Professional Development Materials to Support Geometry Learning and Instruction, the Common Core Standards, and English Language Learners

Two projects that are investigating how middle school geometry professional development materials support teachers’ learning. Presenters compare approaches, present preliminary results, and discuss strengths and challenges.

PI-organized Discussion

This session focuses on two professional development projects, both aimed at increasing geometric content knowledge of middle school mathematics teachers and their students. The goal is to engage grantees in considering what the presenters are learning about the impact of these projects and to consider next steps in advancing the field. The two participating projects are:

The Learning and Teaching Geometry (LTG) project is creating video case-based materials designed to promote teachers’ mathematical knowledge for teaching related to a geometric transformations approach to similarity. Research questions that LTG addresses include To what extent are the LTG professional development materials implemented as they were intended? What is the impact of participation in the LTG professional development program on teachers’ knowledge of geometry for teaching, and to what extent do differences in implementation account for differences in teacher learning? What is the impact of teachers’ participation in the LTG professional development program on their students’ performance in geometry?                 

Fostering Mathematics Success of English Language Learners (FMSELL) is an efficacy study of the effects of the Fostering Geometric Thinking Toolkit (FGTT) professional development materials for teachers of English language learners. FGTT is a 40-hour intervention focusing on properties of geometric figures, geometric transformations, and measurement of length, area, and volume. The project tests the hypothesis that geometric problem solving combined with opportunities for multimodal representation, academic language development, and engagement in high cognitive demand tasks affords teachers opportunities to support English language learning. Research questions that FMSELL addresses include Does participation in FGTT increase teachers’ geometric content knowledge? How does teachers’ participation affect attention to students’ thinking and mathematical communication? How does participation affect instructional practices? What impact on English language learners’ problem-solving strategies is evident when teachers participate in FGTT?