This page contains a description of CPMP classrooms, tips for getting
organized, and the teacher's role. These describe the general situation.
Your student's teacher works in a particular social and academic context
and may adapt the program to be appropriate for that setting.
Glimpses Into CPMP Classrooms: short video clips from Course 1, Course 2, and Course 4 classrooms
The mathematical concepts developed in CPMP overlap with those concepts
parents are familiar with from their own school days. There are some
additional mathematical topics and skills, and more overt connections
between topics. In the classroom, there is typically more collaboration
during learning than you, as a parent, likely experienced.
Noticeable Attributes of a CPMP Classroom
Students are actively engaged in and talking to each
other about the mathematics they are learning. This student
talk is the medium through which mathematical concepts make
their way from the printed page into students' brains. There
are times when the teacher may be leading a large group discussion,
or helping a class refine and summarize a developing concept,
but most of the time students will be collaborating with each
other as they investigate problem situations. (See Research
The investigation questions are structured to take
advantage of what students already know, to push them to think
about what they still need to know in order to solve a problem,
and to identify obstacles to a complete solution. Sometimes
students can develop a strategy completely independent of further
help, and sometimes the text or teacher provides additional
information or hints to keep students progressing.
Students are expected to collaborate in these investigations,
make notes, and be prepared to share a summary with the teacher
and with the rest of the class.
Good communication skills, and positive group dynamics are
as essential to this classroom scenario as they are to successful
teamwork in business and industry. CPMP actually develops both
of these as a by-product of the main goal, which is to help
students learn a set of challenging mathematical concepts and
skills. (See Research
Glimpses Into Core-Plus Mathematics Classrooms provides videos showing actual Core-Plus Mathematics classrooms working through material from Courses 1, 3, and 4.
Your student's teacher may have some specific requirements about keeping
a notebook, so a good place to start to help your student stay organized
is by inquiring about expectations. Many students need initial assistance
in maintaining the "Math Toolkit." (See Using
the Math Toolkit.) This is their primary resource for all algorithms,
concepts, procedures, formulae, sample problems, and summaries of what
was learned in class. Whenever a student needs help outside of school
hours, or is studying for a quiz or test, this toolkit is the starting
Teachers choose their profession because they want to help young people
achieve their maximum potential. The urge to tell students everything
they need to know, and to repeat this information as often as necessary,
is a strong one. However, when the goal is to have students develop as
independent learners, a better strategy is to engage the natural curiosity
of students, and to encourage them with questions rather than show them
methods. This may initially be frustrating for those students who have
found learning mathematical procedures rather easy. This frustration
should be seen as a sign that students are being challenged to think.
One of the main findings of the Third International
Mathematics and Science Study was that U.S. teachers spend less time
helping students develop mathematical ideas, and more time demonstrating
with procedures than teachers in countries where students are more successful.
As with teachers in the high-performing international classrooms, CPMP
teachers are likely to be found:
monitoring several groups to ensure they are all working efficiently,
sitting with one group to ask in-depth questions for the purpose
of assessing each student's understanding,
assessing what all students are learning and responding to student
difficulties and frustration with scaffolding questions and hints,
leading the entire class in an investigation or in reviewing skills,
helping the entire class make an accurate summary of the mathematics