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Local District 4
Pre-K – 12 Professional Development

May 12, 2010

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Overarching Question:

 What can Pre-K-12 staff do to address

the concern around the number one
problem identified by High School
Principals: High Algebra IAB failure

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Last Month:

What makes Mathematics

different from English
language arts in the
transition from elementary to
middle to high school?

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Table Talk

 Introduce yourself to your table partners.

 Talk about one thing that you learned in

the level alike session.

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Cynthia Lim, page 7:

 Does the Math in grades 6, 7 and Algebra require a

more conceptual understanding rather than an
algorithmic understanding in grade 5?

 Do middle and high school math courses require

more problem solving and use of abstract numbers
than elementary math?

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Connecting Skills, Conceptual Understanding, and Problem

Basic computational and procedural skills, conceptual understanding, and problem solving form a
web of mutually reinforcing elements in the curriculum. Computational and procedural skills are
necessary for the actual solution of both simple and complex problems, and the practice of these
skills provides a context for learning about the associated concepts and for discovering more
sophisticated ways of solving problems (Siegler and Stern 1998). The development of conceptual
understanding provides necessary constraints on the types of procedures students use to solve
mathematics problems, enables students to detect when they have committed a procedural error,
and facilitates the representation and translation phases of problem solving. Similarly, the process
of applying skills in varying and increasingly complex problem-solving situations is one of the
ways in which students not only refine their skills but also reinforce and strengthen their
conceptual understanding and procedural competencies.

Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve
Published 2006 (Page 8)

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Mathematics Framework, p. 17
 The problems that students solve must address important mathematics.
As students progress from grade to grade, they should deal with
problems that (1) require increasingly more advanced knowledge and
understanding of mathematics; (2) are increasingly complex
(applications and purely mathematical investigations); and (3) require
increased use of inductive and deductive reasoning and proof. In
addition, problems should increasingly require students to make
connections among mathematical ideas within a discipline and across
domains. Each year students need to solve problems from all strands,
although most of the problems should relate to the mathematics that
students study that year. A good problem is one that is mathematically
important; specifies the problem to be solved but not the solution path;
and draws on grade-level appropriate skills and conceptual

 Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools Kindergarten

Through Grade Twelve Published 2006 (Page 17)

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Group Protocol:
 Read, page 17, paragraph 3 of the Math Framework.

 Discuss what the paragraph means to you.

 Take a few minutes to reflect on this paragraph and the section on

page 8, Connecting Skills, Conceptual Understanding and Problem
Solving . What are the implications for your school’s professional
development for the next school year?

 Share your reflections with your table partners.

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 Reflect on the professional development you’ve engaged in
during this school year at your principals’ meetings; more
specifically consider the understanding you’ve gained around
math data and teacher practice. Describe the opportunities you
have created at your school site for your staff to engage in
similar conversations around data-to-practice. Be prepared to
share your experience at the June meeting.

 Create and/or participate in a professional development session

at your site where teachers are engaged in a conversation
about their math data, classroom practice, and student learning.
Be prepared to share your experience at the June meeting.

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