The three CCSS workshops developed by MEC for the MEC MSP – Ratio and Proportional Reasoning, Rational Numbers, and Expressions and Equations – that are now being offered to grades 4 – 14 teachers throughout Washington State, have several important features, including the following:

  1. The workshops are designed to deepen teachers’ mathematics content knowledge and mathematical knowledge for teaching by engaging them first-hand as learners of the mathematics of the CCSS.
  2. Participants experience, for themselves, what it looks and feels like to learn mathematics within an environment that fully models the Standards for Mathematical Practice.
  3. The workshops are designed to model ways to address a broad range of learner needs without labeling students.  Participants come to the workshops themselves with a broad range of experience and needs, and they observe their own learning and that of their colleagues in an environment that is safe for all yet challenging for every learner.
  4. ‘Expandable tasks’ – tasks that are designed to allow access to all students yet challenge even the most sophisticated user of mathematics; tasks with high cognitive demand – permeate the workshops.  The workshops are designed to be safe places for learning for all teachers while challenging even those teachers who come to the workshops with quite sophisticated understanding of the mathematics involved.  Because the tasks, by design, are ‘expandable’ they are directly transferable to grades 4 – 14 classrooms.
  5. Participants have opportunities to work in small collaborative groups, as independent problem solvers, and as a community of learners in a whole group setting.
  6. Mathematical reasoning and discourse quickly become the norm.
  7. Pedagogical moves of the workshop instructors are made explicit so as to support transfer of those pedagogies to classroom practice.
  8. Assessment practices used in the workshops are aligned with the goals of the Smarter Balanced Assessment System and are appropriate classroom assessment tools.
  9. External research confirms that the workshops deepen teachers’ mathematics content knowledge (p < .01), and motivate change in their classroom practice (p < .001 Evaluator’s Year 2 report, 2015).
  10. Virtually all teachers and administrators leave the workshops wanting more of these opportunities to learn mathematics within environments that model the practices we hope to see in all mathematics classrooms.