New Courses in Our Continuum. Our Center has been examining how participants strengthen the deeper understanding of core math concepts that we focus on in Building a Solid Foundation (BSF), our foundational course that we encourage all teachers to participate in. Based on our analysis, we have developed two new courses that focus on just one key concept at a time. Making Sense of Fractions and Making Sense of Proportional Reasoning are blended offerings that help participants gain conceptual understanding of concepts often only taught procedurally. Participants may take these courses even if they haven’t completed BSF yet. For those who have taken BSF, the two new offerings can continue to strengthen their depth of knowledge.
BSF will be offered this fall. Making Sense of Proportional Reasoning, a 16-hour blended course, will be piloted soon after BSF is completed. This course will focus in-depth on proportional reasoning, the capstone to algebra. Making Sense of Fractions will also be piloted this fall. This is also a 16-hour blended course that focuses more deeply on fractions, since that topic is one that teachers seem to have to teach over and over again. Our hope is that with these new strategies and understandings, teachers will have to teach fractions less often and can move on to other important math topics.
We continue to expand our offerings for participants who have completed BSF. We will conduct a Math Concepts series in the late winter/early spring, but will also offer a virtual course, Exploring Exponents, in the fall. The blended course, Exploring Linear Functions, will be offered during the winter. Participants can take both courses any time after completing BSF.
Math and ESOL. We have now fully developed our Mathematizing ESOL series, which consists of three online courses. Mathematizing ESOL I will start on August 28. For those who have completed Mathematizing ESOL I, a section of Mathematizing ESOL II will begin in early November. Our Center has also been working on a packet of math materials that we would like to pilot in a few ESOL programs. If you are interested in learning more about this pilot, please give Donna Curry a holler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Offerings. In FY17, we piloted two completely virtual courses: Analyzing Student Work to Inform Math Instruction and Questioning Techniques in the Math Classroom. Feedback we received from both courses suggested that we offer part of each course face-to-face. We have restructured both courses to now be blended, with one four-hour face-to-face session and the rest of the course virtual. These courses are available to all teachers. Analyzing Student Work will be offered this fall as a new blended course, starting September 20. Questioning Techniques will be offered later in the school year.
If you are new to adult education or to the College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education (CCRSAE), please consider registering for our online offerings on the CCRSAE Standards for Mathematical Practice and the Instructional Shifts for the CCRSAE for Mathematics. Both of these webinar series will start in September, so enroll now. (New this year: We are offering the CCRSAE Standards for Mathematical Practice on Saturdays for those who don’t seem to have enough time during the busy weekdays.)
Updated Website. Since many of you are working on your proposals, we wanted to highlight some of the best research on adult numeracy and math. We hope that the new format on our home page will make your search easier, and we welcome your feedback.
One of the most relevant research documents is a book titled Adding It Up: Helping Children Learn Mathematics by the National Research Council (2001), which can be downloaded for free from the National Academies Press website (https://www.nap.edu/catalog/9822/adding-it-up-helping-children-learn-mathematics). Although the focus is on children, the topics are all very relevant to adult learners as well. In particular, please note the five proficiency strands highlighted on page 117, which informed the CCRSAE Mathematical Practices. We believe that this book should be part of every adult education program that focuses on math.
Program Curriculum Support. We continue to offer an open-house style of professional development for those needing support with curriculum development. One open house is scheduled for early fall. We have not set other dates or locations yet, because we want to go where you need us. Send us a note if you have questions or if you would like us to come to your site.
Related to curriculum support, our Center would like to acknowledge that we have been working closely with ACLS to develop an intense curriculum that could potentially move students who are at least at a pre-ASE level along more quickly than we are often able to do. This new pilot curriculum, called the Curriculum for Accelerated Math, or CAM, includes units and lessons that focus on conceptual understanding. Students begin with core basic concepts that should be taught at the ABE level. Our theory is that if we take a step back to ensure that students have a strong conceptual understanding, they will be able to progress more quickly to higher-level math. Three sites are piloting CAM this year, and we will closely monitor the types of support teachers may need to implement such a curriculum. Stay tuned!