The 4J School District is using the College Preparatory Mathematics (CPM) program for Mathematics courses. These texts cover the new and advanced curriculum that supports students to have Algebra by 8th grade and minimally complete Algebra 2 in high school. The math curriculum has been standardized throughout the 4J school district to provide excellent instruction and seamless transitions for students that transfer from one 4J school to another.
CPM Educational Program, a California non-profit corporation, has provided problem-based instructional materials and professional development for teachers since its inception in 1989. “College Preparatory Mathematics (CPM)” was originally an Eisenhower-funded grant program. CPM teaching strategies focus on how students best learn and retain mathematics. Teaching strategies rely on the recommendations of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and are based solidly on the methodological research in teaching mathematics. The research-based principles that guide the course are:
- Students should engage in problem-based lessons structured around a core idea.
- Guided by a knowledgeable teacher, students should interact in groups to foster mathematical discourse.
- Practice with concepts and procedures should be spaced over time; that is, mastery comes over time.
On a daily basis, students using CPM Core Connections employ problem solving strategies, question, investigate, analyze critically, gather and construct evidence, and communicate rigorous arguments to justify their thinking. With the CPM instructional materials, students can tackle mathematical ideas set in everyday contexts to help them make sense of otherwise abstract principles. Students are taught how to gather and organize information about problems, break problems into smaller parts, and look for patterns that lead to solutions. Students often learn in collaboration with others, sharing information, expertise, and ideas.
A student’s grade will depend on several parts, each of which needs to be kept in the math section of their binder:
- Classwork: Daily Warm Up Sheet – This sheet is for 5 days of warm up activities. Notes, assignments, and preparedness points are earned daily. These sheets are turned in every 5 school days and are worth 50 points. When a student is absent an entry for the missing day will merely say “ABSENT.” Students do not make up warm up activities (they will be excused), but they do make up any missed assignments. Students will be asked to problem solve and reflect during daily warm up activities. A parent looking at the daily warm up section should be able to see the date, entry and an indication of points earned on the numbers at the top of each entry. Points are also awarded for daily preparedness at the top of each entry. Being prepared for class includes, but is not limited to, having all supplies, homework, learning materials, and being ready to work. All Daily Warm Up Sheet pages are kept in the binder until I let the students know that the sheets from the unit may be recycled.
Interactive Notebook (Group problems and notes) – The daily group problems are the main learning activities for the new material. Each student must do each problem with their group and its follow up questions even if they are absent. All problems and notes must be done in the interactive notebook! This notebook should be kept in the binder. If you are absent for activities or notes, it may be necessary to come in to get materials and/or instruction to be able to complete the activity. Notebooks may be used during tests and quizzes and students will frequently need to refer to it when doing their homework, so it is critical for students to be able to refer back to the problems and follow up questions. That means the math notebooks must stay organized & legible!
- Assignments – If time permits, students will check selected homework problems in class with a red pen and I will award points based on completion. I expect every student to try every problem and to follow directions about explaining their reasoning. A student may have every problem wrong and still receive full credit because they have attempted each problem, explained their reasoning AND did a good job of correcting their work in class. A student who is absent is still required to do the homework for the day but is allowed an extra day for each class day absent before points will be deducted for lateness.
- Assessments:Quizzes, Tests, Work Samples, & Projects – I use a variety of different methods to assess how students are doing. When one of these is returned or when a project or review sheet is given out, the completed papers go into the math section of the binder.
There are three components of the math grade:
- Classwork = Daily warm up + Cooperative Class Problems + Interactive Notebooks (34%)
- Assignments = Homework assignments (33%)
3. Assessments = Quizzes + Tests + Work Samples + Projects (33%)
You will receive a progress report from me approximately every two weeks. It is worth 10 points of extra credit when students get their progress report signed and returned. If three weeks have gone by and no progress report has come home, then it is time to contact me for more information. Families with Internet access can log on to Synergy to monitor student progress. More information will come home in September; it will provide the details necessary to use the online grade book.
To track behavior, I will be using a program called ClassDojo. Class Dojo is a classroom tool that helps teachers improve behavior in their classrooms quick and easily. It also captures and generates data on behavior that I can share with parents and administrators. Please return the attached sheet if you are interested in receiving weekly Class Dojo emails.
6th grade is an important step for each student. The good habits of organization and a developed system of learning for each individual student will help build confidence and abilities during middle school. Check in with your student to see how they are doing. It is essential to check your student’s planner every evening and ask to see the completed assignment/homework. Look at the organization of the math section of their binder and ask them what they like best about math. Allow them to explain concepts to you. I am looking forward to working with your student, please work with me to help each student have success this year!