Math Learning Communities featured in new book for educatorsBook signing celebrates Regional Science Resource Center authors
“Our MLC teacher training and classroom materials have taken off,” said Mayrand of the tool pioneered by the RSRC to help K-8 teachers help their students learn math. “Now that the training is aligned with the federal government’s Common Core Curriculum State Standards, the book will help spread the word.”
When Dr. Noyce invited her to pen the chapter, Mayrand tapped Cleaves as co-writer. Titled "Creating and Facilitating Mathematics Learning Communities Focusing on Students' Work," the chapter explains how, by analyzing student work as a group, MLCs can help teachers deepen their understanding of how students think about mathematics and redirect instruction as needed to improve students’ grasp of mathematical concepts. MLCs further energize and empower teachers to reflect on classroom practice, share strategies, discuss best practices and expand professional expertise.
“We have developed and refined tools that can help tie professional development to the classroom with quality discussions at little or no cost,” noted Cleaves, a former middle school math teacher who develops and conducts MLC facilitator training as well as developing the MLC teacher training modules and classroom materials, which are available to educators at no charge on the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) website.
Mayrand and Noyce first met and collaborated in the 1990s on the National Science Foundation-funded Partnership Advancing the Learning of Math and Science initiative in Massachusetts, for which Noyce was co-principal investigator. The RSRC subsequently received funding from the Noyce Foundation to launch the MLC program in Massachusetts; it has since received tremendous support from the DESE.
Noyce, whose late father Robert Noyce was a co-founder of Intel Corporation, is a trustee of the Noyce Foundation, established by his family in his honor with a focus to improve instruction in math, science and early literacy in public schools. She joined Mayrand and Cleaves at the event to greet math educators from across Massachusetts who have embraced Mathematics Learning Communities for professional development in their elementary and middle schools.
“This type of work empowers teachers,” said Noyce of formative assessment methods for professional development such as MLCs. “It is especially effective with the leadership of people like Sandy [Mayrand].”
Related links:Improving K-8 math teaching and learning Regional Science Resource Center—Mathematics Learning Community