“Implementing EMATHS (Embracing Mathematics, Assessment & Technology in High Schools) through LessonSketch StoryCircles” (also known as EMATHS) is a Mathematics and Science Partnership grant awarded in 2015 by Michigan's Department of Education in which Macomb County consultants use the LessonSketch platform to remotely engage groups of teachers in the process of creating representations of lessons from the EMATHS curriculum using a StoryCircles approach (developed by the GRIP at University of Michigan). Through the StoryCircles process, teachers share their experience and knowledge of practice to anticipate student responses to mathematical tasks and construct diverse ways of addressing student mathematical contributions.
EMATHS through Lesson*Sketch* StoryCircles is a collaborative project awarded through the Mathematics and Science Partnership in coordination with the Macomb Intermediate School District. Macomb ISD is doing professional development to Michigan teachers who use the EMATHS curriculum. With this contract, the GRIP lab supports the work of the EMATHS facilitators and participants by providing participant assessment, facilitator coaching, and technological support in the effort. To engage secondary inservice teachers in a practice-based mode of professional development the EMATHS facilitators implement a process we’ve designed called LessonSketch *StoryCircles. StoryCircles* are a facilitated process of collaboratively representing a lesson using a multimedia storyboarding tool (*Depict)* within the LessonSketch platform. The process unfolds in a blended mode, including two yearly face to face meetings, six synchronous videoconferences, and some 40 hours of online forum interactions that also use the LessonSketch platform. The GRIP’s staff mentors two EMATHS facilitators who work for Macomb ISD, mentors the participants in the use of the storyboarding technology, administers teachers’ assessments using the LessonSketch platform, scores and analyze those assessments, and provide hotline technology support to users. By analyzing the interactions participants have in forums, the GRIP staff assesses the potential of *StoryCircles* for developing teachers' mathematical knowledge of teaching, and improving their instructional practices.
Embracing Mathematics, Assessment & Technology in High Schools through LessonSketch StoryCircles will build on the successes of EMATHS through the introduction of LessonSketch StoryCircles. The goals continue to be supporting deeper teacher content knowledge while simultaneously shifting teachers’ instructional practices to support students’ proficiency of Michigan’s Core Standards for Mathematics. The Macomb ISD in partnership with the University of Michigan, Lincoln HS in Warren, East Detroit HS in Eastpointe, and two math/science centers will provide practice-based professional learning experiences for 16 secondary mathematics teachers focused on implementation of the EMATHS activities. Teachers will be placed in one of four Story Circles focused on either algebra 1 or geometry. The start of each year will begin with teachers participating in a full day face-to-face professional learning experiences to orient participants to the project and one another. They will then participate in private online multimedia forums within LessonSketch to collectively generate representations of EMATHS lessons, implement those lessons with their own students, share artifacts (e.g. students’ written work) from their implementation, and refine those lesson representations based on their collective experiences. Each StoryCircle will generate, develop, implement, and refine 4 EMATHS lesson representations and all four groups will collectively create a library of 16 EMATHS lessons representing tasks from EMATHS units that could be used to forward the work of these and other teachers around the state with EMATHS implementation. The project concludes with a face-to-face meeting to review the created materials and discuss next steps.
More information about the StoryCircles process can be read in Herbst, P. and Milewski, A. (forthcoming). What StoryCircles can do for mathematics teaching and teacher education. To appear in R. Zazkis and P. Herbst (Eds.), Mathematical Dialogue: Scripting Approaches in Mathematics Education Research and Practice (draft available from the authors).