This month Apprentices are teaching from their first “work sample”. This is a string of 10 lesson plans around a theme, topic or essential question that grows out of the curriculum of each classroom. Apprentices design the lessons assessments and then take the helm in their classrooms to teach and assess these lessons throughout the spring. Toby has designed a series of poetry workshops for his K/1st graders, Jess and Marc are exploring the scientific and mathematical aspects of time, and Johannah will soon embark on a study of alternative energy that will culminate in her students making an informed case to targeted political leaders about costs and benefits of various alternative energy options.
In our ACT Seminar, we’re focusing on the pedagogical questions that surround the teaching of mathematics. We’ll examine cultural assumptions and contexts surrounding the teaching and learning of mathematics, focusing particularly on misconceptions that have traditionally led to a sharp divide between those who perceive themselves to be mathematically adept and those who are less confident with this central discipline. Part of this work entails becoming math students again—particularly in terms of the study of algebra. Along with about half of the Arbor faculty, Apprentices are in the midst of working with Arbor teacher, Linus Rollman and his newly published algebra text, Jousting Armadillos. These weekly sessions are meant to give our group an experiential view into where we’re aiming as a K/8 school, to help us remember what it is to wrestle with mathematical challenge, and to engage in discourse about math teaching even as we experience math once again as students.