practice the use of generating and using evidence of students

thought process.

A comprehensive plan will be developed where teachers will be involved in

professional developments and PLCs throughout the 2017-2018 school year. We will

have professional development once a month and PLCs every Wednesday starting in

August 2017 during your planning time. The principal, assistant principal, and DPI math

coaches will conduct professional development for our sixth grade math teachers. Should

we have new members on staff during the school year, the assistant principal and myself

will provide professional development for them in order to bring them abreast of what we

are doing, our goals, and expectations.

Fractional concepts will be discussed in the professional developments and then

will be reinforced in PLCs weekly. Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of

fraction objectives/standards will be discussed thoroughly in the PDs. Discussions will be

had as it relates to learning targets and criteria for success in every lesson. We will

discuss how to use mathematical goals to guide lesson planning, and how to make in the

moment decisions during instruction. Strategies will be shared with teachers to ensure

that they understand how their work contribute to students learning. The teachers will

work with the presenters to analyze the standards, discuss strategies to help students

grasp concepts, and demonstrate how to use manipulative to help push understanding.
Strategies will also be discussed and shared with teachers as to how to implement

fractional tasks that promote reasoning and problem solving. It will be emphasized to

teachers that effective teaching of fractional concepts, engage students to solve and discus

tasks that promote mathematical reasoning and problem solving. This allows for multiple

entry points and varied solution strategies.

The power of questioning will be explored. Teachers will be made aware of how

effective teachers use purposeful questionings to assess and advance students reasoning

and sense making about important mathematical ideas and relationships. Teachers will be

taught how to ask questions that build on students responses. They will explore questions

that enable students to go beyond gathering information but probe thinking and require

explanation and justification. Teachers will be shown how to use higher order questioning

to add rigor to their lessons.

Teachers will be taught how effective teaching of mathematics builds fluency with

procedures on a foundation of conceptual understanding. They will be encouraged to

provide opportunities for students to use their own reasoning strategies and methods to

problem solve with fractions. They will be taught strategies as to how to ask students to

discuss and explain how and why the procedure they are using work to solve particular

fractional problems. This will enable students over time to become skillful in using

procedures flexibly as they solve contextual and mathematical problems.

Teachers will be guided as to how to address issues that students might struggle

with during a lesson and how to support them during the process. They will be taught that

it is okay for students to struggle on tasks and it is important for them to ask questions to

scaffold their thinking without stepping in to do students work. Helping them to work
through the confusion by facilitating discussions on their mistakes and praising them in

the process will help them to persevere.

Discussions will be facilitated in order to elicit and gather evidence of students

understanding at strategic points during the lesson. Strategies will be shared as to how

students thinking, understanding, and reasoning can be interpreted. Teachers will be

sensitized how to make in the moment decisions on how to respond to students with

questions and scaffold and extend their thinking.

During PLC meetings, teachers will discuss successes and challenges that they

have been experiencing. The administrative team will celebrate glows, discuss ways to

continuously improve and work with teachers to address concerns that they are facing.

Teachers will also work collaboratively to develop common assessments that will be used

formatively, and use the results to advance student learning and improve instruction.

Teachers will conduct mini demonstrations on how to use manipulative to teach aspects

of fractions that will be taught the following week in their classes. Teachers will be

guided as to how to move from concrete to representational and then to abstract. Lesson

plan activities will be discussed and developed. The use of technology will also be

stressed. Teachers will be lead to understand the need for students to be encouraged to

use tools in ways that promote mathematical reasoning and sense making.

In an effort to provide continuous assessment and improvement, we will revisit

strategies that have been implemented in our classes weekly. Data will be collected and

analyzed to determine the level of which learning is taking place.