Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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The Missing Link

Workshop 1
Workshop 2
Workshop 3
Workshop 4
Workshop 5
Workshop 6
Workshop 7
Workshop 8


Workshop Sessions

This series of workshops is built in pairs. Each topic spans two workshops — the first is a "Discovery" program where the Learner Teachers investigate a mathematical concept and work on a number of problems related to that concept. The second program in each pair — "In Practice" — features the Learner Teachers sharing their own classroom experiences, working with different kinds of scoring guides and going deeper into each mathematical topic.

Below, there are links to pages describing each of the workshops in more detail. The support materials for The Missing Link are available here as PDF files. To read the PDF versions, you will need a copy of Adobe Reader, available free for download.

Components of Each Workshop

Workshop 1: Proportionality & Similar Figures — Discovery
Teachers discover what makes similar figures similar. They are introduced to the concept of scale factor and use scale factors to enlarge and shrink figures. Through continued investigations, teachers determine how scale factor affects side lengths, angles, perimeters, and areas when figures are enlarged or shrunk.

          View this video==>

Workshop 2: Proportionality & Similar Figures — In Practice
In this follow-up to Workshop 1, the teachers discuss how their students approached the Proportionality & Similar Figures lessons. Scoring guides for student work are introduced, and the teachers learn how to sort student work into two categories — meeting standards and not meeting standards. Finally, teachers create new problems to deepen their students' understanding.

          View this video==>

Workshop 3: Patterns & Functions — Discovery
Teachers use real-life problems and experiments to gather and display experimental data in graphs and tables. They then analyze the resulting patterns to make predictions and develop algebraic equations. They gain the knowledge and confidence to teach middle schoolers concepts that often are not introduced until high school, such as linear functions, independent and dependent variables, y-intercept, and slope. Teachers also see how linear models are useful to solve real-world problems that involve constant rates of change, whether it's figuring which company has the best buy for T-shirts or selecting the best pledge plan for a charity walkathon.

          View this video==>

Workshop 4: Patterns & Functions — In Practice
In this follow-up to Workshop 3, the teachers discuss the experience of teaching the Patterns & Functions lessons in their classrooms. They create task-specific scoring guides to evaluate student work, using a scale of 1 to 4. Then, they work in small groups to develop high-quality, engaging performance tasks that will deepen students' understanding of the big ideas of Patterns & Functions.

          View this video==>

Workshop 5: Polygons & Angles — Discovery
Teachers conduct several imaginative explorations to investigate angle measures and their relationships in triangles, quadrilaterals and other polygons. Using drawings and tables to organize information, teachers find ways to generalize a rule for finding the sum of the interior angles in any polygon.

          View this video==>

Workshop 6: Polygons & Angles — In Practice
In this follow-up to Workshop 5, the teachers discuss how they taught the Polygons & Angles lessons in their classrooms. They learn to evaluate different types of scoring guides and determine how to use them most effectively for evaluating student work. Finally, small groups of teachers begin to develop new culminating projects that target specific mathematical goals and objectives.

          View this video==>

Workshop 7: Sampling & Probability — Discovery
Teachers work together to collect data and determine the probability of an event, and then they use probability to make predictions about an unknown sample. They learn how to conduct random samples of data to make predictions about the larger population, just as pollsters do to help elect political candidates and companies do to test market a new product. To make these predictions, teachers use box plots to organize and analyze the sample data.

          View this video==>

Workshop 8: Sampling & Probability — In Practice
In this follow-up to Workshop 7, the teachers discuss how their students handled the Sampling & Probability lessons. They explore the difficult gray area between student work that rates a "3" (meets standards) and work that is a "2" (does not meet standards). They learn how to use "on-ramp" lessons for students who haven't yet demonstrated a mastery of core math concepts.

          View this video==>

Use these lessons with ALL of your students, not just your accelerated groups. As the Learner Teachers found out firsthand, these lessons are within reach of every student; indeed, in many cases, they are the most beneficial for students who traditionally have been left behind by "skill-and-drill" instruction.
Take advantage of the print materials and this Web site. They contain all the materials used in the programs — lessons, practical advice for managing your classroom, student handouts, teacher overheads, scoring guides, sample student work and templates for designing your own problems and tasks. This Web site also includes multiple links to additional helpful teacher resources.
Share your experiences with your colleagues. Set up formal or informal discussion groups in your school or district to talk about your experiences — just as the Learner Teachers do in the studio. Building in time for reflection is the most important step teachers can take to strengthen their craft. What works? What doesn't? Where do you go from here? We have included starter questions throughout this document to help launch your local conversations. You can discuss your experiences with middle school teachers around the country via The Missing Link discussion forum, Teacher-Talk.

For too long, too many teachers have been shortchanged by the national school reform movement — blamed for low student achievement but not given the practical tools to help them in their classrooms. The Missing Link is an attempt to close that gap.

This series is a tool designed for middle school teachers. Use it. Build on it. And share what you know.

  • Adam Kernan-Schloss, Project Director
  • Jan Robinson, Master Teacher
  • Shannon C'de Baca, Workshop Guide
  • Susan Gillespie, Publications Manager
  • Miriam Lewin, Producer
  • Kaye Lavine, Series Producer and Director

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