January 2012, Campbell Calif.—Algebra in kindergarten? Not exactly, say educators, but for students to master the 8th grade algebra requirement, the foundation for its concepts must begin in the earlier grades. That is why Campbell Union School District has teamed with San Jose State professors Ferdinand Rivera and Dr. Patricia Swanson to create a 30-hour Math Institute covering first through fourth grade content. Seventy teachers—from kindergarten through fourth grade—are participating.
"California Standards require eighth graders to take algebra," said Debi Bodenheimer, the District's Director of Curriculum and Instruction. “This Institute helps teachers build knowledge in algebra and gain new skills for teaching it to students in the primary grades. Our teachers are becoming more proficient in understanding how the brain stores information, multiple representations of mathematical concepts, and hands-on activities."
After the first session, one teacher commented: “This is the best professional development that I’ve attended. The District needs to continue this hands-on approach to training teachers.”
Math Institute Facts:
What is the Math Institute?
Math institute in a 30-hour professional development for K-4th grade teachers. Teachers are exposed to concepts about how the brain stores information, math pedagogy, and effective math teaching strategies.
Who's involved? (attendees, sponsors, etc)
70 CUSD K-4th grade teachers
2 SJSU professors
1 CUSD facilitator
Why are they doing this? What is the desired outcome?
GOAL: To build K-4 teachers’ math confidence, learn alternative strategies and methods of presenting and teaching mathematics, become more familiar with hands-on math manipulatives and foundational concepts
Desired Outcome: improve teacher instruction, improve students' comprehension and performance on formative and summative assessments