Open Up Resources 6-8 Math by Illustrative Mathematics Leadership Academy… and the SLC work after

Here is my tweet about the blog post leading up to this training from July 25 to 27th in San Francisco:

A little backstory: we piloted Unit 1 of Open Up Resources 6-8 Math at all grade levels, and received one day of training from Chrissy Newell at our school, Taylor Middle.

The academy was for 2 days, and I attended the 3rd day to be trained how to bring back the materials to my school and train my colleagues who did not attend the training. The first two days covered the same lessons we discussed at the one day training at our school. We went into further depth into the 5 practices and how it shows up in the lesson plans.

Here is part of our Math department enjoying the training!

I’ll start with a brief summary of the three days of the PD. On day one we established norms for how we were going to discuss math together. We looked at a diagram of the problem-based lesson structure. Many noticed it’s not I do, we do, you do, and it’s students warming up, activity, activity synthesis, another activity, lesson synthesis, and a cool-down to finish off. We then worked on a lesson in Unit 1 of grade 6 finding the area of some parallelograms using either decompose and rearrange or enclose and subtract. Some of the diagrams force you into the latter method, which we want students to be flexible with. We reviewed the structure of the 5 practices after the facilitators had taken notes and had participants come up and show their methods. We also looked at how to prepare a lesson or a week of lessons in advance.

On day two we analyzed a 5 practices lesson about proportionality with cups of rice. We then looked for evidence of the 5 practices in the lesson plan.

We then looked at the research behind the MLR’s, or Mathematical Language routines. They are described in detail in the Course guide at the top right of the Open up web site. We did an info gap routine. Kevin Liner said both students in the partnership should solve, with the data card trying to figure out the question the clues are for.

When I saw Chrissy Newell’s presentation at CMC Asilomar, she showed an anchor chart with the structure of the info gap presentation, which I made and used later during my PD and have used with students:

We looked at the design principles that support ELL students in the curriculum. The PDF is available through the Stanford web site and you should definitely check them out. We jigsawed them and shared at our tables what we learned.

Then we did a teacher materials scavenger hunt. This is where I believe the professional development could have been differentiated a bit because there were many participants that had taught a unit, a couple units, or a whole year of the curriculum. My team used this time to work on getting the cool-downs in some print-friendly formats.

We then looked at a lesson planning template. The process is writing down what materials need to be prepared, your goals, what to stress in the warm-up and lesson syntheses, and how the cool-down connects back to the learning goal.

We then did a great post-it note activity, where we responded to this statement: “Cultivating a community of learners where making thinking visible is both expected and valued.” We were asked to put our answers on post-its to two questions:

  1. What does it look like?
  2. How do we accomplish it?

We then posted these in our small groups, organized them by similar ideas, and gave category names to those groupings. It was amazing when we did a gallery walk and saw how many of our ideas were similar, and we got new ideas.

I’m proud of what our group came up with here. You can see we want our classrooms to show off evidence of student work, see the student engagement in the discussions, a class culture where discourse is respectful, and us using teacher moves to put students in the position to succeed and share their ideas.
And here is a group that we didn’t even talk to. Don’t their categories look similar to ours?

Day 3 was one room rather than two rooms and much more intimate I thought. We first brainstormed about our own PLC or Professional Learning communities. When do they happen? Who is involved? Success and challenges? I know we meet at least once a week as a department, once a month as a staff, and once a month as a grade level.

We discussed how to plan a PLC session centered around the 5 practices. Basically, do the math, read the lesson, complete a template, discuss implementation, and reflect on that.

We also looked at a PLC sesion about mathematical routines. The process is to read the lesson, define the purpose of the routine, enact routine, anticipate student responses, and reflect on how it went.

Time was spent on the unit 1 pre-unit diagnostic test and how the skills assessed their showed up in the first 4 lessons and to brainstorm opportunities to reteach those skills. I’ve seen on the Facebook group that people think if students nail the diagnostic then they already know the material from the unit. No. This does preview some of the content, but it looks at some prior grade level skills to identify any gaps as well. The course guide goes into detail behind the purpose of these.

Afterwards, we completed a cool down in grade level groups and analyzed student responses that were scanned to a Google drive link. Finally, we reviewed the unit dependency chart.

From there, we were given all the PDF’s and Google Slides. These materials are copyrighted by Illustrative Mathematics, so I cannot share how I spliced those together to plan the professional development back at my school the week before school started.

In the day of professional development I had with my department, we spent the first hour organizing materials for unit 1 because the 6th grade teachers had to attend an hour meeting on using Amplify for Science materials.

Then I shared my first week plans briefly to suggest to my colleagues to use some materials from You Cubed’s week of inspirational math to give us all more time to prep for Unit 1 without plunging into it right away.

I started by reviewing Illustrative Mathematic’s vision statement:

“A world where learners know, use, and enjoy mathematics.”

I then reviewed the overarching design structure: Invitation to the mathematics, deep study of concepts and procedures, and consolidating and applying those. That macro view then shifted to the micro view of each lesson’s problem-based structure which I talked about previously in this post.

I then asked my colleagues to read the summary of each lesson component from the PD handouts and highlight or underline what stood out to them. We then went over it. This was great.

Then we looked at Unit 1 Lesson 18 of grade 6. We looked at it on the Open Up web site from the student view, had a hard copy, and I had the slides on my display screen. We completed the warm-up and saw what we needed to stress (meaning of exponents, being repeated multiplication and that repeated addition can be written as multiplication).

This was the most common net. I had to prompt some colleagues to label their net by pointing to the second part of the sentence.
Notice how Mr. Rodinsky not only wrote his answer of 125 cu in but the expression before it 5 x 5 x 5. I made sure to snap a photo of this and show it from my Google Drive app as part of one of the 5 practices of sequencing and connecting student work.
I used to this show how this student used something besides words (exponents) to show the square and cubic units.

I prompted colleagues, is the T shape on the left the only way you can draw a net (all teachers did it this way or it rotated). Miss Wong looked up the NCTM site where it had all the methods. Part of the activity synthesis is closing with asking “What is the surface area and volume of a cube with an edge of 38?”

We then completed the cool-down. We then read the framework for the 5 practices and identified evidence from the lesson plan where we saw the 5 practices. You can see how the lesson plan gives you the learning goal, anticipates misconceptions and correct methods.

We then breaked for lunch. When we got back we jumped right in with the most unfamiliar routine to most people: Info Gap. I selected one from the last units of Grade 6 on statistics and it was a pair of challenging tasks on box plots. This tweet shows the task and it generated a lot of interest on Twitter. The main point is I had to establish background knowledge students would have had a chance to learn earlier in the unit before teachers experienced the activity:

Then to get people moving, we reviewed the number talk routine and enacted it.

I used material from the 6th grade curriculum that was different from the training but still in Unit 1.
Here’s a nice sight: colleagues discussing strategies. They had a long discussion on the area model for multiplication. Up front you can see the workbooks (no photocopy machine!!) from Open Up Resources 6-8 Math curriculum.
Here is Mr. Lee practicing the Number Talk string routine by scribing Ms. Yee’s thinking.

Finally, we took our unit 1 pre-unit diagnostic test and analyzed it. Jenna Laib blogged about that also. We did not have time to analyze cool-downs, which we will save for a later department meeting.

The 8th grade team took the Unit 1 pre-unit diagnostic test and looked at how the concepts may predict success or struggles in the lessons 1 to 4. We split up the 7 problems between us.

I got some good feedback, although some thought it was repetitious of the training. I tried to remind everyone that the training was for the people that weren’t at the 2 day training. I know everyone appreciated though that we used different content and somewhat more challenging material.

Mr. Lee made a post it note of what we are going to try to have students glue into a notebook to bring to class in addition to the consumable workbook. They are decided to do 2 skill assessments on Fridays rather than the 3 a week we did last year.

I’m looking forward to a great year. I’d also like to thank Open Up Resources for hiring me as a guru for the 6th grade level. It’s been awesome so far with our Twitter chats. Join us mondays using #openupmath at 5:30 PST. We will also be having some Zoom chats for more personal professional development. Also, join the Facebook group for Open Up Resources, with a general group and there are grade specific groups.

Author: mrjoyce180

6/8th grade math teacher using open up resources tweeting from@martinsean

2 thoughts on “Open Up Resources 6-8 Math by Illustrative Mathematics Leadership Academy… and the SLC work after”

  1. Can you explain what you mean by two skill assessments on Fridays? Are you doing two lessons per week and assessing on Fridays, or four per week and picking two skills to assess on Fridays?

    Thanks for the awesome post!


    1. My colleague is going to assess 2 skills per week. Then the next week it would be the second skill again and a new skill. Basically students would have 2 attempts at a skill in class with the second one counting. Instead of retakes he’s doing corrections.
      Each skill has to be determined as well. It can’t assess just one lesson but a series of 2-3 lessons which will make it sometimes a challenge. I will try to keep people updated on this blog. Thanks for the kind words.


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