NCTM's Standards and Navigations series, NSF-funded curricula, presentations at professional conferences and workshops, and countless articles in this journal offer many attractive ideas for introducing new mathematics, applications, and instructional approaches. After encountering such ideas, we invariably return to our mathematics classrooms with some great new lessons or enhancements to try. But unless the topics that pique our interest are on the high-stakes tests that our students face, we are inevitably stymied by the sense that we do not have time to cover essential concepts and skills and take even a couple of days off for mathematical explorations that are intriguing to students and teachers but are often considered not good use of classroom time by those responsible for political decisions. We have been puzzling over this frustrating situation—trying to reconcile the persuasive recommendations for change in the content and teaching of high school mathematics with the constraints of increasingly influential testing programs and prescriptive district curricula.
Robin Marcus, Tim Fukawa-Connelly, Michael Conklin and James T. Fey
Tim Fukawa-Connelly, Valerie Klein, Jason Silverman and Wesley Shumar
At the heart of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics' (NCTM) Principles to Actions: Ensuring Mathematical Success for All (2014) is the development of professional practices such as eliciting and using evidence of student thinking, supporting productive struggle in learning mathematics, and posing purposeful questions. In this article, we share our emerging work in online professional development for teachers, which provides potentially cost-effective ways of scaling high-quality, effective professional development for mathematics teachers by employing the collaborative features of the Internet to mediate professional conversations and interactions. Specifically, we detail the characteristics of our model for online professional development and present cases to illustrate its potential impact on teachers' ability to analyze student work and provide productive feedback.