In early March of 2015, Sally Yoo (math instructional coach) and Scott Corwin (math department chair) from Edna Brewer Middle School in OUSD, had the opportunity to participate in Embedded Day professional development in Oceanside. We spent one full day with 6th grade teachers analyzing student work, creating tasks to address key misconception(s), and observing students in the classrooms.
Having the time to analyze student work with other teachers highlighted the importance of having thought partners. There were many “Aha” moments when teachers noticed misconceptions that were not as apparent to others. When we were creating new sets of problems/tasks, different ideas and opinions forced us to examine our own assumptions and habit of mind, which resulted in more rigorous and focused problems sets. Also, the group was able to talk about what kinds of questions we could use to move student thinking for all levels of student understanding (struggling students and students who had already mastered the concepts). The best part was when we gave our work to the students and actively observed how students made sense with and engaged in the problems we created. As we interacted with our students, we were able to accurately assess each student’s understanding. We could then use some of our questions to move understanding further as well as create new questions on the spot to further uncover their misconceptions.
After the first round of developing tasks and observing students interact with them, we did another iteration of the same concept with students in a different period.
Embedded Day is different and more relevant because of the quick turnaround and ease of implementation. Both Scott and I feel that this is something we could easily implement at our school, and we are extremely excited to try this as a department on Wednesdays (our shortened class days).
Sally Yoo & Scott Corwin
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