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Reworking a Middle Grades transition into Algebra at Young Achievers

In August, the Algebra Project began a multi-year curriculum development and professional development collaboration with middle grades teachers at the Young Achievers Science & Mathematics Pilot School in Boston aimed at preparing students for Algebra I in the 8th grade by 2012.

With the support of the Linde Family Foundation, Young Achievers asked the AP to conduct a week-long seminar with 25 Young Achievers’ grades 5-8 teachers. The sessions were led by AP founder Bob Moses, with Lynne Godfrey, who currently works for the Boston Teacher Residency program, and Marian Currell, who works with San Francisco Unified School District, both of whom are veteran AP teachers and PD specialists. A series of follow-up Saturday workshops are planned in this and in subsequent school years.

In the mid-1990s, AP middle grades classrooms in Cambridge MA placed an emphasis on classroom discourse. Catherine O’Connor, a researcher at Boston University, documented the work of one highly successful Algebra Project teacher, Lynne Godfrey. This research was one of the early studies that led to the “Accountable Talk Framework” (Michaels, O’Connor, Hall & Resnick 2003), a systematic approach that allows teachers to use classroom discourse strategically to support student learning.  O’Connor joins Moses and Godfrey in this initiative, together with AP Director of PD Bill Crombie, as does the Greater Boston Young Peoples’ Project, who are collaborating with the AP in the design and delivery of mathematics, as well as a YPP after-school “Algebra I Math Lab,” based on a current YPP pilot program in Chicago, IL.

August workshop participants with Moses, Godfrey and Currell

August workshop participants with Moses, Godfrey and Currell

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