Bringing It All Together
Collaborating with Colleagues to Strengthen Instruction and Support Disciplinary Literacy
Strengthening one’s mathematics teaching practice in ways that incorporate disciplinary literacy practices may not happen overnight, even with the best of resources, particularly since many of these practices may be new and unfamiliar to both you and your students. What are some strategies for beginning to make some of the changes to your mathematics teaching practice that you may now feel are important to incorporate? What are some strategies for strengthening some of the approaches that may already be in place to some degree but need further development? As you might guess, working together with colleagues, rather than working alone, is an important strategy for successfully incorporating disciplinary literacy practices into one’s ongoing mathematics instruction.
Here are some suggestions for how to work with your middle school or high school mathematics team to examine and discuss incorporating disciplinary literacy practices into your ongoing mathematics instruction:
- Planning and reflecting on mathematics lessons in grade-level teams, course-level teams, or mathematics department teams with the goal of designing lessons that reflect the CCSSM and a range of disciplinary literacy practices
- Collecting, sharing, and discussing student work that is aligned with the expectations of the CCSS and reflects a range of disciplinary literacy practices
- Visiting each other’s classrooms to collect data about student engagement in the CCSS and disciplinary literacy practices and then reflecting together on implications
- Videotaping one’s own mathematics lesson and reviewing the evidence regarding student engagement in the CCSS and disciplinary literacy practices and considering the implications
- Partnering with a colleague or a small group of colleagues to form “video learning teams” (Knight, 2014) to share and discuss videos from each other’s classrooms in order to analyze and strengthen instruction
In many schools and districts, teams of teachers engage in this collaborative and reflective work through professional learning communities (PLCs). Increasingly, tools and resources are becoming available to support these PLC efforts. Several examples are outlined in three resources specifically designed to support the expectations of the CCSS at the secondary mathematics level: Common Core Mathematics in a PLC at Work, Grades 6–8 (Briars et al., 2012), Common Core Mathematics in a PLC at Work, High School (Zimmermann et al., 2012), and Common Core Mathematics in a PLC at Work, Leader’s Guide (Lawson and Kanold, 2012). You may find these and other similar resources valuable as you thoughtfully take on the commitment to collaborate with colleagues in ways that support the incorporation of disciplinary literacy practices in your classroom.