TEACHING TO THE BIG IDEAS
Teaching to the Big Ideas was a 4-year professional development project in elementary mathematics, which ran from 1993 to 1997, with associated research efforts running through 1998. It was designed to address
During the first three years - through summer institutes, biweekly after-school meetings, and biweekly classroom visits - participants explored mathematics content and reflected on the nature of mathematics, how it is learned, and implications of these new insights for their own instruction. As teachers transformed instruction, the group identified big ideas that emerged and examined how ideas shift, change, and grow across grade levels.
In order to investigate the mathematical issues that emerge when teaching is organized around students' ideas, participating teachers regularly wrote classroom episodes that captured the mathematical thinking of one or more students. Initially, those short narratives were intended for project consumption only. After a year, project staff realized the episodes could be used as cases to be used as the basis of discussion among educators outside the project. As we explored such uses of the TBI episodes, we came to the idea of producing a professional development curriculum, which we called Developing Mathematical Ideas (DMI).
From the beginning of the project, the TBI teachers had made a commitment to do some kind of professional development work in their schools during the fourth year. Once they realized DMI was available to work from, most teachers decided to offer a DMI seminar in their schools. During the 1996-97 school year, TBI teacher-leaders led 12 DMI seminars for colleagues and 1 for parents. (See the linked page, Teacher Leadership Development.)
Teaching to the Big Ideas was a collaboration among EDC, SummerMath for Teachers at Mount Holyoke College, and TERC, funded by the National Science Foundation (Grant #ESI-9254393). Participants were K-6 teachers representing 15 schools in urban, suburban, and rural communities in Massachusetts. Of the 36 teachers who began the project, 30 participated for the full 4 years. Midway through the project, another 6 joined.
Publications Produced by TBI
Goldsmith, L., and Schifter, D. (1997). Understanding teachers in transition: Characteristics of a model for the development of mathematics teaching. In E. Fennema and B.S. Nelson (Eds.) Mathematics Teachers in Transition. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Morse, A. & Wagner, P. (in press). Learning from parents. In D. Peressini (Ed.) Parents and Educational Reform: Power, Participation and Content.
Morse, A. & Wagner, P. (in press) Learning to listen: Lessons from a mathematics seminar for parents. Teaching Children Mathematics.
Russell, S.J. (in preparation). A case of classroom teachers becoming teacher educators: The challenge of teaching peers.
Russell, S.J. (1997) The role of curriculum in teacher development. In S. Friel & G. Bright (Eds.) Reflecting on Our Work: NSF Teacher Enhancement in Mathematics K-6, pp. 247-254. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America.
Russell, S.J., Schifter, D., Bastable, V., Yaffee, L., Lester, J., & Cohen, S. (December, 1995). Learning mathematics while teaching. In B. Nelson, (Ed.) Inquiry and the Development of Teaching: Issues in the Transformation of Mathematics Teaching, 9-16. Newton, MA: Center for the Development of Teaching Paper Series, Education Development Center.
Schifter, D. (in press). Learning mathematics for teaching: From the teachers' seminar to the classroom. Journal for Mathematics Teacher Education. Also appears as (1997). Learning mathematics for teaching: Lessons in/from the domain of fractions. Center for the Development of Teaching Paper Series, Newton, MA: Education Development Center.
Schifter, D. (March, 1997). Operation sense as a foundation for algebra. Presented at the meeting of the American Education Research Association, Chicago.
Schifter, D. (1996). A constructivist perspective on teaching and learning mathematics. Phi Delta Kappan, 77(7), pp. 492-499. Also in C.T. Fosnot (Ed.) Constructivism: Foundations, perspectives, and practice, 73-91. New York: Teachers College Press.
Schifter, D. (December, 1995). Teachers' changing conceptions of the nature of mathematics: Enactment in the classroom. In B. Nelson, (Ed.) Inquiry and the Development of Teaching: Issues in the Transformation of Mathematics Teaching, 17-26. Newton, MA: Center for the Development of Teaching Paper Series, Education Development Center.
Schifter, D., Bastable, V., & Russell, S.J. (1997). Attention to mathematical thinking: Teaching to the Big Ideas. In S. Friel & G. Bright (Eds.) Reflecting on Our Work: NSF Teacher Enhancement in Mathematics K-6, pp. 255-262. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America.
Schifter, D., Russell, S.J., & Bastable, V. (in press). Teaching to the Big Ideas. In M. Solomon (Ed.). The Diagnostic Teacher: Revitalizing Professional Development. New York: Teachers College Press.
Schifter, D., and O'Brien, D. (in press). Interpreting the Standards: Translating principles into practice. Teaching Children Mathematics.
Teaching to the Big Ideas (1997). Developing mathematical ideas, Module 1: Building a system of tens. Newton, MA: Education Development Center, Inc.
Teaching to the Big Ideas (1997). Developing mathematical ideas, Module 2: Making meaning for operations. Newton, MA: Education Development Center, Inc.
the Big Ideas
|Virginia Bastable||Mt. Holyoke College, South Hadley|
|Linda Davenport||Education Development Center, Newton|
|Sophia Cohen||Education Development Center, Newton|
|Jill Lester||Mt. Holyoke College, South Hadley|
|Susan Jo Russell||TERC, Cambridge|
|Deborah Schifter||Education Development Center, Newton|
|Audrey Barzey||Early Learning Center - West, Boston|
|Allan Arnaboldi||Fort River School, Amherst|
|Lisa Bailly||Mosier Elemenatary School, South Hadley|
|Julie Burke||David A. Ellis School, Boston|
|Yvonne Carpio||James W. Hennigan, Boston|
|Rose Christiansen||Lincoln Elementary, Brookline|
|Nancy Dostal||Bridge Street School, Northampton|
|Marcia Estelle||Westfield Middle School, Westfield|
|Becky Eston||Charles Sumner Smith School, Lincoln|
|Trish Farrington||Fort River School, Amherst|
|Victoria Fink||Abner Gibbs School, Westfield|
|Gail Gilmore||Tobin School, Boston|
|Nancy Horowitz||German Gerena Community School, Springfield|
|Debbie Jacque||Pelham Elementary School, Pelham|
|Mary Ann Kitchener||German Gerena Community School, Springfield|
|Rick Last||Fort River School, Amherst|
|Elizabeth Miller||Tobin School, Boston|
|Rena Moore||Pelham Elementary School, Pelham|
|Amy Morse||Education Development Center, Newton|
|Deborah O'Brien||Mosier Elementary School, South Hadley|
|Martha Ochs||Abner Gibbs School, Westfield|
|Anne Marie O'Reilly||William E. Norris School, Southampton|
|Hilory Paster||Lincoln School, Brookline|
|Jessica Redman||(on leave)|
|Priscilla Rhodes||Charles Sumner Smith School, Lincoln|
|Margie Riddle||Bridge Street School, Northampton|
|Janice Rook||Tobin School, Boston|
|Sherry Sajdak||Chestnut Hill Community School, Belchertown|
|Karen Schweitzer||Helen E. James School, Hampshire Region|
|Elisabeth Seyferth||Horace Mann School, Newton|
|Susan Smith||Helen E. James School, Hampshire Region|
|Diane Stafford||David A. Ellis School, Boston|
|Nora Toney||Mattahunt Elementary School, Boston|
|Polly Wagner||Atrium School, Watertown|
|Carol Walker||Horace Mann School, Newton|
|Stephen Walkowicz||Chestnut Hill Community School, Belchertown|
All of these sites are in the state of Massachusetts.
FAX: (617) 965-6325
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