Full course description
Note: Module content is available to professional development facilitators, without fees, for use with professional learning communities in accordance with the use agreement.
This course, featuring Deborah Lowenberg Ball, is designed for facilitators to engage teachers in professional learning about fractions. It includes opportunities to learn more about fraction representation, definition, equivalence, and comparison; unpacking students’ ideas and approaches for representing and comparing fractions; exploring practices for representing fractions in classroom teaching; and developing ways to learn from images of their own public spaces like whiteboards and blackboards.
Fractions are a central topic in elementary mathematics. In both the NCTM Standards and the Common Core Standards, students in grades 3 through 5 are expected to develop an understanding of and skill with fractions as numbers, fraction equivalence, comparing and ordering fractions, and operations with fractions. In addition, students are expected to use and represent fractions as they engage in mathematical reasoning, model and solve problems, and communicate precisely. This module focuses on developing the knowledge and skills teachers need to help their students develop an understanding of some of the key ideas underlying these standards.
Although there is considerable demand for skilled professional development facilitation—few opportunities exist for facilitators to develop the knowledge and skills needed for this work. Developing Teaching Expertise (DTE) modules aim to address this need by creating professional development materials that increase access to expert teacher educators, while also increasing the capacity of individual facilitators.
Featured Mathematics Teacher Educator
Deborah Loewenberg Ball is the William H. Payne Collegiate Professor of Education at the University of Michigan, an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, and the founding director of TeachingWorks.
This module packages content, materials, and tools to support the work and learning of a professional development facilitator who is (or will be) supporting the learning of a group of practicing elementary classroom teachers.
Professional development facilitators will develop knowledge and skills needed for facilitation while supporting practicing teachers in developing develop expertise with respect to four core elements of teaching fractions - mathematics content, student thinking, teaching practices, and ways of learning from engagement in teaching:
Mathematics: knowing more about fraction representation, definition, equivalence, and comparison
Student Thinking: unpacking students’ ideas and approaches for representing and comparing fractions
Teaching Practices: representing fractions through classroom teaching
Learning from Practice: developing ways to learn from images of one’s own use of public spaces like whiteboards and blackboards
Work on these elements is integrated across the ten sessions. Simultaneously working on the four core elements is important because the work of elementary mathematics teaching requires integrated attention to these elements in practice. When used with classroom teachers, the sessions can be used as 90-minute sessions that provide participants with providing opportunities to practice, build on, and extend ideas over time.
Certificate of Completion
A certificate of completion for this module is available through Canvas Catalog from the Developing Teaching Expertise (DTE) @ Mathematics project at the University of Michigan School of Education.
Developers of the materials
Developing Teaching Expertise (DTE) @ Mathematics is a materials development project based at the University of Michigan School of Education. The multidisciplinary, cross-institution team builds practice-focused professional development modules for elementary mathematics teachers. The multimedia materials create opportunities for PD groups and professional learning communities to learn from leading mathematics teacher educators about key topics in elementary mathematics education.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1118745. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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