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Elementary Teacher Cohort Meeting: Doing K-5 Math with Grownups

Workshop Spotlight | May 23, 2018

MƒA cohort meetings are both monthly workshops and one-time sessions designed specifically for certain fellowship cohorts. 2015 and 2016 MƒA Master Teachers teaching elementary school mathematics had a particular interest in the “Elementary Teacher Cohort Meeting: Doing K-5 Math with Grownups” held this past semester, where teachers learned and practiced strategies to encourage colleagues who don’t consider themselves “math people.” They looked at how to help their colleagues better understand foundational math principles and gain comfort with domain-specific language by exploring number strings, discussing professional literature, analyzing traditional multiplication algorithms, and using text protocols in small groups.

MƒA teachers form a strong community focused on pedagogy, knowledge of students, and, equally importantly, expertise in their content areas. “Many of us work with other teachers in our schools who think about mathematics in terms of algorithms and procedures but may not understand why certain algorithms work or what foundational understanding students need to move on to higher level mathematics,” said the co-facilitator of this cohort meeting, MƒA Master Teacher Susan Harter.

Laura Ralph, co-facilitator and fellow MƒA Master Teacher added, “When everyone in the school community understands foundational math principles, only then can they recognize and support students’ development and understanding of them. When any one person understands foundational math principles, they can begin to see the application, beauty, and integration of math in their daily lives.”

Both Susan and Laura agree that collaboration between teachers is of the utmost importance and that these cohort meetings give teachers opportunities to share techniques and strategies to bring back to their schools, as well as a safe learning space to try new things amidst a community of inspired learners. Read more about the set of course structures MƒA has developed to support teachers in our Professional Development Resources