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Mathematics Professional Development Institute

Summer Institute for the Professional Development of Middle School Teachers 2011 (Wu Summer Institute) July 25, 2011 - August 12, 2011
Registration Deadline: July 25, 2011 almost 4 years ago
Organizers Hung-Hsi Wu (University of California, Berkeley)
Description This is a three-week institute (July 25 to August, 2011) on whole numbers and fractions together with five Saturday sessions spread over the 2011-2012 school year. The main target is upper elementary school teachers from the Bay Area; preference will be given to teams from the same school or same district. However, middle and high school teachers will also be considered. There is a limited number of seats, so get your application in as soon as possible.

Participating teachers will each receive a stipend of $100 for each full day of attendance. Please note, however, that excessive absences may result in being dropped from the institute.

This institute is devoted specifically to the content knowledge needed for teaching grades K--6. It will not discuss advanced topics or fun topics that are divorced from the school classroom, nor will it discuss topics germane to grades K--6 by using sophisticated methods that are inappropriate for K--6. At the same time, it will not be concerned with classroom projects that you can immediately put to use to enrich your next lesson. This is not a strategies workshop. Instead, it takes a long-term view that, for you to become a teacher who can implement the Common Core Standards, you have to achieve a better command of the mathematics you teach. You need both a coherent global view of the bread and butter topics of K--6, whole numbers and fractions, as well as a robust understanding of the inner details. Unfortunately, such knowledge seems to be in short supply at present, and the purpose of the institute is to fill in this gap.

Five days of the institute will be devoted to the basics of whole numbers, with emphasis on how to count in the decimal system, the use of the number line, standard algorithms, and the how and why of estimations. Four days will be on elementary number theory: divisibility rules, greatest common factor, and prime factorization. The last six days will cover the definition of fractions and their arithmetic operations. The tentative plan is to follow this institute with institutes on pre-algebra and algebra in the next two years that will help teachers negotiate the Common Core Standards of grades 6--8.

Each of the 15 weekdays of the institute will begin promptly at 8:30 am and end at 4:30 pm. There will be a total of five hours of lecture and seat work (with breaks and lunch); the lectures will be on mathematics. (Material on which the lectures are based will be handed out during the first days.) Two hours of small group discussions at the end of the day will be given over to discussions of pedagogy or the homework assignment of the day before. There will be homework assignments everyday.

The institute assumes a willingness to work, perhaps even intensely, during the three-week period. With this in mind, we ask that you make a commitment to the following:
  • Attend all fifteen days of the institute and the five follow-up Saturday sessions during the 2011-2012 school year. In particular, no stipend will be given to partial attendance of the fifteen-day institute unless there is a medical reason.
  • Do the daily homework assignments.
  • Be willing to learn and to participate in discussions.